Convert Rich Text to Plain Text Quickly in Mac OS X
Rich text format doesn’t always translate well to the web and it often gets garbled through emails sent across platforms. The simplest solution is to convert the RTF to plain text and then either transfer the resulting txt file or paste the content it into an email or otherwise. Here’s how you can do that quickly and freely in Mac OS X using none other than the built-in TextEdit app:
- Launch TextEdit from within the /Applications/ directory and open a new blank document
- Paste the rich text you want converted to plain text into the blank document
- Pull down the “Format” menu and choose “Make Plain Text”, or just hit Command+Shift+T
- Click “OK” and then re-save the file into a txt document
You can also open an RTF document into TextEdit and perform the conversion directly on the file, saving the resulting file as a TXT document. The same conversions can also be achieved from the temrinal by using the textutil command.
If you find yourself doing this often with emails sent to and from older Windows machines, you can set the OS X Mail app to default to sending emails as plain text which can prevent a lot of the stranger characters and formatting issues from developing completely.
Sending documents and email as plain text also has the advantage of reducing total byte counts, which could be important for those with very limited internet speeds either through modems or the painfully slow 2G EDGE networks.