View Rich Text Emails in Plain Text With macOS Mail 3

Instantly remove all rich text formatting in any email

Messages with rich formatting are nice to look at, but macOS Mail also lets you switch that rich text email to a plain text one if you want to view it without any custom formatting styles.

You might find this helpful if the message is taking too long to load on a limited internet connection, and the fancy formatting is to blame. Or maybe you want an easier way to read an email that's otherwise full of large font sizes, colored text, and other formatting styles.

Note: The ability to switch to a plain text version of an email is not available in the more recent versions of Mail for Mac, such as Mail 8 and newer. In those editions, you'll always see the richest version available.

How to Read an Email as Plain Text in Mail 3

  1. Open the rich text message you want converted to plain text.
  2. Hit the Command+Option+P keyboard shortcut or navigate to the View > Message > Plain Text Alternative menu.

To return to rich text formatting, just revisit that menu: View > Message, but chose Best Alternative this time.

Note: You can also have macOS Mail show you a plain text version of the email by default so that you don't always have to switch to it using the method above. See How to Make macOS Mail Prefer Plain Text for Displaying Mail if you need help.