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Plain-Text E-Mail Only

Copyright © 2008-2012, 2015, 2018, 2020-2021 by David E. Ross

Please do not send me E-mail messages that are HTML-formatted. Think! The information you wish to convey should be expressed in well-written sentences with correct grammar, spelling, punctuation, and syntax. You do not really need colored, strange fonts. You do not need bold and Italics. Does the graphic you wish to embed really provide information? Or is it merely decoration?

Why HTML formatted e-mail is best avoided

In general, HTML formatted e-mail is a nuisance. Normally, the effect of using HTML is that your message may appear strange or hardly legible at the recipients screen, because different e-mail clients handle HTML differently (and everybody doesn't use Micro$ofts e-mail software). One of the most annoying aspects of HTML messages is that they sometimes include graphics or sounds linked from the web, causing your dial-up networking connection to be activated and your modem to start dialing. There are other ways of irritating the receivers of your e-mail than sending it HTML coded, but few are more efficient.

Parting with some of the capabilities of HTML, like the ability to insert animated graphics of smiling faces, might actually be quite beneficial for some. Without them, they may just have to rediscover the art of writing in order to convey their thoughts.

by Jörn Rönnow (used with permission)

There are some very good reasons to avoid HTML-formatted messages:

For newsletters and other communications where images and elegant formatting might be appropriate, it is better to create an HTML-formatted Web page. Then, a simple plain-text message with a link to the Web page can be broadcast.

Most E-mail applications have options to use plain-text. Some even have options to use plain-text automatically for selected addresses. There is no good reason why you cannot comply with my request.

No, Rönnow and I are not alone in our rejection of HTML formatting for E-mail.

Plain text is for email; HTML is for web pages

From someone else's message signature

ribbon logo for 'ASCII Only' campaign

See also Why HTML Mail is Evil.

25 August 2008
Updated 24 September 2021

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