Outlook is awesome! We here at Siteimprove use it all day, every day! But those beautiful and engaging emails also need to be accessible.

There are some common issues that make it difficult—even impossible—for many of the 1 in 4 American adults with disabilities to read Outlook emails.

Siteimprove Academy inside a gift box with text: Get FREE access to the new Accessibility for Microsoft Office course track. Get Started.

One valuable tip is:

Do. Not. Use. Rich. Text.

Use Plain text or HTML instead.

Plain Text limits formatting, but it is consistent on every device.

However, HTML allows for formatting and supports headings, alt text images, links, and lists—so that’s what we recommend.

How to Set HTML as Your Outlook Default

  1. Select the File tab
  2. Click Options
  3. Select Mail
  4. Under Compose messages in this format, select HTML

Screenshot of Outlook Options dialog box with the Compose messages in this format dropdown expanded and HTML selected.

How to Make an Individual HTML Outlook Email Message

To change an individual message to HTML format…

  1. In the new email that you’re writing, click Format Text
  2. Select HTMLScreenshot of Outlook ribbon with the Format Text tab and Format section highlighted
    Screenshot of Outlook ribbon with the Format Text tab and Format section highlighted

Learn more about email formatting and other ways to make your Microsoft Office files accessible with the new Accessibility for Microsoft Office courses from Siteimprove Academy!

Get Started

Siteimprove customers already have access to this premium course track via the Siteimprove Intelligence Platform. No need to sign up for a new account.