Harley Hahn
Home Page

About Harley

Harley Hahn's
Usenet Center

Free Newsletter

The Harley Hahn

Send a Message
to Harley

Harley Hahn's
Internet Yellow

Search Web Site

FAQ  |  Site Map

Turning Off HTML in
Your Outgoing Mail Messages

Some mail programs allow you to use HTML — Hypertext Markup Language — when you compose a message. However, it is a bad idea and you should turn it off.

HTML is the same system used to create Web pages. Within a mail program, HTML allows you to create messages that look like Web pages by using different typefaces, italics, boldface, pictures, and so on.

HTML is often embraced by newcomers, who tend to get carried away with totally unnecessary typefaces, elaborate formatting and distracting backgrounds.

Within an email message, plain text almost always works best, especially if you take a few moments to write well. Although there may be times when you think you need boldface or italics, what you probably need is a better verb.

Moreover, if your recipient's mail program is not the same as yours, HTML in a message can cause problems:

  • Your message may not look like what you intended, and there is no way for you to find out.

  • When the person replies, the text of your message may be messed up. (I have seen this happen a lot.)

Put simply, plain text is for email, HTML is for Web pages.

Unfortunately, some mail programs generate HTML by default. Even if you think you are typing plain text, your program may be sending HTML without your knowing it (and causing unnecessary problems at the other end).

My advice is, find the options in your email program (or Web-based email service) and turn off the HTML.