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I'm being sent an email which offers alternate views: plain text and HTML. The two views have slightly different content. I want to read the plain text view, not any rendering of the HTML view.

When I select 'read all messages as plain text' in the Trust Center, it seems to show a plain-text rendering of the HTML view.

How can I read the plain text view of the email?

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

You will need to contact the sender to have them send you the text version of the message. Outlook simply displays the message in the format it was received. When you choose to read it in plain text, it just converts it as you have experienced.

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The one sent email has two views. Everything Outlook would need to display the text-only content (which differs from the HTML content) is in the email. Everything Outlook would need to display the HTML content is in the email. – lance Apr 10 '12 at 21:23
Have you seen this work before? Maybe it has something to do with how the message was written. – CharlieRB Apr 11 '12 at 0:42
My expectation that Outlook is capable of this is based only on my having seen competitors do this years ago (but maybe not these days?). There used to be options by which the user of the email client could specify whether she wanted to see plainText or HTML views of emails which contained both content types/views. Outlook doesn't seem to be giving me that option. The 'read all messages as plain text' security feature shows a stripped-down version of the HTML content/view. – lance Apr 11 '12 at 11:51

The problem is that Outlook is not actually storing the text-only version. However, modern Outlook still retains the MIME headers - and there is a hack to get Outlook to retain the entire message content as well.

The full details are here: - basically you add a new DWord "SaveAllMIMENotJustHeaders" with value "1" into HKEY_CURRENT_USER\­­Software\­­Microsoft\­­Office\­­11.0\­­Outlook\­­Options\­­Mail. This superuser answer has more detail, in case the link moves/changes.

Outlook then logs the entire message source where it previously logged just the MIME headers. If you view these headers now (Outlook calls them "Internet headers"), then you should get the full message source. You should be able to find the plain-text version of the email near the top of the source.

Another option, of course, is to set up a text-only email client to read your mail with.

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