How To Open an RTF Document in Word Online

How To Open an RTF Document in Word Online

After researching this on the Microsoft site, it was determined that they have misleading information in their question and answer section. Microsoft Word Online CAN indeed open RTF files just the same as DOC files. However, the file type association for .rtf files is incorrectly set *on the online version* on site.

By default, when you locate an RTF file through OneDrive via, and click on it, it opens in the RTF viewer instead of Microsoft Word. In contrast, if you find a DOC file, it opens correctly in Microsoft Word. The RTF viewer gives no method of opening the same file in Word, and does not allow edits. The only thing it provides is a download option.


RTF files CAN indeed be opened online through Microsoft Word directly, but only by first opening Word into a blank document so that you get the full Word interface with all the typical Word toolbars showing and specifically, the File menu. Again, I emphasize, we are talking about Word ONLINE through a Web browser, not Word on your computer! This is particularly important for people who have never purchased a license for Word for their computer and their 30 day trial has expired, or for people that regularly travel and make extensive use of OneDrive through the Internet.

Once you have Word showing in your browser and have opened a blank document, go to the Word File menu. Select Open, browse for the rft file, and open it. By default, all files open in read-only mode in Word Online with a yellow-ish banner appearing across the top of the page that says. Click Edit button and now you can edit the file. Our suggestion is that you immediately do a Save As, and resave the file with a .DOC extension so you don’t have this hassle in the future.

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