configure Outlook 2003 so that it does NOT convert incoming HTML to plain

1 Votes

configure Outlook 2003 so that it does NOT convert incoming HTML to plain

All my incoming email (using outlook 2003) get converted to plain text and information (eg tables) are lost. Why?
1) under Email options - Read ALL mail in plain test is NOT ticked
2)using microsoft 2003 as mail editor
3) Can compose and send HTML emails
0 Votes
boxfiddler Moderator

1. Are the people emailing you using plain text?
2. Is this a personal or business email account?
3. Is tools/Options/Mail Format configured to compose in HTML?
4. Is incoming email in fact converted to plain text, or do you just not receive content that is HTML dependent?

0 Votes

1. Are the people emailing you using plain text?

Answer Both. People email me using plain text or HTML. Thus in the blue bar title of the message it clear shows either - Message (HTML) or Message (Plain) However the acid test is when I Compose an email in HTML (eg. with tables) and mail it to my own email address. The mail in the sent mail box shows a table (blue bar title says HTML). The mail I receive from the mail server (ie. one orignated by me) has information in plain text (and the blue bar title say (Plain Text). Thus messages to myself get converted from HTML to Plain text. If HTML message was sent to two receients (me and another) then I get Plain text back and the another recepient gets message in HTML.
2. Is this a personal or business email account?
Answer:- Business
3. Is tools/Options/Mail Format configured to compose in HTML?
Answer :- Yes
4. Is incoming email in fact converted to plain text, or do you just not receive content that is HTML dependent? Aswer:- See answer 1. I do recive mail from other source in HTML and can view it without any problems (ie. format conserved).

Thanks for the help so far.

0 Votes
boxfiddler Moderator

an Exchange server? Have they configured it is some way to convert HTML to plain text?

It may be that your Outlook Security Options need tweaking. Menu Bar/Tools/Options/Security-Change Automatic Download Settings (middle of the dialogue box). The default/s enable Outlook to block HTML content. Clear the appropriate checkmarks and see if this helps.

This pretty much gets to the limit of my knowledge re: what might be causing your problem, so if it doesn't help hopefully someone else will chime in with a solution.

0 Votes

as sugguested...No sucess.
Thanks for helpo so far. if you have any further idea, kindly appriciated.
Other people in the orgnisation do not have this issue so unlikly to be the mail server.

0 Votes

In Word 2003 choose, -> Tools ->Option -> General ->E-mail Options -> General tab -> uncheck the option "Filter HTML before sending"

Hope it helps.

0 Votes

Hi ALl,
I want to configure my outlook so that it recieves all the email in plain/text format. I have the idea of how to set the format for compose emails. but do not know how to set this format for emails that i recieve. Can anyone help me on this issue.

Muhammad Yousaf

0 Votes

Settings for HTML in outlook
1. Go to tools and then click options.
2. Click on email options in the preferences tab.
3. Unselect or unselect remove all line breaks and also uncheck or check read standard mail in plain text

you are done!

0 Votes

I have the same exact problem. I am using Outlook Connector with Hotmail account. I would love to find a solution too. The funny thing is that it does not convert all HTML, just most of them.

0 Votes
To turn on the Read all standard mail in plain text option in Outlook 2003, follow these steps: 1. Start Outlook 2003.
2. On the Tools menu, click Options.
3. On the Preferences tab, in the E-mail area, click E-mail Options.
4. In the Message handling area, click to select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box.

Note By default, the Read all standard mail in plain text option is turned off.
To turn on the Read all standard mail in plain text option in Outlook 2007, follow these steps: 1. Start Outlook 2007.
2. On the Tools menu, click Trust Center, and then click E-mail Security.
3. Under Read as Plain Text, click to select the Read all standard mail in plain text check box.
4. To include messages that are signed with a digital signature, click to select the Read all digitally signed mail in plain text check box.

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Thankz to Jayesh to bring this up to notice...even i have been facing the same problem for quite a while n the funny part is i use 2 profiles for business purpose and one of dem seems to be workin fine with the HTML stuff.

While th other seems to have a mind of its own:-( wen i add CC to my myself the mail comes up in plain text format and not in HTML format.

THe people whom i send messages receive them in proper HTML format....PLease HELP!!!

0 Votes

Hi Guys,

I've been experiencing the same problem. Do we have any fix for this? I've been looking and troubleshooting for it for quit sometime now and I haven't seen any real solution.

Same scenario, when I test send an html email with tables and other stuffs that can be viewed fancy to myself, I kept receiving them as plain text.

I've already compared my settings to my other colleagues but it seems I'm the only one who's having this problem.

0 Votes

Hi everybody,

I'm experiencing the very same problem than you but still couldn't find any solution.

Thank you for your help.

