How to Send Rich, Formatted Emails by Default in OS X Mail

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You can make composing emails using rich formatting the default in OS X Mail.

Rich Text Formatting in Email Messages

Bold face here for the font and letter to make your point with more aplomb; a list there with points and, perhaps, numbers to increase legibility for the reader short of time; and an exquisite font, italicized to slant it slightly, up here to slow down the reader before they get overly skimming: rich formatting can be so useful for text (and with the images it allows, of course) in email messages.

Rich Formatting in OS X Mail

In Apple's OS X Mail, rich formatting can also mean an extra step every time you are about to employ it. Are you finding yourself changing the message format to rich text (from the plain text default) just about every time you compose an email? Are you tired of doing that?

OS X Mail lets you choose the default message format; choose rich text to avoid the extra step. You can even set up OS X Mail such that the rich format only applies to new messages and replies to formatted emails, but not to replies you send to text-only messages (whose sender might prefer a plain text answer).

Send Rich, Formatted Emails by Default in OS X Mail

To make rich-text formatting the default for new emails and, optionally, replies in OS X Mail:

  1. Select Mail | Preferences… from the menu in OS X Mail.
  2. Open the Composing category.
  3. Make sure Rich Text is selected under Message Format: (in the Composing: section).
  4. To ensure replies to plain text messages also start as rich emails:
    1. Make sure Use the same message format as the original message is not checked in the Responding: section.
      • Note that senders who send using plain text only may prefer replies to use but plain text as well.
  5. Close the Composing preferences window.

(Updated June 2016, tested with OS X Mail 8 and 9)