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What is the difference between HTML and plain text e-mails?

Question by SillyGirl | 02/09/2012 at 21:53

Sometimes, when sending an e-mail, my mail program asks me, whether I would like to send the email as HTML or plain text mail.

I have already tried both possibilities, but I cannot see any difference. Therefore, can someone explain to me, why the program is asking me, where there is a difference and what kind of e-mail you recommend?


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The difference lies in the formatting of the e-mail. Plain text messages are sending only the pure text without any formatting of color, font, size, pictures and whatever. These formats are only possible in an HTML e-mail.

As in plain text mail messages, only the text is sent, the program of the recipient determines, in which way the e-mail is displayed. Mostly, those e-mails will then be displayed in a typewriter font like Courier. In HTML e-mails, you can decide for yourself what font etc should be used.

What kind of email should I prefer?

But what kind of e-mail should you take, if you are not sure? Personally, I'm a friend of plain text e-mails, because their benefits are obvious: In very few cases, it's about how the font etc is formatted. In the other cases, you want to send only a content and the easiest way to do this, is with plain text. Because all of the formatting information in the HTML mail has also to be send and therefore cause much more space than the actual text.

Of course, if you should be interested in designing the formatting (colors, images, contrasting headers), you have to send an HTML email.
05/09/2012 at 05:44

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Another addition: Some mail clients cannot receive HTML e-mails at all and some users have their e-mail programs set, so that no HTML mails can be received. So, alone for that reason, I suggest plain text messages, consisting of only the pure text.

HTML is the language, in which also websites are designed and described. Therefore, in HTML mails, you can implement all of the things, you can also see on Internet pages. And therefore also dangerous JavaScript code or whatever else. For this reason, many people - especially professionals - have deactivated receiving HTML mails.
11/09/2012 at 03:52

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