Kind Regards,


0 Votes

With the help of Microsoft, a solution has been found to the problem of not being able to open some or all file types attached to email messages in Outlook 2003 on Vista: the Google Desktop is blocking the action. As a work-around:

Go to add-ins: Tools.Options.Other.Advanced Options, Add-In Manager button and, if the Google Desktop addin is checked, uncheck it.

This solved the problem of not being able to open and view attachments.

0 Votes

Thanks to Mira25 getting me on the right track. I went into Add-In Manager to look for Google Desktop, but I did not have one. But, I did see an AVG 8.0 Add-in, and I remembered that I upgraded AVG around the time this started.

Sure enough when I unchecked the AVG Add-in, my HTML emails started flowing in correctly.

Hope this helps.

0 Votes

Thanks Kevin (and Mira25). My wife's computer had this problem and a web search led me here. The AVG 8 plug-in was indeed the culprit. Hope AVG releases a fix for this problem soon. Interestingly, on my computer I'm using Outlook 2007, also with AVG 8, and have had no similar issues. Thanks again.

0 Votes

I have found a solution to the problem!

Incoming HTML email being converted to Plain Text even though Outlook 2003 was not set to do so.

After reading previous posts, I found that the "fix" was NOT by just entirely DISABLING THE OUTLOOK AVG ADD-IN, but by simply TURNING OFF THE CERTIFY EMAIL feature that the AVG Outlook add-in would perform by default.

The problem started today after I upgraded all our systems from AVG v7 to v8. Some, but not all, incoming email was being converted from HTML to plain text. After studying what types of emails were being converted and which ones were not, I found that the AVG E-mail Scanner was "certifying" all email with attachments, or outside links to images, and adding a few lines of text at the bottom of the email saying "No virus found in this incoming message.
Checked by AVG.
Version: 8.0.100 / Virus Database: 269.24.0/1462 - Release Date: 5/23/2008 7:20 AM." So I simply unchecked the certify email button on ALL our workstations and they are ALL working just fine again!

After a few hours I hauled the new AVG to the back room (aka..the "Come to Jesus room") and gave it a stern warning! Just kidding :).

Open your AVG User Interface. Go to Tools > Advanced Settings > E-mail Scanner > Uncheck Certify Mail on the Incoming side.

Hope this works for others or at least helps!

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Since the problem of Outlook not showing HTML for some e-mails began yesterday after I installed AVG 8, this seems to be the solution. My existing mail did not convert back to HTML, but I'm hoping this takes care of the problem. Thank you for your persistance!

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Thanks a million! The hardest part was coming up with the right Google search to find the answer!

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Thank you for your solution.
However, by turning off "Certify Email" in AVG 8.0, are you not opening yourself to a virus threat from incomin emails?

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That's exactly what was doing it. You rock!

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Thanks so much for all the replies on this, I have been beating myself up now for a week trying to figure out what happened, and this is also about the time that this started for me too is when I upgraded to AVG 8.0. The only thing is that it didn't convert my old emails to HTML, so I'll have to wait to get new ones from my problem emails and see if this corrects the problem.

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Is it possible to fix this using the free version of the product? I have it installed on a personal PC and would like to turn the changing of HTML messages to plain text. I cannot find the ability to change email scanner settings.

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I simply would like to add my reply of thank you very much. Trying to find what was going on was bugging the heck out of me.

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Only certain email messages convert from HTML to Plain. I am clueless. I don't have AVG - well, I don't think so. Can anyone help me?

0 Votes

There is a section i put in numbering 1 to 7, you could try it and see if it works.

