Sending plain text messages

I see under Settings->Mail->Compose there’s an option to send new mail as Plain Text.

I tried to set this to Plain Text and sent myself a simple test


I was expecting the compose to be in a fixed-width font such as Courier New and the ^ pointing to the second 0 like above. It definitely wasn’t like that in the compose window, it used a proportional font. It was not displayed like that when I received it either. However, I confirmed by looking in the source of the message that it was indeed sent as text/plain in the body rather than in mime.

Hmm. Is there some option to use a fixed-width font for sending and reading plain-text messages? If I may, a suggestion or feature request here please. In the settings, let the user choose the display font plain text emails as well as the default font for html emails. Recommend by default it be set to Courier or some fixed-width font.

I also noticed also that I can set the message to Plain Text by clicking the More icon in the compose window and choosing Format->Plain Text, but it does not set some check-box here telling me which mode I’m in. I think this is missing, seems like a bug in my opinion.

miércoles 20 marzo 2024 :: 0907hrs (UTC +0100)

I do not know what you selected, however, you will need to make changes in the three fields shown (sorry in Spanish but you can identify)

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Hablo español, luego portugués, inglés, francés y alemán
con conocimiento de varios otros idiomas.

Plain text doesn’t use a font. It has no formatting at all. It displays in whatever font the recipient’s email app uses to display plain text.

If you want a fixed width font, don’t use plain text. Rather use HTML and specify a fixed width font when composing the message.

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Firstly, yes, I completely agree and understand “Plain text” has no font or formatting. And, it’s not possible to know what font (fixed-width or otherwise) someone will be reading an email in when they receive your email either. So my question / request isn’t about this.

What I am asking for is for display purposes only in the eM Client UI to be able to be able to compose plain text messages using a fixed-width font.

Why, you might ask? Because 1) it makes it really obvious you are composing a plain-text message when you start typing and it’s all in Courier 2) if you know what you are doing, if you know who you are sending to and you actually want to line stuff up vertically for them in a fixed width font locally and you know they don’t want HTML, it means you don’t have to do something like compose your message in Notepad and copypaste it into eM Client. 3) This is actually more common than you might think. Happens to me weekly. Many mailing lists frown upon sending HTML mail (but tollerate it), some smaller lists I am on ban it completely and I end up having to compose in Mutt on my server which isn’t terribly convenient.

In thinking this through, I hope I’m proposing a very small feature here, just the ability to set the default display font for plain text messages separately from the default font used to compose HTML messages. Or even a check box in settings: “Use fixed width font for composing plain text messages” would also work.

Secondly, I noticed by experimentation that changing the message to “Plain text” in the drop down menu on the right does seem to set the message to plain text but…

  1. If you put the message into plain text mode this way, shouldn’t there be something like a check-mark next to which “mode” you are in?


  1. If I choose “Plain text” here, the menu at the top of the compose window continues to allow me to format things like bold, italics, lists etc.

It seems like it would make more sense if there was a check-mark next to “HTML” and if you switched the message to “Plain text”, that the check mark would move next to that, and then dim out the formatting (and disable the equivalent keyboard shortcuts too) to show that this message is being composed in Plain Text mode?

And further to my first comment, then as I type, it’s in a fixed-width font (if I chose that in settings) which then makes it really obvious this is a plain text message vs HTML.

If I recall correctly, Thunderbird behaved something like this but it’s been a very long time since I’ve used it.

Or have I completely misunderstood what “Plain text” vs “HTML” means in that menu in Em?

The option of which font to use for displaying plain text messages, or HTML formatted messages that don’t specify a font, is here:

HTML messages that have fonts specified will not use that setting.

But, if I understand correctly, doesn’t that option set the default font for HTML messages as well? That’s not at all what I’m asking about.

Hey sorry if I’m sounding unreasonable, I’m just trying to suggest something to make eM better (IMHO!)

I tried what you said, set that to Courier New, but it doesn’t do what I am talking about. I’m not sure what it does do. Maybe it’s the display font for received messages in plain text.

I’m referring to composing messages. See what I’m talking about?

I just got a system message from this forum, it was formatted in Courier New except for some bits which were in Verdana:


I now more fully understand what setting “Preferred Style” does. It sets the font to use when no other font is specified in HTML in the reading panel of received messages. Interesting. This is not what I was posting about in my original post.

With regards to reading messages, I personally would expect to see, or would like the option to see Plain Text messages (as in not HTML), displayed in a fixed-width font, but HTML messages, the default font to be whatever the system default is, usually a proportional font.

It’s similar to composing messages. If a message was in Plain text, I’d like to be able read it and write it in a fixed-width font.

If the message was in HTML, I’d expect it default to a proportional font, if not font is specified. This behavior mimicks a web browser.

There are two ways to display text in messages you receive.

  1. If the sender specified a font, we respect that and use that font.

  2. If the sender hasn’t specified a font, we use the option you selected in Menu > Settings > Mail > Read > Preferred Style.

Hi Gary

  1. implies HTML, agreed, in plain text sender can’t specify a font as we have said. 2. that’s fine for HTML mail, but I am asking about plain text messages separately from HTML.

I feel you’ve missed my points. I’m kind of feeling you’re not understanding what I’m asking about. Anyone else reading this thread, am I the only one who wants what I’ve detailed?

When you receive a message, either you view it as HTML or plaintext.

For plain text, as there is no font specified, we use what you have chosen in Menu > Settings > Mail > Read > Preferred Style.

For HTML, either the sender has specified a font in which case we use that, or they haven’t specified a font in which case we use what you have chosen in Menu > Settings > Mail > Read > Preferred Style.

But your question is about sending plain text messages. There is no font specified for plain text, so you can’t specify a fixed width font. For that you need to send as HTML and specify a font.

For receiving email plain text emails, would it be possible to have a setting “Display plain text emails in a fixed width font”? Separate from the “Menu > Settings > Mail > Read > Preferred Style” which would apply to HTML messages.

There is no AI to decide if unformatted text should be displayed differently to what you have specified just because some other text in the same message is formatted.

Either the text is formatted or it isn’t. If it is, we display the font the sender specified. If it isn’t, we display the font you specified.

I am not imagining any AI needed at all! It seems very clear to me so I guess I am not making myself clear, for that I appoligize.

For the moment, this below refers only to received messages. Here is my suggestion:

Add an additional setting below Preferred Style with a check box “Display plain-text emails in a fixed-width font”.

Here is some pseudocode for displaying a message:

If the message is text/plain, then
    if "Display plain-text emails in a fixed-width font" is checked, then
        Use a fixed width font
        Use the Preferred Style font
else (message is HTML)
    if the text in the HTML has no font specifiation, then
        use the Preferred Style font
        use the font specified in the HTML

All clear? No AI needed!

You can choose which font to use to display unformatted text. That is the setting in Menu > Settings > Mail > Read > Preferred Style.

So if text is unformatted, use preferred style, else use HTML specified font.

ugh, I guess I can’t make myself clear here.

I have created a feature request in Sleekplan for this now:

If you also like this feature, please upvote it!