Introduction

A file’s format determines what you can do with it and which programs can open it. Essentially a file’s format is composed of its own language, where the format is understood by a specific application and/or platform. In today’s vast dialect of file formats, technology offers users an assortment of different file formats to use and choose from. Popular file formats include PDF, HTML, RTF, Word, CSV, Excel, image formats like JPG and PNG, video formats like AVI and MOV, and audio formats like MP3 and MP4, to name a few. The popularity and variety of file formats provide users with unique and powerful capabilities, but can also make sharing between one software vendor’s file format and another file format more complicated. Several “free” online conversion tools for converting an RTF file to an Excel file along with a step-by-step programming approach are presented. 

Exploring Rich Text Format (RTF) Files

Rich Text Format (RTF) files were first developed by Microsoft in 1987. RTF lets users exchange text files between different word processors in different operating systems. Saving files in RTF ensures that documents can be opened regardless of the type of word processor being used. When saving an RTF file, it’s processed by an RTF writer that converts the word processor's markup to the RTF language; and when reading an RTF file, the RTF reader converts the RTF language into the word processor format that will display the document.

Exploring Excel (XLSX) Files

The Excel (XLSX) extension is an open- source XML-based filename format developed by Microsoft in 2005 for Office Excel 2007 SP2 and above. XLSX files can be opened and edited with Excel (version 2007 and above), Google Sheets, Zoho Docs, Kingsoft Spreadsheets, OpenOffice Calc, and other software.

Converting RTF Files to Excel (XLSX) Files

I’ll show you several “free” online conversion websites that are adept at converting RTF files (and other extensions) to XLSX files (and other extensions), shown below. The bonus associated with using these websites is that you won’t be inundated with unwanted adware (or advertisements).

Converting RTF (or Word) Files to Excel Files Using Watermark-Images.com

The “free” online converter offered by Watermark-Images.com provides a very “friendly” user interface and makes converting an RTF file to an Excel file as easy as 1-2-3. The Watermark-Images.com online app is shown below.

Converting an RTF (or Word) file to an Excel file with Watermark-Images.com is accomplished in three easy steps.

1. Click the “Select DOC File” button and navigate to the location of the desired RTF (or Word) file.

2. Click either the “xlsx” or “xls” radio button for the version of Excel file you want to create.

Click the “Convert to XLS” button to initiate the conversion process and download the converted Excel file to your download location.

Converting RTF (or Word) Files to Excel Files Using CoolUtils.com

The“free” online converter offered by CoolUtils.com provides a very “friendly”user interface and makes converting an RTF file to an Excel file quick andeasy. The CoolUtils.com online app is shown below.

Converting an RTF (or Word) file to anExcel file with CoolUtils.com is accomplished in three easy steps.

1.     Click the “Upload DOC file to convert” button and navigate to the location of the desired RTF (or Word) file.

2.     Click the “Set convert options” button, choosing toExcel from the list of filetypes and select the file you want to create.

Click the “Download Converted File” button to initiate the conversion process and download the converted Excel file to your download folder.

Converting RTF (or Word) Files to Excel Files Using Convertio.co

The “free” online converter offered by Convertio.co provides a very “friendly” user interface and makes converting an RTF file to an Excel file easy and quick. The Convertio.co online app is shown below.

Converting an RTF (or Word) file to an Excel file with Convertio.co is accomplished in three easy steps.

1. Click the “Upload rtf-file(s)” button and navigate to the location of the desired RTF (or Word) file.

2. Click the “to xlsx” radio box from the list of filetypes to set the conversion option and type of file you want to create.

3. Click the “Download your xlsx” file button to initiate the conversion process and download the converted Excel file to your download folder.

Converting RTF (or Word) Files to Excel Files Using FileZigZag.com

The “free” online converter offered by FileZigZag.com provides a very “friendly” user interface and makes converting an RTF file to an Excel file easy and quick. The FileZigZag.com online app is shown below.

Converting an RTF (or Word) file to an Excel file with FileZigZag.com is accomplished in four easy steps.

1.     Drag & Drop your RTF file, or click the “Select” button and navigate to the location of the desired RTF file.

2.     Click the “Convert to” selection box from the list of filetypes to set the conversion option and type of file you want to create.

3.     Enter your email address.

Click the “Convert” button to initiate the conversion process and download the converted Excel file to your download folder.

 [YY1]As above: this is better as email rather than Email as this is not a direct copy of the instruction displayed – which is simply “Email address”.

Converting RTF Files to Excel Files Using Traditional Programming Techniques

A final approach often used by SAS users to convert an RTF file to an Excel file is provided below.

1.     Use MS Word to open an existing RTF file.

2.     Click "File" and select "Save As" then select type "Plain Text".

3.     In the File Conversion Dialog window, select "Windows (Default)" for the text encoding and also select "C /LF" for insert line breaks.

4.     Assign and save "Plain Text" with a file name.

5.     Using SAS software, import the "Plain Text" file to create a SAS dataset.

6.     If necessary, modify the dataset structure using PROC SORT,Arrays, DATA step Merge, PROC SQL joins, PROC TRANSPOSE, metadata, hash objects, etc.

7.     Use the ODS Excel destination to save the contents of the SAS dataset / output / results to an Excel file.

8.     Open and verify the successful conversion of the RTF file to an Excel file.

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Kirk Paul Lafler is an entrepreneur, consultant and founder at Software Intelligence Corporation, and has been using SAS since 1979. Kirk is a SAS application developer, programmer, certified professional, mentor, provider of SAS consulting and training services, advisor and adjunct professor at University of California San Diego Extension, emeritus sasCommunity.org Advisory Board member, and educator to SAS users around the world. As the author of six books including Google® Search Complete (Odyssey Press. 2014) and PROC SQL: Beyond the Basics Using SAS, Second Edition (SAS Press. 2013); Kirk has written hundreds of papers and articles; selected as an invited speaker, trainer, keynote and section leader at SAS International, regional, special-interest, local, and in-house user group conferences and meetings; and is the recipient of 25 best contributed paper, hands-on workshop (HOW), and poster awards.

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