Force Windows Mail to display all email messages in plain text
By default, Windows Mail will display the email messages you receive in whatever format were sent in: this could be plain text (no images and no formatting whatsoever), or in "rich text" (emails like official newsletters that contain colors, formatting, embedded pictures, etc.) Although Windows Mail will protect you from spam by hiding images from senders you don't know (pictures can be used to track whether an email was read or not), you can go one step further in email security by forcing Windows Mail to display all the emails you receive as plain text. We'll show you how to do just that in this tutorial.
Display all emails as plain text in Windows Mail
Follow these steps to configure how your emails are displayed:
- Start by opening Windows Mail
- Once you're in, click on the Tools menu
- Then, choose "Options"
- When the Options dialog has opened, click on the "Read" tab
- The first section is called "Reading Messages", and deals with settings related to incoming email messages, as they are downloading from the server.
- It contains a checkbox labeled "Read all messages in plain text"
- By default, this checkbox is unchecked, which means that Windows Mail will display your incoming email messages, as we said earlier, in whatever format they were sent. (A number of emails are sent in HTML to allow for all kinds of formatting and pictures.)
- To prevent Windows Mail from displaying formatting information or pictures embedded inside your incoming emails, just check that checkbox.
- Click OK to apply the new setting and return to Windows Mail.
- From now on, emails that were sent as plain text will be displayed as plain text (you will not see any difference when reading those, in other words).
- The change will be noticeable when you receive rich text emails that contain formatting information and images: these emails will no display any longer all that extra information, and only stick to the text content of the email itself.
- In most cases, you will still be able to read all your emails without any problem, one exception being the following case: email marketing companies or individuals will sometimes send emails with text written on images. Since Windows Mail will no longer display these images, you will not be able to read the text that was formerly displayed on these images. Since this is fortunately a rather rare case, and you will probably not see much of a difference in your email reading experience.
If you ever get tired of seeing all your email messages in plain text, using the same font (which is configurable, as we'll see in a later tutorial), you can always go back to the Windows Mail options and restore the original behavior, and revert to displaying pictures and formatting information especially from people you already know (known senders).