File Format Hell, pt 2

Ah, so you think that it would all just work out, wouldn’t you? that after deciding to convert everything to RTF I’d be free of all my previous problems.


I noticed something was wrong when I decided that I’d like to be able to read and possibly edit files on my phone. Both QuickOffice and DocsToGo are fantastic programs for on the go editing and I was ready, no eager, to pay for them.

Until i looked at the files they support: doc, docx. No RTF, hell no TXT, they only support MS Office files.


So while I can, through the fantastic cloud work of Dropbox, get my stuff to my phone, I cannot edit it. Cool Reader lets me read it, so there is that.

Next up is Pages. Apple’s word processor has mostly been ignored by me since it came out. Why? NeoOffice. I already have a word processor, and I didn’t need another one. Especially one with ANOTHER proprietary format.

Then 10.7 comes out and Apple announces a whole bunch of features for iCloud. Naturally their Pages program is a part of this whole deal. So I thought, what the hell, you have it sitting around, give it a shot.

And I checked! Pages supports RTF files. Fantastic.

Then came the nerd rage. Pages does support RTF, this much is true. You can open RTF files. You can export to RTF files.

Yes, you read that right: export. You cannot SAVE as RTF, EVEN IF YOU OPENED AN RTF. Open an RTF, make changes, you have to save it as either a .pages file or a .doc file. Then you can export that file to an RTF.


Despite the ease of RTF in a lot of realms, there are some truths to be accepted.

  1. For better or worse, the world as a whole has accepted .DOC as the universal format.
  2. Companies want you to be locked into their stuff, so will continue to insist you use their format.
  3. Whatever I pick will be the wrong answer.

For now I am sticking by my guns on RTF. I don’t need the bloat of a doc file, or the hassle of explaining how to open an ODT file.

And I’m just hoping that QuickOffice will support RTF. I’ll not be jumping to .doc anytime soon. The problem is still the future. A future where I can open my files and start writing, rather than worry about conversions.

Or worse, losing something in the dark pit that is ‘unsupported file types’.

Author: jake

poet, editor, kilt wearing heathen. he/him