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. Go to the Home tab and select New Email. Or, press Ctrl+N.​

    A new email in Outlook.
  2. In the message window, go to the Format Text tab.

    Selecting the Format text tab in Outlook.
  3. In the Format group, select Plain Text.

    Changing the text to plain text in Outlook.
  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.

    Creating a new message in Outlook.com.
  2. Select More Options (denoted by 3 dots), then choose Switch to plain text.

    Selecting to switch email to plain text in Outlook.com.
  3. You may get a warning about switching to Plain text. If so, select OK to continue.

    A confirmation about switching to plain text in Outlook.com.
  4. The formatting toolbar disappears from the message pane.

    The formatting bar has disappeared by switching to plain text in Outlook.com.
  5. 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.

    A new email message in Outlook for Mac.
  2. In the message window, go to the Options tab.

    Viewing the options tab in Outlook for Mac.
  3. In the Format Text group, turn off the HTML toggle to display Plain.

  4. If you are prompted to turn off HTML formatting, click Yes.

    A warning about switching to plain text in Outlook for Mac.
  5. ​Compose your message.

    An email that has been set to plain text format A warning about switching to plain text in Outlook for Mac.
  6. Send the message.