How to Use Rich Text Formatting in AOL Mail (AIM Mail)

What to do if AOL Mail won't accept rich text format

MacBook with AOL Mail onscreen sitting on a table near a notebook


Enable HTML formatting in AOL Mail (AIM Mail) to compose messages with HTML so that the text in the emails you send can be different sizes, bold, italic, or underlined. With HTML formatting, you can also insert images and other multimedia elements. You'll know that rich text formatting isn't enabled in AOL Mail if you can't change the text formatting or if you can't insert images in your emails.

These steps apply only to AOL Mail (also called AIM Mail). These directions apply to any operating system or web browser that supports loading the AOL Mail website, such as Chrome or Firefox on Windows, macOS, or Linux.

Enable HTML Formatting in AOL Mail

If you can't enter rich text in AOL Mail, go to the Mail Settings in your account to enable Rich Text/HTML editing.

  1. AOL Mail login page
  2. Select Options.

    Options link on AOL Mail page
  3. Choose Mail Settings.

    Mail Settings on AOL Mail page
  4. Select Compose.

    Compose button on AOL Mail settings page
  5. Select the Use Rich Text / HTML Editing check box.

    Use Rich Text / HTML Editing checkbox
  6. Scroll to the bottom of the page and choose Save Settings.

    Save Settings button in AOL Mail Settings
  7. To return to your emails, exit the settings page or choose Back to Mail.

Turn on Rich Text Formatting for an Individual Message

Another way to turn on rich text formatting in your AOL Mail account is to start a new email and select Format from the menu.

Format button for AOL Mail

For email clients and webmail pages that can't display HTML-formatted messages, AOL Mail automatically produces an alternative plain text version of the rich messages you send.

Formatting Text in AOL Mail

There are a few ways to use the advanced formatting features of AOL Mail. One way is to use keyboard shortcuts such as Ctrl+B or Command+B to make selected text bold, or Ctrl+U or Command+U to underline highlighted text.

Another method is to use the formatting toolbar. Select Format from the top of the page to show or hide the formatting toolbar.

Selecting the Format button doesn't turn off rich text formatting in AOL Mail, it only displays or hides the formatting toolbar.

Formatting options for AOL Mail

Use the formatting toolbar to:

  • Change the font type and size.
  • Access the bold, italicize, and underline options.
  • Color the text and text background
  • Align the text on the page.
  • Add numbered and bulleted lists.
  • Insert emojis.

The third way to use HTML formatting in AOL Mail messages is to select Attach to insert images into an email.