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Electronic Mail

Turn Off HTML When Responding to Mailing Lists

SUMMARY: Respond to mailing lists in plain-text to avoid angering members.

Have you considered joining a discussion-based e-mail list? There are many lists available for meeting people, sharing ideas, or general chitchat about particular subjects. While many lists are open to everyone, one rule you should follow is to always post in plain-text format.

Many e-mail programs such as Microsoft Outlook default to HTML mail, meaning that you can post in color, different fonts, bold text, etc. However, many mailing lists contain members that either don't have such functionality or choose not to use it. Posting mail your normal way might result in some angry messages, or worse yet, getting you banned from the list.

Before joining a mailing list and posting, first see what the rules are about using HTML mail. If the list prohibits it or you notice that all messages are in plain-text format, check your e-mail software's help files or documentation for information on how to disable graphical e-mail. For example, see the below screenshot for how to send an individual e-mail in plain-text with Outlook 2003:

Sending Plain Text e-mail in Outlook 2003

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The MalekTips website was created in 1998 by Andrew Malek of Envision Programming. The page's goal is to freely disperse computer-related tips, hints, and informative articles. Tips are organized to be easy to find, and are presented clearly, in easy-to-understand language. MalekTips also provides information and links to public-domain, open source, freeware, shareware, and commercial software available for download.