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Chapter 28. Expert Email Management > Choosing a Message Format

Choosing a Message Format

Outlook 2000 enables you to choose from three distinct message formats. In some circumstances, it makes the choice of format for you, and you have to specifically override that decision. If you're picky about which message format you send out, pay attention to the fine details in this section, because the obvious options do not always behave as you expect.

  • Plain Text— Transmits nothing but letters, numbers, and symbols in the character set you use to create the message. Outlook strips any formatting, including colors, fonts, and inline pictures, when it sends the message.

  • Microsoft Outlook Rich Text— The latest version of a format developed by Microsoft years ago, before HTML became popular. Using Rich Text format enables you to specify fonts, colors, bullets, and other text attributes, with one major caveat: Only recipients who use Outlook or another Exchange client will be able to correctly view that formatted information. If you send a Rich Text message to a recipient who is using another client program, they will see most of the text in your message as well as an attachment called Winmail.dat, which contains useless information. Outlook automatically creates messages in Rich Text format when you use group-oriented features such as voting buttons, Net Folders, meeting invitations, and task requests.

  • HTML— Offers the same formatting options as Rich Text format, plus the capability to specify styles, automatically number lines, and add horizontal rules. Because the underlying format is the same as a Web page, you can also define background graphics and insert images into a message. Most modern Internet mail client programs are capable of reading HTML-formatted messages, including all versions of Netscape Mail and Outlook Express, as well as most recent Eudora versions. If the recipient's mail client software can't interpret HTML, the recipient sees a plain text version of the message with an attachment that can be viewed in any Web browser.


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