Outlook 2010 - Reading HTML and Text


K

Ken Blake, MVP

I have Outlook 2010 set up to read all messages in plain text, and
that's the way I want to see the vast majority of the mail I get. But
with an occasional sender who I trust, I switch to html when a message
arrives. What I would love to be able do is maintain a list of e-mail
addresses that would automatically appear in html rather than plain
text.

As far as I know, Outlook has no way to do this. I've looked for a
third-party addin that does, but I haven't found anything. Anybody
know of such an add-in?

Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
 
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C

Char Jackson

I have Outlook 2010 set up to read all messages in plain text, and
that's the way I want to see the vast majority of the mail I get. But
with an occasional sender who I trust, I switch to html when a message
arrives. What I would love to be able do is maintain a list of e-mail
addresses that would automatically appear in html rather than plain
text.

As far as I know, Outlook has no way to do this. I've looked for a
third-party addin that does, but I haven't found anything. Anybody
know of such an add-in?

I don't have a ready-made solution, but one of the Rules options is to
run a script when certain email arrives. It seems conceivable that the
script could display the email in HTML format, although I don't know
the syntax, off hand. If you go down this road, I hope you'll share
your experience and results.
 
K

Ken Blake, MVP

I don't have a ready-made solution, but one of the Rules options is to
run a script when certain email arrives. It seems conceivable that the
script could display the email in HTML format, although I don't know
the syntax, off hand.


Thanks. Can you point me to a web site that describes the syntax and
talks about how to do this? My guess is that I won't do it, but I'd
like to take a look at it and see.

If you go down this road, I hope you'll share
your experience and results.


If I do, sure. But almost certainly I won't have time to even look at
this before Some time in September.

Ken Blake, Microsoft MVP
 
C

Char Jackson

Thanks. Can you point me to a web site that describes the syntax and
talks about how to do this? My guess is that I won't do it, but I'd
like to take a look at it and see.

Here's one: <http://www.outlookcode.com/article.aspx?id=62>

I simply copied/pasted their example, which changes the target to
plain text. Next, I made a small change (changed olFormatPlain to
olFormatHTML) and it changed the target back to HTML. I only did a bit
of testing, but it seemed to work as expected. I didn't notice any
side effects.

Method One (from the link above):

Sub ConvertToPlain(MyMail As MailItem)
Dim strID As String
Dim objMail As Outlook.MailItem

strID = MyMail.EntryID
Set objMail = Application.Session.GetItemFromID(strID)
objMail.BodyFormat = olFormatPlain
objMail.Save

Set objMail = Nothing
End Sub


As you can see, the above is not a script, but rather a VBA module.
(The Outlook rules wizard mistakenly refers to scripts.) To make it
available to the rules wizard, click on the Developer heading in
OL2010, then click on Visual Basic. In the upper left window, expand
Project1, then expand Microsoft Outlook Objects. Double click on
ThisOutlookSession to open the composition window. Paste the code into
the window and hit the disk icon to save it. Close the VBA editor, go
back to the OL rules wizard. Your 'script' (module) should now be
available and ready to use.

Here's the same script, but this version converts the target to HTML:

Sub ConvertToHTML(MyMail As MailItem)
Dim strID As String
Dim objMail As Outlook.MailItem

strID = MyMail.EntryID
Set objMail = Application.Session.GetItemFromID(strID)
objMail.BodyFormat = olFormatHTML
objMail.Save

Set objMail = Nothing
End Sub

If I do, sure. But almost certainly I won't have time to even look at
this before Some time in September.

I'll look for feedback in September, I guess. ;-)
 
V

VanguardLH

Ken Blake said:
I have Outlook 2010 set up to read all messages in plain text, and
that's the way I want to see the vast majority of the mail I get. But
with an occasional sender who I trust, I switch to html when a message
arrives. What I would love to be able do is maintain a list of e-mail
addresses that would automatically appear in html rather than plain
text.

As far as I know, Outlook has no way to do this. I've looked for a
third-party addin that does, but I haven't found anything. Anybody
know of such an add-in?

