Outlook: Send all emails in plain text

August 20, 2008

HTML-formatted emails can look pretty, and you can get some great effects with backgrounds, various fonts, font colors, font sizes etc.

However, they take longer to download, take up more internet bandwidth, and many people can’t see those effects you spent hours perfecting. Not everyone uses Outlook to view their email, and those on the road may be using a web mail interface from their ISP which either converts it all to plain text anyway, or shows all the HTML tags, making your email almost impossible to read.

The quickest way to send emails that can viewed by anyone, anywhere is in ‘plain text’ format:

Outlook 2003

  1. In Outlook 2003, select Tools > Options, then select the Mail Format tab.
  2. In the Message Format section, select Plain Text from the Compose in this message format drop-down list.
  3. Make sure the TWO Use Microsoft Office Word… check boxes are empty, then click OK.

Outlook 2010

  1. In Outlook 2010, go to File > Options.
  2. Select the Mail option on the left of the Outlook Options window.
  3. In the Compose Messages section, change the format to Plain Text.
  4. Scroll down to the Message Format section at the end of the window, and in the When sending messages… drop-down box, select Convert to Plain text.
  5. Click OK.

This article was first published in the March 2003 CyberText Newsletter; steps last checked January 2008; Outlook 2010 steps added March 2014]

One comment

  1. […] You can set all your mail to be sent out as plain text, but what if you like HTML email and only a few lists require plain text? Well, you can have the best of both worlds by specifying that certain recipients (your list’s posting address, for example) only get plain text. […]

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