How to Add Rich Formatting to Text in iPhone Mail

Bold, italic, and underlined text emphasize important parts of your email

E-mail application on iPhone 6S Screen

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Plain-text email doesn't always convey clearly what you're trying to say. Like all forms of electronic communication, it lacks the nuance of face-to-face conversation. One way to add more expression to your iPhone mail messages is to use rich text.

Rich-text formatting has been available in iOS since iOS 5 was released in 2011.

What's Rich Text?

Unlike plain-text formatting, rich text enhances email messages by bolding, italicizing, and underlining words you want to emphasize. Rich-text messages are a step between plain text and HTML. Some email programs do not support HTML messages; they display the raw HTML instead of the cleanly formatted message. Using rich text offers a compromise, plus it's straightforward to use on a mobile device.

How to Use Rich Text

To change the look of text in a message:

  1. Select the text. Either tap or tap and drag the text to highlight it.

  2. In the toolbar that appears, select either B (bold), I (italics), U (underline), or another format to apply to the selected text.

    Text formatting toolbar on iOS, showing Bold, Italics, and Underline options

The iOS Mail app for both iPhone and iPad works the same way. A B/I/U shortcut appears on the predictive-typing keyboard, or as an option when text is selected. The iPhone may hide the shortcut behind the More option on the floating toolbar.