How to Read Emails in Plain Text in Different Email Clients

While most email clients are capable of handling email in HTML format and will render your emails in HTML mode by default, there are times when you just want to read the emails in plain text, either because you have security concerns about the HTML formatted messages, or you want to check out how’s your newsletter renders in plain text. Here are the ways to read emails in plain text in different email clients.

Note: There are just too many email clients around and we won’t be able to cover them all. This article only focuses on Gmail, Outlook and Thunderbird. Yahoo doesn’t come with plain text mode.

In Gmail, there isn’t an explicit button for you to view your message in plain text. However, you can click the down arrow button beside “Reply” and select “Message text garbled?”. This will open a new window and display the email content in plain text.

gmail-message-text-garbled

This is what you will see.

gmail-message-in-plain-text

In the new Outlook.com, there is also no way for you to view email in plain text. The only available way is via the “View Source” option.

In your email, click the “Actions” link and select “View message source”.

outlook-view-message-source

Scrolling through the source code, you should be able to see the email content in plain text.

outlook-plain-text-in-email

To turn on the plain text option in Outlook 2003, go to “Tools -> Options -> Preferences”. In the E-mail area, click E-mail Option. In the Message handling area, select the “Read all standard mail in plain text” check box.

For Outlook 2007, the steps are slightly different. Go to “Tools -> Trust Center -> E-mail Security”. Under Read as Plain Text, select the “Read all standard mail in plain text” check box.

To include messages that are signed with a digital signature, click to select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

In your Outlook, you have to first click the File tab, and go to Options in the sidebar. In the window that pop up, click “Trust Center” on the sidebar, followed by the “Trust Center Settings” button.

outlook-trust-center

Click “E-mail Security” and select “Read all standard mail in plain text” check box.

outlook2010-view-in-plain-text

In Thunderbird, all you have to do is to go to “View -> Message Body As” in the menu bar and select “Plain tex”. All your email will now appear in plain text.

thunderbird-view-plain-text

That’s it.

Image credit: Inbox by BigStockPhoto