How to Mimic Underlining in a Plain Text Email

Not as pretty as HTML, but easy

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The majority of emails that are sent are HTML-based. With HTML, web pages are encoded to handle enhancements such as bold, italic, and colored text. It includes ways to specify formatting, colors, positioning, and layout.   

Plain text looks like the email was written on a typewriter—no formatting, no images, no pretty fonts, and no hyperlinks. It’s often displayed using a mono-spaced font in which each character takes up the same amount of space on the line.

Why Use Plain Text Emails?

While they are not nearly as attractive as HTML-based emails, plain text emails play a significant role in a well-rounded email marketing strategy, because plain text email has a higher open and click rate than HTML email.

While the plaintext may be plain, it's more likely to be readable on devices such as the Apple Watch.

HTML, Plain Text, and MIME

Most emails are sent via SMTP in MIME format—Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions—which means that a plain text version of your email is bundled along with the HTML version of the email. Unless you’re sending out a solely plain text email, multipart MIME should be part of every email campaign because spam filters like finding a plain text alternative, and some people prefer it.

How to Mimic Underlining in Plain Text Email Messages

If you use HTML formatting, you can underline as much as you like, which should not be a lot if you like your messages easy to read.

If you write your email in plain text, you can mimic underlining and everything remains perfectly legible.

To mimic underlining in plain text email, use underscore characters at the beginning and end of the _underlined passage_.

You can also mimic boldface to emphasize in plain text emails or mimic italics.

  • Use asterisks at the beginning and end of the *part you want to bold.*
  • Put a slash at the beginning and end of a /phrase you want to italicize./
  • Position underscores at the beginning and end of a _phrase you want to underline_.