My e-mail message has unreadable characters

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003


When you open a message in Outlook, you see characters that are unreadable.


The sender used an e-mail program that did not mark the message with a language encoding (character set).


To read the message, you can set the encoding in Outlook that will display the correct characters.

 Note   The encoding that you set will be applied to the message body but not to the header.

Set the language encoding

The following procedure applies only to e-mail messages in HTML or plain text format.

  1. Open the e-mail message that you want to read.
  2. On the View menu, point to Encoding, and then click the encoding that you want to use.
  3. After you finish reading the message, close the message, and then click Yes to save the changes.

If you want to respond to the message in the same language in which it was sent, you must set the language options for your Microsoft Office installation.

Applies to:
Outlook 2003