Outlook: Format Email Messages

Before you begin...

Emails you send from Microsoft Outlook can be formatted using HTML, Rich Text, or Plain Text formatting. HTML and Rich Text formatting give you options to format text that are similar to other Microsoft Office programs.

HTML Formatting

HTML formatting allows you to change the format of the text in your email as well as include pictures. Formatting options include font, font size and color, font style (bold, italic, underline), highlight color, indent and spacing, and bullet and numbering styles.

To send an email using HTML formatting:

  1. Open a new email.
  2. Click the "Format Text" tab.
  3. In the "Format" group, select "HTML" if it is not already selected.

For more information about HTML emails, see the HTML Email help page.

Rich Text Formatting

Outlook also allows you to format messages using Rich Text Format (RTF), which gives you the same control over text (for example, font, size, and color) as HTML formatting but is only readable through Outlook. When you compose an RTF email to send to non-Outlook email users, Outlook automatically converts it to HTML so those users will still be able to read the email.

Since most users on campus will not have Outlook, information technology recommends you use HTML or plain text email formatting.

Plain Text

Plain text emails have no formatting added. Plain text can be good to use when you email users who may have turned off the function to see formatting in emails or to keep the email size smaller.

To send an email using plain text:

  1. Open a new email.
  2. Click the "Format Text" tab.
  3. In the "Format" group, select "Plain Text."


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