Outlook’s Message Format Settings In The Registry

Outlook (versions 2000/2002/2003) stores the settings that you see under Tools|Options|Mail Format|Message Format section in the follow registry key:


Here are the possible values, in decimal format:

HTML = 131072
HTML & Word To Edit = 131073
Rich Text = 196610
Rich Text & Word To Edit = 196609
Plain Text = 65536
Plain Text & Word To Edit = 65537

UseWordMail = 1 (to read Rich Text Email; key does not exist if never set, 0 if off)

Knowing where and what these settings are could be valuable if you have an application that needs to detect or modify them.  Just use your favourite registry API calls or wrapper classes for read/write access.

Due to data loss with OfficeZealot’s blog server, all comments posted between April 28 and June 8 , 2005 to any of my blog entries were inadvertently deleted.  The end of this blog entry contains the text of the comments applicable to this posting that I was able to recover.


Wed 4/27/2005 8:40 AM Barb

How can I make sure I receive mail sent in HTML and copied to myself from the incoming plain text to HTML?

Wed 4/27/2005 8:43 AM Barb

Oooops, I forgot to say I am using Outlook 2002 SP3

Wed 4/27/2005 10:15 AM Barb

No, what I am saying is I don’t understand when I send an email HTML (to myself) it arrives in palin text. I tried to forward an email with GIFS inserted and the email arrived with GIFS as attachments. Whenever other pople send me HTML it looks just fine with the pics inserted/embedded?

Wed 4/27/2005 11:03 AM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Barb: I can’t recall what the settings are in Outlook 2002, but in 2003 you can configure the format of outgoing e-mails – see Tools -> Options -> Mail Format -> Internet Format. If your e-mail address is in your Contacts or Address Book, you also have an options to configure this setting for that particular address (works for other entries as well, so your sending options can be configured per-person).

Sun 5/1/2005 7:18 PM Stewart Dannock

“Unable to use Word 2002 as email editor with Outlook 2003

I have just upgraded a client’s exchange server to 2003, and have also upgraded clients to Outlook to 2003. Is there a way to “trick” Outlook into using Word 2002 as the email editor. At the moment the option is greyed out, and users can no longer send HTML messages. I assume this is deliberate by Microsoft to force you into upgrading all Office rather than just Outlook. Just hoping there’s a way around it.”

Sun 5/1/2005 11:00 PM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Stewart: Sorry, there’s no way to trick it. The versions have had to match for every version of Office that has been released, AFAIK.

Wed 5/25/2005 11:30 PM Keith

Is there a way to change the default editor without having to restart Outlook?

Thu 5/26/2005 11:31 AM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Keith: Not if you alter the registry key.

Thu 5/26/2005 3:06 PM Terry

“I have setting in Group Policy to control this. However, I want to prevent the use of Word as an email editor, but not limit the users ability to choose a format. Currently I see no way to separate the the two. You either allow everything or nothing (in this regard anyway).

Anyone know a way around that? It’s pretty aggravating.”

Thu 5/26/2005 3:55 PM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

“Terry: I believe you can set the default choices for message formats in the UI using the Custom Installation Wizard or the Custom Maintenance Wizard, and then enforce those settings with Group Policy (such as restrict to not use Word). I’ve never played with GPO and Outlook, but maybe this article will point you in the right direction:

Managing Outlook Settings for Office 2003 SP1:

Fri 5/27/2005 12:12 AM Keith

My issue is that I have a macro that creates an email in html, but if users have Word chosen as their editor it just causes me grief. So is there no way to force outlook to create a new email with the default html editor if Word is chosen as the default editor?

Fri 5/27/2005 9:17 AM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Keith: There’s no way that I know of. What errors are occuring if they use Word? Can you prevent them from choosing Word as their default editor by using Group Policies?

Fri 5/27/2005 1:43 PM Jason

Is there a way to modify ReplyStyle under HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftOffice11.0OutlookPreferences without restarting Outlook?

Sun 5/29/2005 11:27 PM Stefan Hansen

Is there an easy way to force all users to use the same font and size? Group policy? Reg keys?

Mon 5/30/2005 10:17 AM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Jason: Most, if not all manual changes to Outlook registry settings require restarting Outlook for them to take effect.

Mon 5/30/2005 10:24 AM Eric Legault http://blogs.officezealot.com/legault

Stefan: It looks like there are no Group Policy options, but you can change some font properties with the Custom Installation Wizard or the Custom Maintenance Wizard.

Mon 6/6/2005 11:48 PM  Andrew Verk

Quick editting of messages

I always edit received messages to delete unwanted portions of the emails, and to convert just to text as necessary, before I save them in my folders, thus reducing space.

I notice that Outlook allows for immediate editing of emails that come in rich text format. For other formats (plain text, html) I first need to select Edit->Edit message before I can edit anything.

Can some registry or other settings be changed so that I can always immediately edit messages?

Thanks for your help!


Eric Legault

Full-stack product builder & consultant for Microsoft 365 & Graph. Microsoft MVP 2003 - 2019. Outlook add-in guru. Rocker. Video/audio engineer. Collects Thors.

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