Viruses can involve Microsoft Outlook in several ways:
A user opens a virus-infected attachment received via an Outlook e-mail message. Because this is the most common way viruses spread, many system administrators block certain attachments at the server or use the Outlook Email Security Update to block such attachments at the client.
Messages exploiting certain vulnerabilities in HTML mail can force a malicious file attachment to run even if the user only views it in the preview pane or opens the message. Getting the latest patches for Internet Explorer provides protection.
Because of Outlook's easy-to-use programming model, viruses can propagate themselves by reading the Outlook address books and sending new virus-infected messages to everyone found there. However, virus developers seem to be aware of the new security provisions in Outlook, because the latest viruses have included their own SMTP engine to send messages, thus avoiding Outlook's security prompts.
This page provides information on how to protect your computer from Outlook-related viruses.
About the "!0000 with no email address" technique: The message circulating that you can protect against email-borne viruses by adding a contact with the name "!0000" and no email address or your own email address is a hoax. The technique does not protect you. For one thing, adding a contact with no email address ensures that the contact does not appear in the Outlook Address Book at all, so the virus would never see it. Adding your own address just means you'll get a copy of whatever message the virus sends -- if it uses the address book. However, viruses don't need to bother with address books. Some of the latest harvest addresses from other sources on your system, such as cached web pages. See 0000 trick (or !0000 trick) to confuse viruses/worms for more information.
Outlook Client Protection | Scanning for File Attachments | Confirming File Transmissions | Other Tools | More Information
Outlook Client Protection
To protect your machine from becoming infected with a virus received via Microsoft Outlook, you should:
Install the latest service packs and updates for your version of Outlook
Outlook 2002 -- Service Pack 3
Outlook 2000 -- Service Pack 3 (note potential problems for Internet Mail Only users) for greatest protection. If you do not want the Outlook E-mail Security Update, then at least install Office 2000 Service Release 1/1a.
Outlook 98 -- Outlook E-mail Security Update (see additional information below) for greatest protection. If you do not want the full security update, then at least install the Attachment Security Update .
Outlook 97 -- Service Release 2 plus the Outlook 97 Email Attachment Security Update
Update Outlook, Internet Explorer, and other Windows components
Update Internet Explorer to a "safe" version with all the latest HTML vulnerability updates.
Install additional updates that protect against HTML mail exploits.
Install a patch for Media Player 7 to protect Outlook from a denial of service attack via a rich-text format message. See Patch Available for OCX Attachment Vulnerability.
Tighten e-mail attachment security
Block additional file types by adding extensions to the Level1Add key.
Consider installing the Outlook E-mail Security Update. We do not recommend this patch for all systems. Do not install it unless you read the documentation and understand what it will do to your add-ins.
If you install the Outlook E-mail Security Update, you may also want to install these updates that depend on it:
If you use both Outlook 2000 and Word 2000, install the Word 2000 SR-1 Update Mail Command Security to block possible unauthorized sending of messages through the plain text or HTML WordMail or "Office envelope" feature.
If you use Outlook 2000, install the Microsoft Outlook CDO Security Update to apply the same level of security to the Collaboration Data Objects programming interface.
If you use Outlook 98 and need to restore CDO for use by forms or applications, install the Microsoft Outlook CDO Security Update.
Block .eml attachments. See Outlook Does Not Restrict Access to EML Attachments.
If you choose not to install the Outlook E-mail Security Update, take these steps:
Install the Attachment Security Update for Outlook 97 or Outlook 98 or install Office 2000 Service Release 1/1a (SR1). SR1 includes a feature to extend attachment security protection to any type of file.
If you are using Outlook 98 or Outlook 2000, increase the security for HTML mail by following these additional steps to control the security zone for Outlook messages:

1.Use Tools | Options | Security to set the security zone for Outlook HTML mail to Restricted Sites.

2.Click the Zone Settings button, then OK.

3.Select Custom, and then click the Settings button.

4.On the Security Settings dialog box, choose Disable for all options under these headings:

5.ActiveX Controls and plugins


7.Click OK three times to save the updated security settings.

You may also want to tighten scripting even in the Restricted Sites zone. See Outlook Does Not Restrict Access to EML Attachments.
See Scanning for File Attachments for more ideas on tightening e-mail attachment security.
Practice good anti-virus safety
Never open a file attachment that you did not expect to receive.
Install an anti-virus program, keep it updated and scan all attached files before opening them. Remember that an anti-virus program may not protect you against the very latest viruses. It may only be as good as your last update.
Other optional protection ideas
You may want to tighten the ability of Windows Script Host to run scripts on your system.
On Outlook 98 and 2000, you may also want to use Chilton Preview, rather than the built-in preview pane, because Chilton Preview does not support HTML mail and, therefore, does not leave you vulnerable to a malicious HTML mail message.
You can use VBA code in Outlook 2000 or 2002 to convert all incoming HTML messages to either rich text or plain text. See To convert incoming HTML messages to Outlook Rich Text or plain text format.
Configure Outlook 2003 to display all messages in plain text. Tools, Options, Preferences, E-mail Options and check the box to Read all standard mail in plain text.
Use the Microsoft Personal Security Advisor to check for issues with permissions, hotfixes and other possible security vulnerabilities.

Scanning for File Attachments
Instead of blocking certain file attachments, you may want to look at these methods of controlling what happens to attachments.
The Outlook Rules Wizard (and other automatic processing tools) can move all messages containing file attachments for a separate folder for later review.
ExLife and CaSaveAtt from Ornic can extract attachments from incoming items and save them separately as system files, where your virus scanner can examine them.
With Outlook 2000, you can write code to move incoming messages containing file attachments with certain extensions (.vbs, .exe, etc.) to a separate folder for later review. See To quarantine application file attachments with Microsoft Outlook 2000 VBA for sample code.
ScriptCheck is an Outlook 2000 COM addin that notifies users of script file attachments in the Inbox
Also, make sure you know what type of file is actually attached. Some viruses use a double file extension, such as .jpg.vbs. If Windows is set not to show the extension for known file types, the recipient will see the attachment listed as a harmless .jpg file, not a potentially dangerous .vbs file. The solution is to use Tools | Folder Options or View | Options, depending on your Windows version, to change the setting to show extensions for all files.

