Always Send Mail as Plain Text in Mac OS X

Nov 29, 2011 - 2 Comments

mail Email defaults to wanting to send as rich text, meaning bold text, highlighting, fonts, italics, and the usual formatting options that correspond with page layout and fancier looking mail messages. But when you’re sending a lot of emails across platforms, say from Mac OS X Mail app to Windows Outlook, for example, it can be a good idea to use the ‘Plain Text’ format for all email correspondence. This can help to avoid any font or formatting irregularities and size oddities when sending emails between platforms that may interpret the mail text formats differently, a situation that can be particularly obvious when sending from modern operating systems to more outdated versions (like OS X Mavericks to Windows XP). Fortunately, you can adjust the Mail app in Mac OS X to default to always send emails as plain text, eliminating any potential issues.

Setting Mail composition to default as Plain Text is easy enough and done directly from the application within OS X, here’s what you’ll want to do:

  1. Go to the Mail menu and choose “Preferences…”
  2. Click on the “Composing” tab
  3. Under “Composing:” click the pulldown menu next to “Message Format:” so that “Plain Text” is selected
  4. Close out of Mail Preferences

Always send Mail as Plain Text

All new emails will be composed and sent as plain text, although making rich text modifications can still override the plain text default. To avoid that behavior when composing an email with a picture or rich media, try attaching the images (as in, literally including them as attachments) rather than embedding them into mail messages from copy/paste.

Speaking of copy and pasting, if you plan on pasting in some rich or styled text to the email message body, you can always convert it to plain text first through the TextEditor app. This can give you a preview of what the text will look like as well.

Thanks for the tip idea, Gary!

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Posted by: Paul Horowitz in Mac OS X, Tips & Tricks


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  1. malveaux says:

    Everyone should do this, or else emails look ridiculous with Comic Sans size 42

  2. […] you’re constantly stripping formatting funkiness out of emails and you use the OS X Mail app, consider toggling the preference switch to always send emails as plain text rather than rich formatted text. This will force all outbound emails to be normal looking, even if […]

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