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Microsoft Outlook 2003

Email Message Formats

Along with basic text formatting (e.g., bold, italic, font), you can choose between HTML, Rich Text, or Plain Text format for email messages. Each option has specific characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages that you should be aware of before making a choice.

return to topMessage Format Characteristics

Review the following types of message formats to determine which will best suit your needs:

Mail Format Characteristics
HTML Supports text formatting, numbering, bullets, alignments, horizontal lines, backgrounds, HTML styles, and web pages. If a recipient's email program cannot read HTML, he or she will receive the message in plain text format with an attachment that can be opened in a web browser.
Rich Text Supports text formatting, bullets, color, and alignment. If you will be sending email messages with this format over the Internet, all recipients may not be able to read them.
Plain Text Messages do not contain any formatting. If you send a lot of email over the Internet, this may be the best choice. There will be no risk of recipients not being able to read your messages.

return to topSetting a Default Message Format

If you would like to set a default message format, use the following instructions. The default will affect new messages only (old messages will not change).

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options...
    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Mail Format tab

  3. Under Message format, from the Compose in this message format pull-down list, select the desired default format
    NOTE: To ensure readability for all recipients, Plain Text should be selected.

  4. Click OK

return to topModifying Reply & Forward Messages

The format options for reply and forward messages are different from regular message options. The format (HTML, Rich Text, Plain Text) is based on the format used to originally send the message (i.e., message format is predetermined for replies and forwards). However, with reply and forward messages, you can choose whether to include the original message and, if it is included, how it appears (e.g., with an indent, with a prefix character).

  1. From the Tools menu, select Options...
    The Options dialog box appears.

  2. Select the Preferences tab

  3. In the E-mail section, click E-MAIL OPTIONS...
    The E-mail Options dialog box appears.
    Replies and Forwards section

  4. To change the reply format, under On replies and forwards, from the When replying to a message pull-down list, select the desired option

  5. To change the forward format, under On replies and forwards, from the When forwarding a message pull-down list, select the desired option

  6. OPTIONAL: If you selected Prefix each line of the original message as a reply/forward format, in the Prefix each line with text box, type what you want the prefix to be

  7. OPTIONAL: To mark your comments, select Mark my comments with and in the corresponding text box type the desired marker

  8. Click OK

  9. Click OK

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