How to Read All Mail in Secure Plain Text in Outlook

Immunize Outlook against many email threats with this one setting

 Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

Email messages and newsletters with rich HTML formatting contain elements that may come with risks. These risky HTML messages may contain viruses or slow down your computer. These messages may also pose a privacy risk by contacting remote servers when you open the message. Make reading email in Outlook more secure and protect your privacy by reading messages in plain text only.

Instructions in this article apply to Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003; and Outlook for Office 365.

Read All Mail in Plain Text Only in Outlook

To have all emails rendered and displayed in plain text in Outlook 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010:

  1. Go to the File tab and select Options.

    The File menu in Outlook.
  2. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select the Trust Center category.

    Outlook options dialog box.
  3. Select Trust Center Settings.

    Selecting trust center settings option in Outlook.
  4. In the Trust Center dialog box, go to the Email Security category.

    Viewing email security in Outlook trust center.
  5. In the Read as Plain Text section, select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box.

    Selecting to read emails as plain text in Outlook.
  6. To read electronically signed messages in plain text, select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

  7. Select OK.

  8. In the Outlook Options dialog box, select OK.

Read an Individual Message Using Rich HTML Formatting

When Outlook is configured to show messages in plain text only, you can selectively choose which messages to read in HTML format.

  1. Select the message you want to read in HTML format. Either display the message in the Reading pane or open the message in a separate window.

  2. Select We converted this message into plain text format.

    Selecting to view an individual email as HTML in Outlook.
  3. Select Display as HTML.

Read All Mail in Plain Text Only in Outlook 2007

To make Outlook 2007 render all messages in secure plain text:

  1. Select Tools > Trust Center.

  2. In the Read as Plain Text section, select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box and select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

  3. Select OK.

Read All Mail in Plain Text Only in Outlook 2003

To have Outlook 2003 display all messages in secure plain text:

  1. Select Tools > Options.

  2. Go to the Preferences tab.

  3. Select E-mail Options.

  4. Select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box and select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

  5. Select OK.

  6. Select OK.