Outlook 2010 (beta). I like responding to email inline-style, where there is an indicator (typically a gray vertical bar, |) denoting the quoted content.

Not sure if I can attach an image, but will give text example:

This is some email content.

|  This is a quote from the original email

This is my response to that quote

| |  This denotes a nested quote from a previous message

And another inline response.

I just got an email from someone who replied inline with this same style, but I can't for the life of me find what format option in the Ribbon I need to do the same.

I know I can go through and do this manually with plain-text emails, but the email I am responding to accomplished this with HTML style message, and I would have to remove the formatting and then re-apply the quote style with plain-text markings.



5 Answers 5

  1. Click the File tab

  2. Choose Options from the left menu

  3. Choose Mail from the left menu

  4. Scroll down for Replies and Forwards

  5. Choose your relevant options from the dropdown. I think what you're looking for is "Prefix each line of the original message"

Prefix each line of the original message

To remove the existing prefix / blue bar, change message type to rich text and press Ctrl-Q (per @djp and @Alexander Amelkin; be sure to up-vote those comments below if this helps).

  • 72
    What if I want to be able to reply into the middle of a message, like in gmail? It appears in HTML messages you can't get rid of the bar on the left by hitting return in the middle of the message.
    – dfrankow
    Commented Mar 28, 2011 at 21:18
  • 5
    NOTE: The solution addin that is talked about in the above question, is not provided.
    – user66001
    Commented Feb 2, 2013 at 1:41
  • 44
    To get rid of the blue bar on the left (in the middle of a message) try CTRL+Q
    – djp
    Commented Oct 22, 2015 at 3:11
  • 6
    @djp That appears to work when writing the message, however on the receivers end the blue bar still shows. Try sending one such email to yourself for example (tested on Outlook 2016).
    – Zitrax
    Commented Oct 10, 2016 at 9:47
  • 9
    It's a long and well known bug in Outlook. You should choose RTF format for the message (on the Format tab). Then the changes you make with Ctrl-Q will be visible to the recipients. Commented Dec 12, 2016 at 12:42

As the comments have noted is an issue with variant's answer, you can't add text into the reply if you use the "Prefix each line of the original message" feature.

This is what I'm doing that takes a bit more setup and a bit more work to use but is way more flexible. Note that I'm using Office 365 ProPlus

  1. Double click on some text to highlight it then click on the Styles menu
  2. Name your new style. Click the Modify button
  3. Make sure the checkbox Add to the Styles gallery is checked.
  4. Make sure the option Style for following paragraph: is set to ¶ Normal
  5. Click the Format drop down then click on Border
  6. Set a left border, with the color you want, and the width you want.
  7. Keep clicking Ok until you're back to your e-mail

Now that you've got your reply text style created, just highlight text that you want to mark and apply the style to your replies. Of course, you can apply all kinds of other customization to the style as you see fit.

  • 1
    I had trouble saving this style. It would persist as long as current window was open. But upon opening a new window, it was gone. Solution: ( partly found from this post ) --> Format Text --> Styles --> Change Styles --> Set as Default. Commented Apr 24, 2022 at 11:15
  • 1
    At least in my copy of Outlook (Outlook for Microsoft 365 version 2207) there is already a Quote style. However, it could do with a few changes, like changing from centre-justified to left-justified, and adding a left border as per chizou's answer above.
    – Simon Elms
    Commented Aug 14, 2022 at 23:01

Following @chizou 's answer, these are the parameters I found working.

  • Format Text > Styles > Create a style (New Style) or choose a style to modify (Modify style)

  • Format > Paragraph > Indentation

    • Left, 0.1 cm
  • Modify Style > Format > Border...

    • Color blue

    • Width 1 + 1/2

    • Click the left border button

    • Options > From text > Left, 4 pt

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  • 1
    This works only if no left indent is added to paragraph, otherwise in the sent email item, the blue bar is placed before the indent
    – hymced
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 15:04
  • if one wants to add a left indent before the border, the best solution is to set a quick table
    – hymced
    Commented Nov 8, 2021 at 16:04

It seems there is no reasonable solution to this in 2023 except to bounce the email to gmail (or pine or something.) Except I think you also cannot bounce?


In case you want to write plain-text emails with some nicely formatted text quotes, quotefixmacro might be a solution. It automatically converts HTML mails to plain text mails and reformats the quotes nicely (in most cases)

Other than that, for Outlook 2017 and newer, following are the options to add > before each line:

Tools > Options > Preferences > E-mail Options... > On replies and forwards

  • When replying to a message: "Prefix each line of the original message"
  • When forwarding a message: "Include original message text" or "Prefix each line of the original message"
  • Prefix each line with: "> "

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