When replying to an HTML-formatted message in Outlook, sometimes, I would like to be able to reply in plain text.

Were the original message in plain text, replying to it would quote the original message with “>”, which is the setting I use (and like).

But if the original message is HTML-formatted, those “>” do not appear (only that brain-damaged blue line). And when I switch the message format to plain text, there is no quote indication at all (except the mail headers above the original message).

Is there any way to make replying to HTML messages in plain-text possible (in a similar way as replying to plain-text messages in plain text works)?

  • I don't know Outlook, but in Apple Mail, you can do this by first switching to plain-text view of the original message, and then replying. Perhaps there is an analogous procedure in Outlook?
    – Kevin Reid
    Apr 1 '11 at 18:49
  • "When replying to an HTML-formatted message in Outlook, sometimes, I would like to be able to reply in plain text." Why?
    – endolith
    Apr 17 '11 at 16:11
  • I am looking for a solution to this problem as well. Reason is I received an email on a mailing list that is a) in HTML format and b) top posted. To fix the top posting I first need to convert it to text. Trying to move part of an HTML message around is terrible, I've not been able to have my reply marked as the "new" message, instead it is marked as being part of the most recent message.
    – Bram
    May 14 '13 at 9:37

I found a workaround that worked well enough for my purposes.

The instructions from http://support.microsoft.com/kb/831607 (in Outlook 2010, but there are instructions for earlier versions of Outlook there too) to convert the HTML message to plain text before replying to it. The option is rather deeply buried in the settings, so it's a bit of work to get to, but perhaps not quite so much work as cutting and pasting text into and out of a text editor to achieve the same result.

And I'm thinking I might like having all my incoming mail appear in plain text, so I'm going to try leaving the new setting on permanently! If I want to see a particular HTML message formatted, it's just a matter of a two clicks of the mouse in the "InfoBar" above the message header.

  • 1
    Nice, it seems to work! Just an addendum: in Outlook 2013, this checkbox is hidden in Options/Trust Center [!]/Trust Center Settings/E-mail Security/Read as Plain Text.
    – Mormegil
    Jul 1 '13 at 14:24

In MSO 2007 you can change it in Tools → Options → E-mail Options → When replying to a message: Prefix each line.

  • 1
    I do have this set; however, it seems only to work for plain-text emails, as I have indicated. When replying to HTML e-mails, it seems to be ignored and only the blue line indicator is used instead.
    – Mormegil
    Apr 1 '11 at 15:33

It doesn't work for me (the macro fails to compile) but perhaps the following works for you with a different version of Outlook/Windows: http://home.in.tum.de/~jain/software/outlook-quotefix/ or http://sourceforge.net/apps/mediawiki/macros4outlook/index.php?title=QuoteFix_Macro for Outlook 2007 and newer.

Hope this helps.


This is possible if all messages should be replied-to in plain text. This is sometimes annoying. My work-around is to keep forwarding of emails as is and only tweak my Outlook only for "Reply All".

Just use QuoteFixMacro from https://macros4outlook.github.io/quotefixmacro/ and put it to the shortcut bar of Outlook. Then, you can use Alt+1 to trigger a reply.

I cannot put a self contained answer here as the macro also fixes the quotes.

> > This is a sample text, and as you will see, Microsoft Outlook
> > will wrap this
> > line


>> This is a sample text, and as you will see, Microsoft Outlook will
>> wrap this line.

(Disclaimer: I am the author and maintainer of QuoteFixMacro).

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