How to Keep Text Formatting When Copying From Word to an Email

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Sometimes when you copy data from Word to an email, your message looks good on your end, but the recipient sees weird characters or plain text. Some email programs can't translate some of Word's formatting. There are some tricks you can use to help ensure that your email messages keep the format you want on the receiving end.

  • Start your email program. Choose "Tools" and "Options." Set the mail sending format to "HTML," instead of "Plain text."

  • Open the Word document you want to copy. Click "Format." Select "AutoFormat" and "Options." Click on the "AutoFormat" tab. In the "Replace" section, uncheck "Hyphens with Dash" and "Straight Quotes with Smart Quotes." Click "OK." This should eliminate some of the characters that don't copy properly to an email reader.

  • Create a table in Word if you want to arrange data into columns and rows. Choose "Table" and "Insert Table." Add columns and rows. Choose "Hide Gridlines" to remove the lines around the table. When you paste the table into the email, the formatting should stay the same.

  • Select "Edit" and "Select All" in Word. Hit the "CTRL" and "C" keys to copy. Create a new email message. Right click in the body of the message and select "Paste."

  • Send the message as a test to different email programs. For example, if you have an AOL account, a free account like Yahoo or Gmail and an account that you open in Outlook or Outlook Express, send the message to each of these. Review the email in each program. Some programs will not keep the formatting used in Word.

  • Save the Word document as a rich text format file if you find that your recipients see frequent Word formatting errors. Open your document and click "Save as." In the "Save as type" box, choose "Rich text format." A new file will be created, with an extension "rtf" instead of "doc." Cut and paste from the rich text document to your email message.

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