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Standard file formats (RFC0678) Disclosure Number: IPCOM000003728D
Original Publication Date: 1974-Dec-01
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2019-Feb-14
Document File: 9 page(s) / 8K

Publishing Venue

Internet Society Requests For Comment (RFCs)

Related People

J. Postel: AUTHOR

Related Documents

10.17487/RFC0678: DOI


For transmission of documents across different environments.

This text was extracted from a PDF file.
This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 29% of the total text.

Network Working Group J. Postel Request for Comments: 678 (SRI-ARC) NIC: 31524 19 December 1974

Standard File Formats


In an attempt to provide online documents to the network community we have had many problems with the physical format of the final documents. Much of this difficulty lies in the fact that we do not have control or even knowledge of all the processing steps or devices that act on the document file. A large part of the difficulty in the past has been due to some assumptions we made about the rest of the world being approximately like our own environment. We now see that the problems are due to differing assumptions and treatment of files to be printed as documents. We therefore propose to define certain standard formats for files and describe the expected final form for printed copies of such files.

These standard formats are not additional File Transfer Protocol data types/modes/structures, but rather usage descriptions between the originator and ultimate receiver of the file. It may be useful or even necessary at some hosts to construct programs that convert files between common local formats and the standard formats specified here.

The intent is that the author of a document may prepare his/her text and store it in an online file, then advertise that file by name and format (as specified here), such that interested individuals may copy and print the file with full understanding of the characteristics of the format controls and the logical page size.

Standardization Elements

The elements or aspects of a file to be standardized are the character or code set used, the format control procedures, the area of the page to be used for text, and the method to describe overstruck or underlined characters.

The area of the page to be used for text can be confusing to discuss, in an attempt to be clear we define a physical page and a logical page. Please note that the main emphasis of this note is to describe the standard formats in terms of the logical page, and that it is up to each site to map the logical page onto the physical page of each of their devices.

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Standard File Formats Standardization Elements

Physical Page

The physical page is the medium that carries the text, the height and width of its area are measured in inches.

The typical physical page is a piece of paper eleven inches high and eight and one half inches wide.

Typical print density is 10 characters per inch horizontally and 6 characters per inch vertically. This results in the typical physical page having a maximum capacity of 66 lines and 85 characters per line. It is often the case that printing devices limit the area of the physical page by enforcing margins.

Logical Page

The logical page is the area that can contain text, the height of this area is measured in lines and the width is measured in characters.

A typical logical page is 60 lines high and 72 characters wide.

Code Set

The character encoding will be the network standard Network Virtual T...