How to Convert Google Docs to Rich Text (.rtf) Format

133318 How to Convert Google Docs to Rich Text (.rtf) Format

Converting Google Docs to Rich Text Format (.rtf) allows you to open and edit documents across different operating systems and software applications. RTF files retain most formatting while taking up less space than alternatives like .doc or .docx files.

Why Convert Google Docs to RTF?

There are several key reasons you may want to convert a Google Doc to .rtf format:

Cross-Platform Compatibility

RTF files can be opened on Windows, Mac, Linux, and more. This makes sharing documents easy between different devices and operating systems.

Retains Formatting

When you convert a Google Doc to RTF, it will retain all text formatting like bold, italics, font colors, etc. This ensures consistency when files are viewed in various programs.

Smaller File Size

RTF files are typically smaller in size compared to other formatted text files like .doc or .docx. This makes transferring and sharing faster.

No Macro Viruses

RTF files cannot contain macros or executable code. This eliminates the risk of spreading viruses by email or other file transfer methods.

Step-by-Step Guide to Convert Google Docs to RTF

Converting a Google Doc to Rich Text Format is simple. Follow these steps:

1. Open the Google Doc

Open the document you want to convert in Google Docs.

Open Google Doc

2. Click “File” > “Download”

In the top menu, click on File > Download.

Download from File menu

3. Select “.rtf”

In the dropdown menu, choose the Rich Text Format (.rtf) option.

Choose RTF format

4. Save the RTF File

Choose a save location on your computer and click Save.

Save RTF file

That’s all there is to it! The document is now converted and saved from Google Docs to Rich Text Format.

Tips for Converting Google Docs to RTF

Here are some additional pointers when converting Google Docs to RTF:

  • Clean up formatting before converting – Remove unused styles, fonts, etc. RTF has limited formatting capabilities compared to Google Docs.
  • Break documents into sections – Convert long documents in sections to avoid errors from too much formatting.
  • Use images sparingly – RTF file sizes grow quickly with embedded images. Only include essential images.
  • Review line and page breaks – Some may shift slightly during conversion to RTF. Check before finalizing.

Google Docs RTF Conversion Considerations

While RTF retains most text formatting features, there are some limitations to be aware of:

  • No complex objects – Charts, diagrams, and other complex objects in Google Docs will likely be lost in RTF conversion.
  • Limited review capabilities – RTF files do not allow threaded comments or detailed revision histories like Google Docs.
  • Difficult to re-edit – Formatting changes are easier in native Google Docs compared to RTF. Plan to finalize formatting before converting.

For most basic documents like letters, manuals, resumes, and more, RTF conversion works well. But for complex formatting needs, collaborative editing, or frequent changes, staying in the native Google Docs format is best.

Alternative Ways to Convert Google Docs to RTF

In addition to downloading directly from Google Docs, there are a few other ways to convert to Rich Text Format:

  • Use Online Converters – Upload the Google Doc to a free online file converter to download the RTF file.
  • Convert to Word First – Download as Word (.doc/.docx) first, then convert from Word to RTF using Word’s export tools.
  • Try Other Apps – Alternative word processors like Apache OpenOffice also allow converting Google Docs to RTF.


Converting Google Docs to Rich Text Format is fast and easy – just download as RTF directly from Google Docs. RTF retains most formatting while being lightweight and cross-platform compatible. It’s perfect for sharing documents between different devices and operating systems.

Just be aware of RTF’s limitations with complex objects, revisions, and frequent formatting changes. For advanced needs, keeping documents as Google Docs may be better. But for basic formatted text documents, RTF conversion works great.

Hopefully this guide has helped explain how to download Google Docs as RTF files. Let us know if you have any other questions!

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