How to Change the Message Format in Outlook: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing the message format in Outlook is a simple task that can be done in just a few steps. By following this quick guide, you’ll be able to switch between HTML, Plain Text, and Rich Text formats with ease. This will allow you to customize your emails to suit your preferences or the requirements of your recipients.

Step by Step Tutorial: How to Change the Message Format in Outlook

Before diving into the steps, it’s important to understand that changing the message format in Outlook allows you to control how your emails look and what content they can contain. HTML format supports pictures, fonts, and colors, while Plain Text is just text without any frills. Rich Text is somewhere in between. Now, let’s get to the steps.

Step 1: Open Outlook and Create a New Email

Start by opening Outlook and clicking on ‘New Email’ to create a new message.

When you click on ‘New Email,’ a new window opens where you can compose your message. This is where you’ll be able to change the format.

Step 2: Go to the ‘Format Text’ Tab

In the new message window, look for the ‘Format Text’ tab at the top and click on it.

The ‘Format Text’ tab contains various options for formatting your email, including the message format options.

Step 3: Choose Your Desired Format

Under the ‘Format Text’ tab, you’ll see options for ‘HTML,’ ‘Plain Text,’ and ‘Rich Text.’ Click on the one you want to use.

After selecting your desired format, you’ll notice that the options available in the toolbar change. For example, if you choose ‘Plain Text,’ you won’t be able to add images or change font styles.

Step 4: Compose Your Email

Now compose your email as you normally would. The format you selected will be applied to this email.

Keep in mind that if you choose ‘Plain Text,’ any previous formatting or images will be removed from your email. So, be sure to select the format before adding content to your email.

Step 5: Send Your Email

Once you’re done composing, just hit ‘Send,’ and your email will be sent in the format you selected.

Don’t forget to double-check your email before sending it, especially if you’ve changed the format, as this might alter how your content is displayed.

After completing these steps, your email will be sent using the format you chose. If you ever need to change the format for a different email, just repeat these steps. It’s that simple!

Tips: Changing the Message Format in Outlook

  • If you’re not sure which format to choose, consider who you’re sending the email to and what kind of content it contains.
  • Remember that not all email clients support Rich Text, so HTML or Plain Text might be a safer bet for compatibility.
  • Changing the format to Plain Text can be useful if you’re sending an email to someone who has a slower internet connection or an older email client.
  • If you switch to Plain Text, be aware that any previously added formatting, images, or attachments may not be retained.
  • You can set a default message format in Outlook’s options if you prefer to use a certain format for all your emails.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I change the default message format in Outlook?

You can change the default format by going to ‘File,’ then ‘Options,’ ‘Mail,’ and under ‘Compose messages,’ you can select the format you want to use for all new emails.

Will changing the format affect my email’s attachments?

No, changing the format will not affect attachments. However, if you switch to Plain Text, visual elements within the email body may be lost.

Can I change the format of an email I’ve already sent?

No, once an email is sent, its format cannot be changed. You’d need to send a new email with the desired format.

Is it possible to have different default formats for different email accounts in Outlook?

Yes, you can set different default formats for each email account you have set up in Outlook. Just change the settings for each account individually in the ‘Mail’ options.

Does changing the message format affect how recipients can reply?

The format you choose might influence the appearance of the email for recipients, but it doesn’t prevent them from replying. Recipients can reply in the format they prefer.


  1. Open Outlook and create a new email.
  2. Go to the ‘Format Text’ tab.
  3. Choose ‘HTML,’ ‘Plain Text,’ or ‘Rich Text.’
  4. Compose your email.
  5. Send your email.


Changing the message format in Outlook is a quick and easy process once you know where to look. Whether you need to send a professional HTML email with embedded images and custom fonts or a simple Plain Text message for easy reading, Outlook’s format options have you covered. Remember, the key to an effective email is not just the content but also the presentation. So, take advantage of these formatting options to make your emails more engaging and suitable for your audience.

By following the steps outlined above, you can effortlessly switch between formats to match the needs of your message. Keep the tips in mind to optimize your email experience and avoid any potential formatting issues. And, if you ever find yourself in doubt, refer back to the frequently asked questions for a quick solution.

Changing message formats in Outlook may seem like a minor detail, but it can significantly impact how your communication is perceived. So, take control of your email’s appearance, and you’ll be sure to make the right impression every time you hit send.

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