Set Outlook to Use Plain Text for Email Messages

You can configure Outlook (2000, 2003 and 2007) so all e-mail messages you compose use the message format of your choice.

  • Plain Text is a format that all e-mail software supports.
  • Rich Text is a Microsoft format that not every e-mail application supports.  Some email programs aren't capable of rendering the HTML used for Rich Text formatting in email messages. Others try, but fail miserably (or crash), rendering your message unaccessible to the recipient.
  • While HTML is the default message format in Outlook, it isn't necessary unless you want to compose messages using fonts, colors, or bulleted lists.  To save bandwidth and email storage space, it's wise to choose plain text for the majority of your email messages.

Here's how to re-set your Outlook to compose all messages in plain text by default:
1. On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
2. In the Compose in this message format list, click the format that you want.

plain text format in Outlook

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