I would like to be able to receive HTML/rich e-mails, but since I installed Enigmail for Thunderbird, this has not been possible. All e-mails are shown as plain text or not shown at all. This has some positive sides, but some e-mails come though with very strange formatting.

How can I enable HTML/rich e-mails?

  • Well, I used Enigmail a year ago and faced the same problem. I don't remember the correct place of that option, but if you go to Tools > Add-Ons > Enigmail, you can find that. I'll try to post more complete answer tomorrow, 04:00 GMT...
    – kokbira
    May 11, 2011 at 11:32
  • 2
    Ok. I went to that option dialog, but there was nothing there to enable/disable HTML e-mails.
    – Lars
    May 11, 2011 at 11:51

2 Answers 2


Well, I don't remember very much about it, but I remember about PGP/MIME option.

Try that:

  • To compose in HTML:

    • Menu > Tools > Account Settings > Choose your account > OpenPGP security > Check "Use PGP/MIME by default"

    • Menu > Tools > Account Settings > [Your Account] > Composition & Addressing > Compose Messages in HTML format

    • Menu > Tools > Options > Composition > General > Sending options... > "Send the message in both plain text and HTML"

  • To read HTML:

    • Menu > View > Format as > Original HTML format

    • The senders must enable sending in HTML format

From http://www.e-ignite.co.uk/html/openpgp.html :

PGP/MIME - when to use it:

PGP/MIME is a method for encryption and signing of email. It allows you to use text formatting so you can send html emails or sign and encrypt emails with attachments. If you are simply sending a text email, Enigmail OpenPGP saves the email as an html file, then signs and/or encrypts the file rather than the text. It is an advanced feature and has excellent functionality, however, not all email clients support PGP/MIME. If your intended recepient uses Enigmail, you are able to send PGP/MIME email to them. Otherwise, you would need to check with them to see if they are able to read PGP/MIME emails. Normally, Enigmail encrypts plain text emails only, so if you compose an html email (for example, using Bold style, a specified font, a font colour or a font size) then you will get a warning box asking if you want to remove the html formatting or if you want to use PGP/MIME instead. If you do not want to use PGP/MIME, you should compose your emails in plain text only by holding down SHIFT when you click "Write" to compose an email. Converting from html to plain text after composing the mail can cause problems with bad signatures.

Inline PGP is the most universally accepted method to use, however this is changing. As far as I'm aware, the only mainstream mail clients that do not support PGP/MIME are Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express. If you sign an email and send it to an Outlook or Outlook Express user, they will receive a blank email with two attachments - the html message and a signature. They will still be able to read the message, but they have to open the attachment as a file because it will not display automatically within the program. There is an excellent list of email clients that support PGP/MIME and I'd recommend that you have a look at it here. If you and all your contacts use Thunderbird and Enigmail, there is no reason not to use PGP/MIME.

  • Hey, I would like to know if it fixed your problem...
    – kokbira
    May 12, 2011 at 14:20
  • 1
    I had the same problem and selecting view > format as > Original HTML format fixed it. Thanks.
    – pvorb
    Jul 13, 2013 at 16:46
  • 1
    Hey @Kokbira. You saved my life today! Really, I was stucked with the same problem. You answer was a perfect solution. This problem happen to me after installed enigmail. Mar 25, 2014 at 15:36
  • For the read part, it now seems to be "View > Message Body As > Original HTML". Apr 17, 2014 at 9:03
  • @Chloe now I'm thinking about: it is not working with Enigmail 1.8.2 Thunderbird 31.7.0, or it is working now with your added step???
    – kokbira
    Sep 16, 2015 at 12:52

In Thunderbird (ver. 12.0.1)

View > Display Message Body As > Original HTML

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