Outlook lets you configure the default format for new e-mail messages and gives you three options: HTML, rich text, or plain text. If you’ve configured Outlook to use HTML as the default, each new message will start with HTML as the format, enabling you to add graphics, formatting, and other rich media. However, some users prefer to receive text-only e-mail messages.

You can configure the default mail format to be different from Outlook’s overall default format for specific users. This means that new messages you send to these users will be created using the format specified for the recipient, not those you set as the overall default for Outlook.

Outlook 2002
Follow these steps to set the message format for a specific contact in Outlook 2002:

  1. Open Outlook’s Contacts folder and double-click the contact to open it.
  2. In the E-mail field, double-click the recipient’s address to open the E-mail Properties dialog box.
  3. From the Internet Format drop-down list, choose the format option you want to use for this contact. For example, choose Send Plain Text Only if you want Outlook to use only plain text for this recipient, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A
Outlook 2002 allows you to choose a specific e-mail format for each contact e-mail address.

You can repeat this process for any other contacts for which you want to set a specific message format. But keep in mind that the setting is address-specific, not recipient-specific. You can send messages to a particular contact using different mail formats, depending on which e-mail address you use.

If the contact has more than one e-mail address, open the contact form and click the down arrow beside the E-mail Address field. Select a different address, and then double-click the address to set its format.

Outlook 2000
If you’re running Outlook 2000 in Internet Mail Only mode, on the contact form just below the e-mail address, you’ll see an option that says Send As Plain Text. Select this option to send to the recipient using plain text. If you’re using Corporate/Workgroup mode, you can change a recipient’s send options only if the address is stored in the Personal Address Book (PAB). If the address is stored in the PAB, open the PAB, double-click the contact, and click Send Options to specify the message format for the recipient, as shown in Figure B.

Figure B
Outlook 2000 allows you to choose a specific e-mail format for each address but only if it is stored in the Personal Address Book.