How to Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook

When your messages don't need fancy formatting, send text-only emails

Send a plain text message in Outlook

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You can send messages using rich HTML formatting that include images inline in Outlook. But not everybody wants to receive these types of emails. Instead, send plain text emails. Plain text emails don't include custom fonts and such, but you can be sure that everybody will find your messages perfectly legible.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, Outlook 2016, Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, Outlook for Office 365, Outlook Online, and Outlook for Mac.

Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook

To compose and send an email using plain text in Outlook:

  1. Select New Email or press Ctrl+N.​

  2. In the message window, go to the Format Text tab.

    Screenshot of Format Text tab of New Message window
  3. In the Format group, select Plain Text.

    Screenshot showing Plain Text option
  4. A warning dialog box may appear with a note that some features in the message aren't supported by plain text email. Select Continue.

  5. Compose the message and select Send.

Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook Online

To send a plain text message in Outlook Online:

  1. Select New message.

  2. Select the More Options icon and choose Switch to plain text.

    Outlook Online showing how to switch to plain text messages
  3. The formatting toolbar disappears from the message pane.

  4. Compose the message and select Send.

Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook for Mac

To deliver an email message that contains only plain text using Outlook for Mac:

  1. Click New Email. Or press Alt+Command+N.

  2. In the message window, go to the Options tab.

  3. In the Format Text group, turn off the HTML toggle to display Plain.

    Screenshot of Format Text in message window
  4. If you are prompted to turn off HTML formatting, click Yes.

  5. ​Compose your message.