View Full Version : RTF tip - Instantly reduce filesize by 40%


garbanzo
02-04-2010, 04:33 AM
RTF isn't the tiniest format around, but since it's so easy to work with, I prefer it over some others.

In reading through the forums, I've discovered that Word makes really awful RTF files. They are filled with extra junk that only takes up space. Unfortunately, it's a whole lot easier to make a nice looking RTF in Word than in WordPad.

The solution is so easy - just compose your RTF in Word (or convert to RTF in Calibre and tidy up the results in Word). Then instead of saving, copy/paste to WordPad. All the formatting is copied over too. Save the document with WordPad, and you'll get a significantly smaller file.

This also works for existing RTF files - open in Word, copy to WordPad, then save.

My test was with an 80,000 word RTF created by Calibre from a LIT file. After cleaning it up, I first saved in Word, then copy/pasted to WordPad and saved there. The results:

Word RTF: 856 KB
WordPad RTF: 514 KB

Sweetpea
02-04-2010, 05:07 AM
I once had to find out how RTF worked... I made an empty RTF with Word. It was huge! Word puts all colours (or at least 256 of them) and all font definitions in your RTF file, even though you don't use them...

so, yes, I'd say, use wordpad and not word for rtf documents...

Solitaire1
02-06-2010, 12:54 AM
I once had to find out how RTF worked... I made an empty RTF with Word. It was huge! Word puts all colours (or at least 256 of them) and all font definitions in your RTF file, even though you don't use them...

so, yes, I'd say, use wordpad and not word for rtf documents...

Another program you could try is Jarte, a free RTF based word processor (it can also open and save MS Word files). Jarte was my word processor of choice before I switched over to StarOffice . It basically takes WordPad and adds many needed features such as spell check. It also has an interface that doesn't get in the way of my writing.

garbanzo
02-06-2010, 01:33 AM
thanks for the suggestion but i have a compulsive and admittedly irrational aversion to apps that refuse to obey to Windows UI standards. i know it's silly, and it may be a very good app, but i couldn't bring myself to download it :o

chainring
02-06-2010, 09:52 AM
Though it's not free, I have to give major kudos to Atlantis Word Processor. It's a lightweight install, has tons of features, can work with .doc (Word), .rtf, and others...and output clean ePub...with embedded fonts, if you wish. The developer is very active on this forum, thus well supported.

HarryT
02-06-2010, 11:18 AM
RTF was intended to be a document interchange format, not a permanent storage format. The reason it's so big is that everything is in ASCII, all formatting is done with tags, etc. It was intended to be easy for any program to parse, for import and output.

It's perhaps not the best choice of formats to actually read in; if you convert it to any "binary" format, the size is likely to shrink drastically.

garbanzo
02-06-2010, 11:54 AM
despite the theme of this thread, space isn't really an issue. after all, i can only read one book at a time! even on the PRS-300 you can throw a few hundred RTF files on there at once, which is quite a lot more than enough.

i know the RTF filetype gets a lot of badmouthing here, but i still like it. it's dead easy to format, and it seems to look good on the Reader. i don't bother with images or TOC or any fancy stuff since i just read fiction. it just works for me...

Solitaire1
02-06-2010, 12:10 PM
RTF was intended to be a document interchange format, not a permanent storage format. The reason it's so big is that everything is in ASCII, all formatting is done with tags, etc. It was intended to be easy for any program to parse, for import and output.

It's perhaps not the best choice of formats to actually read in; if you convert it to any "binary" format, the size is likely to shrink drastically.

For me, that RTF is a plain text format is a reason to recommend it. One of the things I like about plain text formats like RTF, HTML, and OpenDocument Text (which is a collection of zipped XML files and folders) is that I can open them up and see everything that is in the document.

HarryT
02-06-2010, 01:02 PM
For me, that RTF is a plain text format is a reason to recommend it. One of the things I like about plain text formats like RTF, HTML, and OpenDocument Text (which is a collection of zipped XML files and folders) is that I can open them up and see everything that is in the document.

Very true. The one area in which it really falls down is image support. Because an RTF file is ASCII, its image storage is breathtakingly huge; each pixel gets encoded as a sequence of ASCII characters. Adding a 100kb JPEG image to an RTF document can literally increase the file size by 5MB. Any document in which you want a dozen or so images just gets completely impractical to store as RTF.

DaleDe
02-08-2010, 10:02 PM
I once had to find out how RTF worked... I made an empty RTF with Word. It was huge! Word puts all colours (or at least 256 of them) and all font definitions in your RTF file, even though you don't use them...

so, yes, I'd say, use wordpad and not word for rtf documents...

However wordpad won't store metadata and throws a lot of stuff away in the formatting. I think Abiword is a good compromise. Full fledged RTF without the bloat of the word copy. Word makes the rtf longer everytime you save it by adding revision data to the file. See the wiki on RTF.

Dale

judahis
03-21-2011, 04:19 AM
I have found that the only way I can read Word documents on my Jetbook Lite is to convert them to rtf and have thousands of files to do this for. Is there not an affordable batch conversion method to do this?