How to Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook

Send a plain text message in Outlook. alubalish/Getty Images

In Outlook, you can send messages using rich HTML formatting and even include images inline. But not everybody can or wants to receive emails using such formatting.

Fortunately, Outlook can send plain text emails, too. They don't allow you to use custom fonts and such, but at least you can be sure everybody receives them perfectly legible.

Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook

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

  1. Click New Email in Outlook.​

    You can also press Ctrl-N, of course.

  2. Open the Format Text tab on the ribbon.

  3. Make sure Plain Text is selected in the Format section.

  4. If prompted with Some of the features in this document aren't supported by plain text e-mail:

    Note that some formatting and inline or background images will be lost.

    Click Continue.

  5. Continue composing the message and eventually click Send.

Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook 2000–2007

To send a message in pristine and pure plain text from Outlook 2002–2007:

  1. Select Actions.

  2. Click New Mail Message Using and select Plain Text from the menu in Outlook.

  3. Create your message as usual.

  4. Click Send to deliver it.

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 in Outlook for Mac.

    ​​You can also press Alt-Command-N or select File, the click New and select Email from the menu.

  2. Open the Options tab on the message composition window's ribbon.

  3. Make sure HTML is disabled in the Format Text section.

    • ​​This means Plain is shown in the Format Text section.
  4. If you are prompted with Are you sure you want to turn off HTML formatting? click Yes.

  5. ​Compose and eventually deliver or save your message.

(Tested with Outlook 2000, Outlook 2007, Outlook 2013 and Outlook 2016 as well as Outlook for Mac 2016)