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Force Mail to display plain text by default Apps
Many UNIX users Prefer their email in plain text, as opposed to HTML or RTF or whatever else is out there. Unfortunately Mail.app doesn't have a checkbox for this, but the preference exists! Edit the mail preference file (com.apple.mail.plist in ~/Library -> Preferences) and add the following lines into the first dictionary:

  <key>PreferPlainText</key>
  <true/>
Make sure you know what you're doing when playing around in XML preference files! It worked for me under Mail 1.2.5 (v552)

[robg adds: An alternative way of adding the key is through the Terminal. Just type:
defaults write com.apple.mail PreferPlainText -bool TRUE
I did this, then quit and re-launched Mail. I was hoping it would force the various spams I receive in to plaintext mode, but it made no difference in those (and I force everything else into a mono font anyway, so it's hard for me to see a difference in other emails).]
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Force Mail to display plain text by default | 28 comments | Create New Account
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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: kyngchaos on Jul 16, '03 11:22:36AM

robg - I think you need to do this with Mail NOT running, otherwise when you quit mail it will overwrite your change. It worked for me this way.

Woohoo! now those damn html emails that crash Mail are not a problem.



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: noel_gomez on Jul 16, '03 12:56:29PM

I have seached this site and Google and I have not found any definite answers to this.

Can Mail's attachment encoding be changed to something other than AppleDouble?



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AppleDouble alternative
Authored by: elliotjordan on Jul 28, '05 03:02:12PM
Woo hoo!
Authored by: wsdr on Jul 16, '03 01:29:30PM

Now I no longer have to hit APPLE-OPTION-P (Show-->Plain Text Alternative) in order to read the messages from all of my misguided friends using Windows and Outlook who create silly backgrounds and try to use their corporate font in their email.



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Works for me!
Authored by: jbc on Jul 16, '03 01:36:14PM

This hint works great on my system (OSX 10.2.6, Mail 1.2.5)!

I've been looking for this solution for a long time. I'd been considering switching to mutt or some other email client, simply because of Mail's stupid insistence on displaying html as the default. How Apple could overlook such a basic and necessary preference is beyond me, and my tolerance for having to try to read microscopic html text was getting progressively less. Many thanks to the poster of this hint. Made my day!

robg- Are you taliking about "Content-Type: text/html" mails or "Content-Type: multipart/(alternative|mixed)" mails with an html part? This is working fine for my multipart emails. I can't check what this does with text/html mails (these are deleted from the server before I get them, which is effective in blocking a ton of spam), but it could be that Mail is displaying the html content as html rather than text when html is all that's available. Just a thought.



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Works for me!
Authored by: osxpounder on Jan 03, '05 05:37:42PM

You mentioned "microscopic" text. Just wanted to point out that, in Mail, you can use CMD-+ [if you've got a keyboard with the 10-key numpad on the right side] to enlarge text. Sadly, CMD-= doesn't work for this, although some other apps, such as Safari, let you use CMD-= to enlarge text. I'm not lucky enough to have access to a PowerBook, so I don't know what you can do on that keyboard.

---
--
osxpounder



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Off Topic: Mail Attachments (just figured out how to post to parent)
Authored by: noel_gomez on Jul 16, '03 01:45:43PM

I have seached this site and Google and I have not found any definite answers to this.

Can Mail's attachment encoding be changed to something other than AppleDouble?



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: prk on Jul 16, '03 01:52:43PM

Ahh, so much better. Now I can scroll the email with the up/down arrows also. Please, more hits about Apple Mail.app.

One thing that I am doing is writing a GUI version of Mutt for OSX. But that is going to take years with my skills.



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: SJT on Jul 16, '03 02:11:10PM

Excellent stuff, works a treat on html emails for me.



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: ptwithy on Jul 16, '03 03:12:13PM

Woohoo! "'scuse me while I kiss this guy"![*] This is great, have complained to Apple about it, why didn't they tell me?

[*] Yes, I know that is not the real lyric.



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what about text attachments
Authored by: vancenase on Jul 16, '03 06:28:00PM

does anyone know how to get text attachments to actually show up as attachments instead of inline with the email body?



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what about text attachments
Authored by: nxg on Jul 28, '05 11:09:49AM

That annoys me as well, but I think the reason is that some mailers (Bad Mailers) send text attachments with a MIME Content-disposition of `inline', which OSX Mail correctly interprets as a request that this content be included inline rather than as an attachment.

This is a mixture of a little experimentation and some guesswork, so I might be wrong or otherwise adrift on this.



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: chrome on Jul 17, '03 08:56:57AM

Best hint all year. Well, except for mine! hah!



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Didn't work for me either, hmmm
Authored by: Kip on Jul 17, '03 11:37:07AM

Running 10.2.6 and Mail 1.2.5 (v552), I quit Mail.app, waited a bit and then did the defaults write method of updating the preferences. Checked by doing the defaults read on the same to be sure it took.

Fired up Mail.app again, looked through my unread mail to find a likely HTML candidate and it opened with the usual HTML stuff, no plain text.

Any ideas folks?



