View Outlook 2007 emails as plain textView Outlook 2007 emails as plain text

Posted August 26th, 2008 in Applications

Emails are often sent in HTML format containing rich text and images. Outlook 2007 is able to display emails in plain text format by converting the HTML version to a plain text version for you to view. This post looks at how to enable this in Outlook 2007.

It is possible for an email to contain both a plain text and HTML version of the same email and this is commonly done with email marketing. Note that the method used in this post does not let you see the actual plain text version of the email contained within the email itself; what you will see is Outlook's interpretation of the HTML email in plain text format.

An example HTML email (which I sent out on Monday this week for Personalised Plates) is shown below as seen in Outlook 2007.

html outlook email

There is now way to toggle between plain text and HTML views, so you need to go into the settings and change it for all messages. Select the Tools menu and then the Trust Center option as shown in the screenshot below.

selecting trust center in outlook 2007

The Trust Center will then open. Select the Email Security option in the left navigation as shown below and then check the box marked "Read all standard mail in plain text". Emails can also be digitally signed - to make digitally signed emails also appear in plain text check the second option as well.

setting the plain text option in outlook 2007

Now any new emails that arrive in your inbox will be in plain text. If you were already viewing an HTML email you will need to reload it to view it it plain text. The screenshot below shows the same email as above but converted to plain text. You can see the message "This message was converted to plain text" in the blue bar.

plain text version of the email

It is then possible to display the email as HTML by right clicking the blue box as shown below. A popup menu appears with the option to display as HTML. The E-mail Security option will take you to the Trust Center / Email Security option.

option to view as html

If you then want to change the default setting back again, you need to go back into the trust center and uncheck those boxes. Remember, as noted at the start of this post, that this does not show you the actual plain text version of the email contained within it (if there is one). To view this, for example when testing an email marketing campaign message, you need to use a different email client.

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