How to Send Plain Text Mail in Windows Live Mail

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With Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail, and Outlook Express, you can compose messages containing formatting options such as different fonts, colors, or images. Such rich messages are sent in HTML, the format of Web sites.

Why Send Plain Text?

Not all email programs know how to display these messages, however. Instead of your perfectly crafted message, the recipient may see nothing but garbage.

To avoid this unfortunate situation, you should send messages in plain text only by default in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.

Send a Message as Plain Text in Windows Mail or Outlook Express

To have Windows Mail, Outlook Express and Windows Live Mail 2009 deliver an email message in plain text:

  1. Select Format | Plain Text from the menu while composing your message (or even before you start writing).

Send a Message as Plain Text in Windows Live Mail

To send an email using but plain text from Windows Live Mail:

  1. Open the Message ribbon in the email composition window.
  2. Click Plain text in the Plain text section.
    • If you see Rich text (HTML) instead in the Plain text section, your message is already set to be delivered in plain text only.
  3. If you are prompted, click OK under By changing the formatting of this message from HTML to plain text, you will lose any current formatting in the message..

Send Plain Text Messages by Default with Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express

To send emails in plain text by default in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  • In Windows Live Mail 2012:
    • Click File | Options | Mail….
  • In Windows Live Mail 2011:
    • Click the Windows Live Mail button.
    • Select Options | Mail… from the menu sheet appearing.
  • In Windows Live Mail 2009 and earlier, Windows Mail and Outlook Express:
    • Select Tools | Options... from the menu in Outlook Express.
  • Go to the Send tab.
  • Make sure Plain Text is selected under Mail Sending Format.
  • Click OK.

Send Richly Formatted Emails Overriding the Default

Of course, you can send rich HTML emails even if you have switched to a plain text default in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.

If on the other hand, you don't want to make plain text messages the default, you can also send plain text emails individually.

(Tested with Outlook Express 6, Windows Mail 6 and Windows Live Mail 2012)