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Didn't work for me either, hmmm
Authored by: poultryfarm on Jul 17, '03 02:53:31PM

didn't work for me the first few times. then i tried rob's terminal method and it now works.

i still get some html messages that display as html (perhaps the ones that have nothing but images?) but others are displayed in all text.
very nice

try it again



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Didn't work for me either, hmmm
Authored by: jyncroft on Jul 17, '03 07:58:18PM

Some emails contain nothing *but* html formatted text. You should be able to type cmd-[ and cmd-] to cycle through the different parts, this is how I viewed the plain text versions before (some emails didn't have a plain text version).

HTH, Jennifer



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Use different capitalization of PreferPlainText
Authored by: mesch on Aug 31, '03 09:47:15AM
The parameter names apparently are case sensitive, at least some of the time: for me it first did not work either, but mail.app prefers plain text after setting PreferPlaintext and PreferPlainText to TRUE in addition to Preferplaintext as shown above. I didn't care to figure out which one made the deal, though. Mail.app 1.2.5 (v552), MacOS 10.2.6.

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Beware of capitalization of highlighted search results
Authored by: mesch on Aug 31, '03 10:07:36AM
I found this hint using a search for "plain", "text" and "mail", like so: http://www.macosxhints.com/article.php?story=20030711201917175&query=plain+text+mail. On the result page, the search words are highlighted regardless of their case. However, the highlighted words are capitalized as in the search query, not as they appear originally. Thus, on the search results page, the salient line of the hint reads defaults write com.apple.mail Preferplaintext -bool TRUE, which wouldn't work because of case sensitivity of parameter names.

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Somewhat related - text emails
Authored by: boblyons on Jul 17, '03 12:17:40PM

I had hoped this hint would fix my own pet peeve, but it did not, as far as I can tell. What I would *really* like is for the Mail.app to *properly* quote the message to which I'm replying. During editing of a reply, Mail places a highlight bar in the left margin next to quoted text. What it actually sends, however, doesn't differentiate at all between quoted lines and new lines ('>' is the most commonly accepted tag for quoted lines). It makes my reply very difficult to read.

Suggestions, anyone? Or am I missing something simple?



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Somewhat related - text emails
Authored by: j-beda on Jul 17, '03 08:46:59PM

I think that this is a "format=flowed" standard way of quoting email. Eudora does this too and I don't like it. In Eudora there is some way of setting the default to be the "old fasioned" way with ">", but I don't reacall how. In Eudora what I do is usually select the offending text and make Eudora line-wrap it, which results in the ">" behaviour I want. I have a Eudora button for this (and one for "unwrap" too - very useful.

In any case, I don't know how to make Mail.app do this.



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: starwxrwx on Jan 28, '04 09:27:49AM

Excellent!

Somehow I had this enabled by default in mail under 10.2 but when I upgraded to panther it all went horribly wrong... i only stumbled on this post by searching "plain text alternative" which i eventually found in the view menu... why this isn't a preference in the actual preferences pane is just rude...

guess i better start looking more closely in those library files...



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: jedik on Aug 18, '05 11:48:23PM

Still works in Tiger. Nice... :)

---
:: Jedi Knight ::
-- Mac Rules! --



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: pheon2 on Sep 16, '05 09:46:44AM

This no longer seems to work in 10.4.2 and Mail 2.0.3.

Can anyone tell me how to prevent that horrid html from leaking through?



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: hsluiman on Nov 15, '05 02:50:30AM

Still works for me (OS X 10.4.3, Mail 2.0.5) but I have the opposite question: what if I want to revert to the original setting, i.e. to re-enable the display of html mail? I looked at the pref file but wasn't sure where to make the necessary changes. Actually I deleted some bits that I thought forced mail to display plain text but that screwed up Mail, luckily I had made a backup before I started to mess around with it...



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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: pheon2 on Nov 16, '05 11:09:58AM

defaults write com.apple.mail PreferPlainText -bool FALSE

should work, but...

I still can't get it to work. OS X 10.4.3 and Mail 2.0.5. Mail still insists on displaying that horrible html stuff.

By the way

defaults read com.apple.mail

should display all the default options for mail. Could someone post the result for a setup where Mail does not display html?







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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: miker71 on Dec 16, '05 02:09:37AM
cewl, this still works on 10.4.3 and Mail.app 2.0.5 quit mail and-
defaults write com.apple.mail PreferPlainText -bool TRUE
this also prevents me having to cycle through formats or doubleclick an attachment when an outlook user creates "bdy.rtf" nice one!

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Force Mail to display plain text by default
Authored by: N B on Apr 19, '07 08:39:45PM

Can you narrow this command to only cause plain text for all junk mail - in the junk mail folder? Not all messages in Mail.

Is there a more specific place in com.apple.mail to place the code to do so?



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For those who were asking, "Why doesn't it work?"
Authored by: undeadmacuser on Jun 07, '07 01:13:33PM

For some reason this has just been dugg --- a bit late now, as this is from 2003.

But for those who were asking, "Why doesn't it work?" -- perhaps you have an HTML-only mail there not a _multipart_ message.

This preference prefers plaintext, where a choice exists; it doesn't convert HTML to plaintext.



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