Confirming File Transmissions
If you are concerned about viruses that use Outlook to propagate, you may want to require confirmation of all outgoing messages that contain file attachments. For a code sample, see:
To require confirmation when sending file attachments (Microsoft Outlook 2000 VBA)
Another approach is to set up Outlook not to send mail automatically. For Exchange Server users, this means setting up offline folders, working offline and synchronizing periodically. For Internet mail users, the exact settings depends on your version of Outlook, mode and Internet connection type, but you'll generally find the right options in Tools | Services, Tools | Accounts or Tools | Options.
Note, however, that the latest viruses include their own SMTP engine for sending mail, so these techniques may not actually block virus propagation.

Other Tools
Most versions of Outlook provide a way to filter largish incoming messages. See Download limits to combat Swen for details on this anti-virus tip.
If you want to provide protection at the server level, as well as on the client, these tools can help:
Anti-virus Tools
Content Control Tools -- attachment filtering, among other techniques
Other miscellaneous tools:
EZ Armor
Blocks .vbs, .exe and other executable files from being launched from inside Outlook or other e-mail programs. You can still save the attachment and launch it from the file system. Reduces the risk of a virus spreading via e-mail by monitoring all attempts by external programs to generate mail.
Free tool to scan the Windows registry and either reset the registry entry for applications so that Internet Explorer or Outlook prompts you to Open or Save As a file or give you a list of file types and their current setting.
An alternative to Microsoft's Outlook E-mail Security Update, this tool prevents the spread of e-mail borne viruses by controlling the ability of other applications to access Outlook. Works with all versions of Outlook. Requires Windows NT or Windows 2000.
Outlook 2000 and 2002 COM add-in that works much like our ZapHTML code, stripping HTML content as a user switches from one message to another. Note that Outlook 2002 SP-1 has a similar feature.
Reflex ScreenMail for Outlook
Removes active components, such as scripts, and closes known Internet Explorer vulnerabilities in HTML messages. Scans all attachments with any anti-virus tool available on the client. (Ships with the Reflex Sherlock anti-virus scanner.) Displays a special warning when executable files are found. Scans signed and encrypted messages.
Watch Your Back
Tool to strip HTML content and manage read receipts in incoming messages.
ZoneAlarm Pro
Monitor and screen potentially harmful attachments, including .exe files. See ZoneAlarm Pro MailSafe for more information. Also controls Internet access by programs, such as viruses with their own SMTP engines.

More Information
How to configure Outlook to block additional attachment file name extensions
Viruses Affecting Microsoft Outlook
OL2000: Security Zones in Outlook 2000
Description of Internet Explorer Security Zones Registry Entries
How Active is Active Content in Email? (NTBugTraq)
Update to "A Viral Survival Checklist" (Exchange Administrator)
Are Microsoft ActiveX controls dangerous? (The Register)
Virus Protection for Messaging -- Microsoft online seminar
GFI Email Security Testing Zone -- sends harmless messages to your computer to test various email vulnerabilities
SANS Top 20 Vulnerabilities -- Outlook is #8 on the Windows list

Please post back if you have any more problems or questions.

0 Votes

HI... I have the same problem as outlined above but I don't have AVG and all my settings are as suggested before I checked. if that makes sense - so I doubt that it is actually AVG causing the problem
Suddenly (without any changes) I stared getting the odd email with =20 (as carage return) =E2=80=98 as start yellow highlight =E2=80=99 as end yellow highlight etc

Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="utf-8"

This is a multi-part message in MIME format.

Content-Type: text/plain;
Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable

are two of the headers recently displayed in what is in effect gogblydegook messages - click on forwad and doing a find and replace seems the only way of reading any of these messages - any further suggestions much appreciated..

yet other emails come through perfect... have archived compressed and checked with senders

0 Votes

How to <a href="">convert outlook 2003 to html</a>, this query will not annoy the user if procedure to convert outlook 2003 to EML, MSG, HTML, TXT, Doc, DBX, vCard, RTF is executed intelligently with viable external application like PCVITA Outlook Conversion software.

just try this:-

0 Votes

following on from my previous meassage

0 Votes

How to convert outlook 2003 to html, this query will not annoy the user if procedure to convert outlook 2003 to EML, MSG, HTML, TXT, Doc, DBX, vCard, RTF is executed intelligently with viable external application like PCVITA Outlook Conversion software.

just try this:-