How to Send a Plain Text Message in Outlook

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When the letters on your Outlook email's screen are plain, the colors be in your head. StockUnlimited

Send emails in Outlook that contain only plain text and are sure to be legible for any recipient.

The Cultured Sender Respects the Recipient's Preferences

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 (or FORMAT TEXT) tab on the ribbon.
  3. Make sure Plain Text is selected in the Format section.
  4. If prompted Some of the features in this document aren't supported by plain text e-mail.:
    1. Note that some formatting and inline or background images will be lost.
    2. 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 | New Mail Message Using | Plain Text from the menu in Outlook.
  2. Create your message as usual.
  3. Click Send to deliver it.

You can also choose a default format for composing new messages in Outlook, of course.

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 | New | 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 Are you sure you want to turn off HTML formatting?:
    1. ​Click Yes.
  1. ​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)