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Sending Plain Text Email

JewishGen's mailing list server (Lyris) can only read and send email messages sent in "Plain Text" format.  Messages sent in other formats — MultiPart, Rich Text, MIME or HTML format — come out as unintelligible text or blank messages to many recipients, thus all JewishGen mailing lists require that messages be sent in "Plain Text" format only.

Here are instruction on how to set "Plain Text" format in several popular email programs:

Micosoft Outlook Outlook Express Netscape America Online (AOL)
Eudora MSN Mail Hotmail Chrome
AT&T Webmail GMail   others
  • Microsoft Outlook

    From the toolbar, on the "Tools" menu, select the "Options..." button, then select the "Mail Format" tab. Under "Send in this Format", select "Plain Text", and press the "OK" button.

  • Microsoft Outlook Express

    From the toolbar, on the "Tools" menu, select the "Options..." button, then select the "Send" tab. Under "Mail Sending Format", select "Plain text". Press the "OK" button.

  • In both Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express — To set Plain Text format for only selected addressees (e.g. the address of a JewishGen mailing list): In your e-mail address book, create an entry for a JewishGen Mailing List (such as "" for the JewishGen Discussion Group).  Click on your entry for the JewishGen Mailing List, then select "Properties" and then the "Name" tab.  At the lower left is a checkbox for "Send E-mail using plain text only".  Checking this box will ensure that any e-mail you send to this specific address will be in Plain Text format, even if your default format is HTML.

  • Netscape Mail 7.0, 7.1

    From the toolbar, select "Edit", then "Mail & Newsgroup Account Settings...".  In the main "Account Settings" screen, uncheck the box "Compose Messages in HTML format".  Press the "OK" button.

  • Netscape Mail 7.2

    From the toolbar, select "Edit", then "Mail & Newsgroup Account Settings...".  In the "Composition & Addressing" screen, uncheck the box "Compose messages in HTML format".  Press the "OK" button.

  • AOL 6.0, 7.0, and 8.0

    If you are using AOL 6.0, 7.0 or 8.0, then you need to log on to AOL and select either Netscape or Internet Explorer as your browser — Do not use AOL's web browser.  Launch the browser, and type "" in the URL field.  Sign on with your ScreenName and Password.  Click on "AOL Mail".  You will then be able to submit messages using AOL's "AOL Mail on the Web" service.

    The website "Unofficial AOL Email FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)" suggests some ways to use version 6.0 or 7.0 of AOL's software for sending plain text messages.

  • AOL 9.0

    The following instructions are for users of AOL 9.0 to send plain text messages to the JewishGen Digest and the SIG digests:

    1. With the mouse arrow somewhere in the body of the message, click the Right mouse button, revealing a context menu.
    2. Choose "Compose As Plain Text".
    3. Compose and address the email as desired.
  • AOL 9.5

    The following instructions are for users of AOL 9.5 to send plain text messages to the JewishGen Digest and the SIG digests:

    1. From the AOL Mail page: on the far right, next to "Search Web", click: "Options" (in small font).
    2. Click "Settings".
    3. On the far left, under "General", click: Compose.
    4. Un-click the check mark next to "Use Rich text-HTML editing".

    The words "Enable rich text editor" will appear at the top of the body of your message space.  It's possible that some AOL 9.5 and higher formats may be different.

  • Eudora

    On the menu bar, click on "Tools", then "Options".  Under "Category", scroll down to and click on "Styled Text".

    If you wish to send all of your messages in Plain Text format, you may click on "Send plain text only" and leave blank "Ask me each time."  Then click "OK" at the bottom.

    However, if you wish to send messages in HTML format to all but JewishGen mailing lists (and other selected recipients), then click on either "Send both plain and styled" or "Send styled text only" and click on "Ask me each time".  Click "OK" at the bottom.  This will give you final control of how a message is sent.

    Now, whenever you send an e-mail message, a window will appear that asks you "Do you want to send plain text, styled text or both?".  Then click on the appropriate selection.  For JewishGen mailing lists, only "Plain Text" format should be used.

  • MSN Mail

    It is not possible to send "Plain Text" messages using MSN Mail versions 7 and prior.  You must use an alternate e-mail program, such as Hotmail, Outlook, Outlook Express, Eudora or Netscape.

    In MSN 8:

    1. In your MSN mail Inbox, click on "E-mail settings" on the left side of the screen.
    2. Click on "Writing E-mail Settings" second on the list.
    3. Click on "Text Formatting", the 4th item.
    4. At the "How Do You Want To Format Your Messages" box, click on "Use Plain Text for Compatibility...", the second button.  In addition, choose the default encoding, "Western European ISO".
    5. Save changes at the bottom of the screen.

  • Hotmail

    In the Compose window of Hotmail, if you see a Toolbar immediately above the section where you type your message, then your message will be sent as a Rich-Text message in HTML format.  To revert to "Plain Text", look immediately above the left side of that toolbar for the "Tools" selection box.  Click on the arrow, and then click on "Rich Text Editor OFF."  A warning window will pop up asking if you want to do this — click OK.  The toolbar will disappear, and you will now be set up to send messages in Plain Text format.

  • Google Chrome

    When in Email, click on "Plain Text" and send your message.  A reminder: click back to "Rich Formatting" for the next email.

  • AT&T Webmail

    In the AT&T email website, when you're writing an email there's a link "Plain Text" to the right of the Subject field (no underline, but it is blue).  Click "Plain Text" to make switch to plain text format.  Next time you send an email, you'll want switch back and the link will be titled "Rich Text" to switch format to that.  Send "Plain Text" messages to JewishGen lists, otherwise you might prefer to send "Rich Text" format messages to others.

  • GMail

    In or, click "Compose" to start a new message.
    In the lower right, next to the trash can icon, it will say either “Plain text” or “Rich text”. 

    • If it says “Plain text”, just compose your message and send it.
    • If it says “Rich text”, then look at the box on the other side of the trash can with the little down arrow.  If you move your cursor over it, it will say "More options".  Click the box, and you'll see a list of options.  Click "Plain text mode".  Then compose your message.  It will be in plain text.

Other email programs

For other email programs, see the article "Configuring Mail Clients to Send Plain ASCII Text" at

If all else fails, please contact your email program's vendor, and ask them how to set their email program to use Plain Text (and then let us know their solution, so that it can be added to this page).

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Last updated Jan 13 2016   WSB
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