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 — largely because, like all forms of electronic communication, it lacks the nuance of face-to-face conversation. One way to add a little more expression to your message: Use rich text.

What's Rich Text?

Unlike plain-text formatting, rich text enhances your message by bolding, italicizing, and underlining words you'd like to emphasize.

Rich-text messages are a step between plain text and HTML. Some email programs do not support HTML messaging — 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.

Using Rich Text

To change the look of text in your message:

  1. Select the text with a tap or tap and drag.

  2. A toolbar will appear, from which you can select B (bold), I (italics), U (underline), and various other formats to apply to your 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. You'll see a B/I/U shortcut on the predictive-typing keyboard, or appear as an option when you select text. Your iPhone may hide the shortcut behind the More option on the floating toolbar.