Email, Messaging, & Video Calls Email Make Mac OS X Mail Prefer Plain Text for Displaying Mail by Heinz Tschabitscher Writer A former freelance contributor who has reviewed hundreds of email programs and services since 1997. our editorial process Heinz Tschabitscher Updated on April 17, 2019 Bigmouse108/Getty Images Email Yahoo! Mail Gmail Tweet Share Email 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. 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. This setting has no effect in OS X Mail 8.