You could try the following:

- Leave Outlook configured to display HTML-formatted e-mails. That is,
"Read all standard mail as plain text" is disabled.
- Configure Outlook to render HTML-formatted e-mails under the
Restricted Sites security zone. This is the default.
- Configure Outlook to block linked content, like <IMG> tags to retrieve
images from an off-site file server (which can be used for web bugs).
Besides blocking linked content in general, I would disable the
options to allow linked content from trusted senders (safe senders) as
your friends and bank may also try to use web bugs. It's none of
their business when and how often you read the e-mails they send you.
- Turn off the preview pane (aka reading pane) for the Inbox. (Doing
the same for Junk and Deleted Folders, as well, to eliminate
accidentally rendering those e-mails when selected).
- Turn on the AutoPreview mode for the Inbox. (Might want to do the
same for the Junk folder.) This shows the first couple of lines from
an e-mail but as plain text.
- Install the Pocketknife Peek add-in. When you want to see the full
text of an e-mail (more than what the AutoPreview shows), click on the
Peek toolbar button. The default for Peek is to show the body of the
e-mail as plain text. Then you can read the full e-mail whether you
trust the sender or not.
- For those senders that you trust that have sent you an HTML-formatted
e-mail, double-click on the e-mail to open in its own window. Since
you configured Outlook to NOT display all e-mail as plain text, you
will see the HTML format in the windows opened to view the e-mail.

You should already have Outlook configured to block externally linked
content (e.g., images from some server, like web bugs) and to render
HTML-formatted e-mails under the Restricted Sites security zone (so
scripts won't run). Don't try to use Outlook as a web browser. Even if
you add a folder and change its Home Page property to a URL to display a
web site, Outlook isn't a full-blown web browser so some sites won't
display properly within Outlook.

With the above, you see a short auto-preview of each e-mail in plain
text. The preview/reading pane is not displayed that would render HTML
formatted e-mails. To read more of an untrusted e-mail, use the Peek
toolbar button to show the full e-mail body (default is to show the
Plain Text tab in Peek). If you decide to view an HTML-formatted e-mail
with its rendered version (but still limited by Outlook due to block of
external linked images and rendered under the Restricted Sites security
zone), double-click on an e-mail to open in its own window. Without the
"read all mail as plain text" option disabled, you'll see the limited
HTML rendering in the new window. If you really are sure about an
e-mail being safe, and when displaying it in its own window, you could
use the "View -> View in Internet zone" menu to allow all the HTML code
to get rendered, including scripts (that menu is in OL2003 so it may
have different toolbar/menu navigation in that damned ribbon bar).

With AutoPreview, you don't use the reading pane anymore (which would
render the HTML content). You get to see a few lines of each e-mail in
the header pane. With Peek, you can look at the full content of an
e-mail but as plain text. With the separate e-mail view (double-click
to open in separate window), you can render the HTML formatted e-mail.
In that window with the rendered HTML, you can even go further and view
the message under the Internet zone which run scripts and other
restrictions (because the e-mail is no longer rendered under the
Restricted Sites security zone).

While the above Outlook configuration eliminates security concerns
regarding the reading of HTML by letting you decide just when you will
permit HTML rendering (which is still throttled when rendered by
Outlook), there is still one nagging problem with Outlook's security:
replying to an HTML-formatted e-mail opens any HTML vulnerabilities.
Maybe this has been addressed in later versions of Outlook but as up to
the 2003 version you have to render the HTML-formatted e-mail in order
to open it before you can reply to it. You can configure Outlook to
warn you about this but you will have to permit the HTML rendering if
you want to reply. This is where the Peek add-on comes to the rescue
again. Besides letting you view the entire message as plain text, it
will let you reply to the e-mail in plain text. It doesn't strip out
all the HTML tags so you'll see them in your reply but Outlook doesn't
have to render the HTML-formatted e-mail before you can add your reply
to it. Of course, replying in plain text to an HTML-formatted e-mail
ends up with a rather messy looking reply with all the plain text for
the HTML tags so you might want to trim it out before sending.

Because the setting for preview/reading pane and AutoPreview is a
per-folder attribute, you'll have to visit each folder where you don't
want the reading pane to show (to avoid HTML rendering), like the Inbox,
Junk, Deleted Items, user-created folders to hold e-mails, and disable
the reading pane and enable the AutoPreview mode on each folder.

Pocketknife Peek
http://www.xintercept.com/peek/pkpeek.htm
 
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