Configuring Long Lines to Wrap Automatically in Outlook Express

Plus Instructions for Outlook

Outlook Express
Outlook Express. Google Images

Outlook Express is a discontinued email and news client bundled with several versions of Microsoft Windows, from Windows 98 to Windows Server 2003, and was available for Windows 3.x, and Windows NT. In Windows Vista, Outlook Express was superseded by Windows Mail. 

Outlook Express and Outlook

Outlook Express is a different application from Microsoft Outlook. The similar names lead many people to conclude incorrectly that Outlook Express is a stripped-down version of Microsoft Outlook.


Both Outlook and Outlook Express handle the basics of Internet mail, including an address book, message rules, user-created folders, and support for POP3, IMAP, and HTTP mail accounts. Outlook Express was developed as part of Internet Explorer with the home user in mind while Outlook was developed as part of Microsoft Office with the corporate user in mind.

Outlook Express is a basic Internet mail program that is part of Internet Explorer and Windows. Outlook is a full-featured personal information manager that is available as a part of Microsoft Office, and also as a stand-alone program.

Long Lines in Email

Overly long lines are hard to read and it is good email etiquette to break the lines of messages you send at about 65-70 characters.

Outlook Express can do that for you automatically in plain text messages.

How to Wrap Long Lines Automatically in Outlook Express

To configure where Outlook Express wraps your lines:

  • Select Tools | Options... from the menu in Outlook Express.
  • Go to the Send tab.
  • Under Mail Sending Format, select Plain Text Settings....
  • Specify at how many characters you want Outlook Express to wrap outgoing text.

Note that this setting only applies to messages you send in plain text. Emails that contain rich HTML formatting automatically wrap to the recipient's window size.

How to Wrap Long Lines Automatically in Outlook

As in Outlook Express, this option only applies to Plain Text messages and controls how the message is being received by the recipient. It doesn’t apply to HTML messages nor what you see while composing the message itself.

Here's how to set the text wrapping option in:

  • Outlook 2007 and previous
    Tools-> Options-> tab: Mail Format-> button: Internet Format…
  • Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013
    File-> Options-> Mail-> section: Message format

Text will wrap at a maximum line length of 76 characters when wrapping is set. The break will not be done in the middle of a word, but before the word that puts the line over the configured length.

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