Remove stationery and themes from messages you receive

If you don't want messages that you receive to display stationery or themes, you can configure Microsoft Outlook 2010 to automatically display messages that you open in plain text instead. However, doing this also removes other formatting that a message might have.

 Note    To change the background of messages that you send, see Customize your email message.

ShowTell me more about message formats

Microsoft Outlook supports three message formats:

  • HTML     This is the default message format in Outlook. It is also the best format to use when you want to create messages that are similar to traditional documents, with various fonts, colors, and bullet lists. By default, when you select either of the options that allow formatting (HTML or Rich Text), the message is sent in HTML format. So when you use HTML, you know that what you send is what the recipient will see.
  • Plain text     This is a format that all e-mail applications support. You can set Outlook to open messages that you receive in plain text format only. Plain text doesn't support bold, italic, colored fonts, or other text formatting. It also doesn't support pictures that are displayed directly in the message body, although you can include pictures as attachments.
  • Outlook Rich Text format (RTF)     This is a Microsoft format that only the following e-mail applications support:
    • Microsoft Exchange Client versions 5.0 and 4.0
    • Microsoft Outlook 2010
    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2007
    • Microsoft Office Outlook 2003
    • Microsoft Outlook 2002, 2000, 98, and 97

You can use RTF when sending messages within an organization that uses Microsoft Exchange; however, we recommend that you use the HTML format. RTF supports text formatting, including bullets, alignment, and linked objects. Outlook automatically converts RTF formatted messages to HTML by default when you send them to an Internet recipient, so that the message formatting is maintained and attachments are received. Outlook also automatically formats meeting and task requests and messages with voting buttons so that these items can be sent intact across the Internet to other Outlook users, regardless of the default format of the message. If the Internet-bound message is a task or meeting request, Outlook automatically converts it to Internet Calendar format, a common format for Internet calendar items, so that other e-mail applications can support it.


  1. Click the File tab.
  2. Click Options.
  3. Click Trust Center.
  4. Click Trust Center Settings.
  5. Click E-mail Security.
  6. Under Read as Plain Text, select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box.

To include messages signed with a digital signature, select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

 Tip   If you want to view a plain text message in its original format, click the InfoBar (InfoBar: Banner near the top of an open email message, appointment, contact, or task. Tells you if a message has been replied to or forwarded, along with the online status of a contact who is using Instant Messaging, and so on.), and choose either Display as HTML or Display as Rich Text.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2010