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Y2k Tech: Configuring Outlook Express to send plain text email

Iā€™m adding the details of how to configure Outlook Express to stop sending HTML email and to send plain text email only here for archival reasons. Although in 2013, this information should no longer be needed (it was back in 2000ish when I originally wrote it). So please be aware this is massively outdated and probably no longer relevant information, but I like to archive stuff šŸ˜‰

Sending plain text email

When you receive a copy of Microsoft Outlook Express (either pre-installed on your hard drive, copied from a CD or downloaded from the Internet), is will usually have the default preferences set in a manner that is wasteful on time and resources.
Why you should re-configure Outlook
Email (e-mail, electronic mail etcetra) was designed to send fast, speedy, accurate transmission of messages between multiple computer types and programs. Unfortently, the default configuration of Outlook Express ‘assumes’ that everybody wants to receive what is called ‘HTML-Enabled Email’ which increases length of most e-mails (it at least doubles it), doesn’t add anything that isn’t already given in the message, and is incompatible with most non-Outlook Express users.
If you use Outlook Express for business communications, or have a large volume of personal email, but still have ‘HTML-Enable Email’ email enabled, then over time this will have quite a dramatic effect on your phone bill, so it’s advisable to set it up correctly – which will also please the people you’re sending emails to because they won’t receive a duplicate copy as an attachment.
How to send ‘non-HTML’ email using Outlook
If you follow the instructions below your future emails be internet compliant and not only will your phone bill be lower but you won’t get any complaints from people receiving your emails:

  1. Load Outlook Express
  2. Click on the ‘Tools’ option on the menu bar and select ‘Options…’
    This will open the options control window.

  3. Click on the ‘Send’ tag at the top.
  4. Under the “Mail sending format”, ensure that the ‘Plain Text’ option is ticked, by clicking on it if needed.
  5. Click on the ‘Settings’ box to the right of this option.
  6. Ensure that the option “Encode text using” box is set to ‘None’ and click ‘OK’.
  7. Repeat steps 4-6 for the “News sending format” (as USENET news must be in plain text format only).
  8. Ensure that the ‘Include message in reply’ option is turned OFF – ie. no tick – by clicking on it if required.
  9. Click ‘OK’ to activate your new settings.

Outlook Express should now be setup correctly.
Changing the default mail program

If you do not wish to use Outlook Express as your mail program, and perhaps previously used a different mail client, you can revert to this by changing your default mail client.
Do this by going to the ‘Tools’ menu in Outlook Express and selecting ‘Options’. There is a checkbox here called ‘Make Outlook Express my default mail client’ – if you uncheck this Outlook Express will no longer be invoked if you try to send mail from, say, a link on the web.
You will need to set up your own mail settings if you use a different mail package.

Removing Outlook Express

Windows 95
Outlook Express can be uninstalled in the normal way using the Add/Remove Programs function which you will find if you go to the ‘Start’ menu and look in ‘Settings’ then ‘Control Panel’. From the Add/Remove Programs dialogue box, select Outlook Express, then click on Add/Remove.

Windows 98/2000
Outlook Express is part of the Internet Explorer integration with the Windows operating system and cannot be easily uninstalled.