How to add RTF Rich Text Document to the New menu in File Explorer

Starting in Windows 11 version 22H2, the RTF Document has disappeared from the New menu in File Explorer. If you frequently create Rich Text documents, the missing item can be an inconvenience. Luckily, you can easily restore it.


The RTF (Rich Text Format) is a widely used file format. By default in Windows 11 and Windows 10 it is handled by the WordPad app. Being a simple editor, it still allows you to prepare documents that include bold, italic, headers in the text, etc.

Add RTF to the New menu in File Explorer

Rich Text Format, or RTF for short, is a cross-platform PostScript -based text format. Unlike its more functional successor in Microsoft Office, DOCX (Word's files),  RTF has better support in non-Microsoft apps and various cross-platform office suites. An RTF document opens well everywhere, including Linux, Windows, and MacOS. Obviously, it is too simple for preparing for complex documents, but it is fine to quickly compose a short letter or your PR.

It is not yet known why the option to create a new RTF document has disappeared from the context menu in Windows 11. To me, it looks like a bug in an Insider build, but the real situation can be different.  Microsoft could find it too obsolete or insecure, so that they hide it from the New menu in File Explorer. The Redmond firm is yet to announce the change, or issue a fix.

Rich Text Document is missing in New menu

If you use the built-in WordPad editor and are used to creating Rich Text documents from the context menu, you can add the sub-item that disappeared in Windows 11 back again. Here's how to restore the missing RTF document in the New menu of File Explorer. Do the following.

Add RTF document to the New menu in File Explorer

  1. Open the Registry Editor by typing regedit in the Run dialog (Win + R).open regedit
  2. Navigate to the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.rtf key. For that copy and paste this path into the address bar of Regedit.
  3. Right-click the .rtf  key in the left pane, and select New > Key.Create new Registry key
  4. Name the new key as ShellNew.ShellNew
  5. Now, right-click the ShellNew key again in the left, and this time select New  > String value from the menu.Create new string value
  6. Specify NullFile for the name of the new value.NullFile
  7. Close regedit, right-click your Desktop and select New menu. Finally you  have Rich Text Document there.

You are done! Enjoy the restored item.

If for some reason you need to undo the tweak, simply delete the ShellNew key. This will hide the the RTF entry.

Ready-to-use REG files

For your convenience, I have prepared two REG files. One of the adds RTF to the New menu. The other one hides it.

REG files to RTF To New Menu

Download the REG file packed into a ZIP archive from this link, and extract them to any folder of your choice. Your Desktop folder suits perfectly fine.

After that, open one of the following files.

  • Add_RTF_to_New_menu.reg - restores the missing item.
  • Remove_RTF_from_New_menu.reg - hides them.

Finally, you can use two console commands to achieve the same.

Using command prompt

The built-in reg utility allows you to directly modify the Registry from the command prompt or PowerShell. It is great for automation.

Press Win + X or right-click the Windows logo button in the taskbar and select Terminal(Admin).

In Terminal, in either PowerShell (Ctrl + Shift + 1) or Command Prompt (Ctrl + Shift + 2) tab run one of the following commands.

  • reg add HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.rtf\ShellNew /v NullFile /f - adds the missing RTF item in the New menu.Commands adds RTF entry
  • reg delete HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.rtf\ShellNew /f - deletes the Rich Document entry.Command removes RTF

Whatever method you will use, you are now in control whether  to have the RTF entry or not.

That's it.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

2 thoughts on “How to add RTF Rich Text Document to the New menu in File Explorer”

  1. This did not work for me. I have a new installation of Windows 11 (Nov. 21, 2023), by which I mean that when I right-clicked on the desktop, the “new” prompt brings up the same options as before. Any clue why this might be? Thanks.

    1. Hello.
      Maybe something has changed.
      Take a look on the default unnamed value under the HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\.rtf key.
      What it says?
      E.g. if it says rtfile, does it exist as HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\rtfile?

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