Sending plain-text (rather than HTML) mail

Mail programs:

Microsoft Outlook (not Outlook Express)

To change Outlook to always send plain text emails:

  1. Goto the Tools menu and select Options.
  2. Click on the Mail Format tab.
  3. Under the Message Format section change the dropdown next to the text "Compose in this message format:" to Plain Text.
  4. Click Ok to save the change.

To change a single message to be sent in plain text:

  1. Choose the Format menu in the message you are composing.
  2. Click on Plain Text in the menu.
  3. Click Yes for the stupid warning.
-- from Dave Bloom

Google Mail (GMail)

When composing a message, there's a line just above the message-text entry box that has Bold and Italic and Underline symbols...on the end is a blue link that says << Plain text. Click that, and the whole line changes to Rich formatting >>. When it displays Rich formatting >>, you'll send plain text. (i.e. it's displaying the thing to switch back to rich formatting, which of course can't be done in plain text, only in HTML.)

-- from Dan Mick

Yahoo mail

Option link in the upper right hand corner ->
  General Preferences link in the middle of the middle column ->
  Composing Emails section:
    Check Compose messages as plain text

-- from Dana Watanabe


Mozilla and Thunderbird have similar email setups (as they're derived from the same codebase). (If these directions aren't exact for you, try looking around in similar menus, because the option surely exists in some form, although its exact menu placement may have changed.)

To set for all email:

In the version of Thunderbird in front of me, to set "Text only" for outgoing messages:

menubar: Edit/Account Settings
right-click on the account title, select Properties

both get me to the same Account Settings window; from there, choose the sub-item

Composition & Addressing

and unclick the checkbox 'Compose messages in HTML format'.

To set only for email to socal-raves:

You can also set preference per-domain (that is, you can have HTML as your default, but make Text your default for by setting Composition preferences. On Windows, the preferences are under Tools/Options; on Unix/Linux, it seems they're still under the Mozilla-type menu Edit/Preferences. Either way, you'll get a window with Preference icons like General, Display, Composition, Privacy, etc. You want the Composition icon, and within that window, the General tab, and the "Configure text format behavior - Send Options..." button. Within that, select the Plain Text Domains tab, hit the "Add" button, and enter "".

-- from Dan Mick




Select SEND PLAIN TEXT ONLY. Optionally you may select "ask each time".

If you "ask each time" when sending an email with styled text in it, you will be asked if you want to send plain, styled or both. When sending to SCR, always select PLAIN ONLY.

-- From Andy Somers

OS X "Mail" email program

Mail > Preferences > Composing > Message Format: Select Plain Text. You're done! Ta Da! Watch out for when you update the mail ... sometimes it'll slip into Rich Text.

-- from Alx

It is further alleged by Dana Watanabe that, unless you put in any funny formatting, Mail sends plain text by default.

Entourage (OS X)

Under the "Entourage" menu, select "Preferences". In the box on the left under "Mail & News Preferences" select "Compose". There's a "mail Format:" popup. Select "Plain Text".

Or when composing an email, there's a red & blue "ab/ab" icon that toggles HTML on & off.

-- From Paul Antonissen