RTF Files Grow In Size When Sent As Outlook Attachment

Symptom: An RTF (Rich Text File) that is only a couple of kilobytes in size will suddenly grow to several megabytes when attached to an email in Outlook via Word 2007.

Problem: As far as I can tell, the problem is caused by issues between Word 2007 and RTFs that contain headers, footers, images or any other sort of “fancy” content.    I’m not 100% certain what exactly triggers it, but when Word 2007 saves an RTF file containing these items, it will get much larger.

In my user’s case, she was trying to send an RTF file via email by double-clicking it (which opened it in Word 2007), and clicking “Send -> E-Mail”.  This saves the document and creates a new email in Outlook’s outbox with the huge RTF file attached.

Solution: In this particular case the solution was to just attach the file from Outlook without letting Word trash it first.  The file did not need to be edited.

Until I figure out exactly what the cause of this is, I would use good old WordPad or other alternatives to Word to edit richly-formatted RTF files.

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