Make Mac OS X Mail Prefer Plain Text for Displaying Mail

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courier. © Peter Baldes; CC BY-NC 2.0 license

Some emails come only with rich text, images, and such pizzazz.

Many messages and newsletters encompass both rich and plain text versions, however. In Mac OS X Mail, if you prefer plain text, you have to invoke a menu command to see the clean and simple text-only version; or do you?

A hidden preference's tweaking can, thankfully, turn the pages in Mail: it will display plain text versions by default and move rich-text behind a menu command.

Make Mac OS X Mail Prefer Plain Text for Displaying Mail

To have Mac OS X Mail display emails' plain text versions by default:

  • Make sure Mac OS X Mail is not running.
  • Launch Terminal.
  • Type "defaults write com.apple.mail PreferPlainText -bool TRUE" (not including the quotation marks).
  • Press Enter.

Note that rich-text only emails will still display in rich text automatically. To access the rich version for emails that contain both, you can select View | Message | Best Alternative from the menu.

Note, also, that this setting has no effect in OS X Mail 8.

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