Rich Text vs. Plain Text: What’s the Difference?

A plain text file is a document that contains no formatting, images, colors or other types of markup. It also includes single line breaks and spacing. A rich text file is the default format of popular word-processors like Microsoft Word, Apple Pages and Notes, a Google Doc, and even HTML emails.

HTML vs Rich Text vs Plain Text Email Formats

What is plain text?

Plain text, or a . A document type known as a txt file contains only text, such as words, numbers, and basic symbols. To give a document a smooth and useful appearance, it can also include spacing and single line breaks. Since many programming languages are in plain text, plain text frequently appears in emails and has a wide range of uses in computing.

What is rich text format?

RTF, or rich text format, is a kind of document that enables you to add a variety of markups and formatting features, including different font sizes, colors, underlines, strikethroughs, italics, bolding, shadows, and highlights. Even if you open an RTF file in a program that didn’t make it in the first place, it will still retain its formatting features. As a result, you can use a lot of creativity to tailor the document to meet your design objectives.

Differences between rich text vs. plain text

Here are some of the main distinctions between plain text and rich text:

Formatting features

Rich text and plain text differ primarily in the formatting tools they offer users. Plain text documents offer minimal formatting and customization features. This helps to create a more streamlined and simplistic document. As an alternative, rich text files provide a wealth of options so you can format a document to meet your specific needs.

Accessibility and ease of use

Because it is compatible with many operating systems, rich text is typically more accessible than plain text. However, some people find plain text files to be user-friendly as well because they provide few features for customization or personalization. Rich text documents also provide a much wider range of formatting options and features, which allows a user to spend more time learning how to use every feature and component that is available in the document.

Visual simplicity and readability

Since they don’t have any distinguishing features other than text and some simple formatting options, plain text files are easier to read visually. Rich text documents have the potential to have more complex visual appearances because they can be much more distinctive depending on the person who creates them. For many people, especially those who need visual aids like contacts or glasses, plain text documents are typically easier to read because they lack formatting and distinguishing features. Rich text documents, in contrast, might require more concentration for you to understand everything they have to say.

Email support and text exchanges

Some people use simple email platforms that can’t handle the rich text file’s visual effects. Contrarily, almost all email platforms permit the sending of plain text files, making them more practical for sending crucial emails. Rich text files, however, might be more useful for text conversations because they keep all the formatting features you add, even if you convert the file using a different program.

File sizes

Because plain text files lack any significant features or add-ons, they are typically smaller in size. As a result, they are more likely to transfer quickly and rarely experience blocks due to their size. If someone formats a rich text file with numerous features and details, they might need to compress the file to make it smaller or remove some of its complexity to make the file easier to upload or transfer.

When to use rich text vs. plain text

Here are some justifications why rich text is preferable to plain text:

Reasons to use rich text

Rich text has a ton of features, so use it if you want to send a document with a crucial hyperlink in it. For documents that call for visual components like photos and images, you might also use rich text. Rich text’s adaptability lets you send documents across a variety of platforms and software.

Reasons to use plain text

When you need to quickly write down important information and then copy and paste it into other applications, plain texts’ simplicity is ideal. Additionally, if you want more assurance that your recipient will receive your email, you could use it. This is because because plain text documents don’t contain complex elements, they are more likely to successfully pass through email filters.

Tips for using rich text and plain text

Here are some pointers for using both plain text and rich text:


Should I use plain text or rich text?

Use the Rich Text format if you’re only looking for editable text options, like bolding or italicizing. Use the Plain Text format if all you need is text and nothing else.

What is Rich Text Format used for?

A file format called Rich Text Format (RTF) enables text file exchange between various word processors running different operating systems. For instance, in Windows 98, you can use Microsoft Word to create a document and save it as an RTF file (it will have a ”

What is the difference between HTML rich text and plain text?

1. A markup language called HTML is used to create web pages, and a document format called Rich Text is used for documents. 2. Rich Text cannot match the additional features found in HTML.

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