Sending Email as Plain Text


This article describes how to configure an email client such that email will be composed or sent in plain text format. They only apply if you have the VT Gmail service.




  1. In your browser, log on to Gmail by following the instructions at Accessing Virginia Tech (VT) Gmail in a Browser.
  2. Determine which view you currently have set for Gmail. In the left menu column:

    • If you see the Compose Mail link instead of the Compose button, you are using the "basic HTML" view of Gmail. One of the features of this view is that it automatically sends all mail as plain text. If you wish to use the "basic HTML" view of Gmail, refer to this support page.

    • If you see the Compose button instead of the Compose Mail link, you are seeing the "standard" view of Gmail. You can still use this view and send all email as plain text. To do so, continue with the instructions below.

  3. Click Compose in the "standard" view to open a New Message window. 
  4. In the New Message window that appears, locate and click on the vertical ellipsis (3 dots) at the bottom-right.
  5. Select Plain text mode. This mode is a toggle-mode, which means it is a persistent setting. In order to revert, you will need to uncheck this option.
  6. To verify your setting, be sure to click on the vertical ellipsis (3 dots) again. You should see a black check beside the Plain text mode option.

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Outlook Web App

  1. Log on to the Outlook Web App by following the instructions at Accessing Your Virginia Tech Exchange Online Account.
  2. Near the top-right corner of the window, to the left of your account picture and the question mark, click Settings, which is represented by a gear.

  3. Click on Mail at the left navigation pane.
  4. In the middle pane, select Compose and reply.

  5. Under Message format, locate "Compose messages in ___ format".

  6. In the drop-box, select Plain text.
  7. Click Save.

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Outlook for Mac

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. From the Outlook drop-down list, select Preferences....

    Select Preferences...

  3. Click Composing.

    Click the Composing button.

  4. Under Format and account, clear the Compose messages in HTML by default check box.
    (It does not matter if you are on the HTML or Plain Text tab of the Composing window.)

    Clear the Compose messages in HTML by default check box.

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Outlook for Windows

  1. Start Outlook.
  2. Select the File tab.
  3. In the left pane, select Options.
  4. In the left pane, select Mail.
  5. Under the Compose messages section, from the Compose messages in this format: drop-down list, select Plain Text.

  6. Click OK.

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