Outlook: Force Plain Text Reading of Email

Posted August 21, 2006 by MickeyMouse in Microsoft Outlook

HTML email messages are visually appealing, but they can increase your chance of getting a virus or exposing your email address to spam. You can reduce these risks by forcing Outlook only to display incoming email messages in plain text.


As Outlook has progressed, its defenses against viruses and spam has improved. Still, reading email messages in HTML instead of plain text increases your risk of validating your email address to spammers or downloading a virus.

Here is how to disable the reading of emails in HTML in Outlook 2003 and greater:

1. Open Outlook.
2. Click Tools.
3. Click Options.
4. Select the Preferences tab.
5. Select E-Mail Options.
6. Click Read all standard mail in plain text.
7. Click OK two times.

If you have the earlier Office XP, you can do this with a registry hack:

In regedit, navigate to the following:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\10.0\Outlook\Options\Mail

Add a dword called ReadAsPlain with a value of 1.

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