Outlook 2016 not displaying html content in emails properly

UPDATE: Unfortunately this issue has returned after using Outlook for a while, however closing and reopening Outlook seems to fix it again (temporarily). Time for Microsoft to release an update!

Having upgraded to Office 2016 Professional earlier this month I have come across a frustrating issue within Outlook – an email with html content is not displayed correctly, the alignment is all off and a horizontal scroll bar is displayed so you have to scroll right to see any content. Whilst displaying html content should not be difficult for an email application, many users with 2016 seem to be experiencing it (see here - http://bit.ly/1X0pk8X).

The particular problem seems to lie with the 64 bit version of Office and does not seem to have been reported on any 32 bit version causing some users to downgrade to 32 bit. This isn’t a great solution and so until Microsoft release a fix we found a quick way of resolving this issue:

  • Open Outlook
  • Click on File, followed by Options
  • Navigate to the Mail section and scroll down to Message Format
  • Untick “Reduce message size by removing format information not necessary to display the message”

This easy fix worked for us straight away however according to Microsoft forums some users suggest that after Outlook has been closed and reopened several times the problem comes back, although we have not experienced this yet!

Hopefully this quick easy fix will work for you and save the hassle downgrading to 32 bit or even reverting back to Office 2013.

Let’s hope Microsoft release a fix soon for those this doesn’t work for!


There's an Office patch/update that fixes this. Microsoft support finally advised it after their basic checks, which were a big waste of time. Simply click File > Account > Office Updates > Update Now. Strange thing is, any email in your Current Mailbox that you have already tried to read when this problem existed will still not display in HTML format. New email and anything you didn't read will be fine. Archived email is also fine (before/after the update).

After an automatic update to Outlook 2016, all my emails could only be read in text. I tried everything on mail and trust centre option settings discussed above but no luck. Then by chance I activated Office Updates to check if there could be further patches by Microsoft to cure the problem and hey presto, there were indeed updates and after these were downloaded and installed, I could read all emails in HTML again.

Ran into this issue last week (2019!). I couldn't solve it but Outlook opened yesterday displaying evrything right. It seems that closing and opening Outlook more than a dozen times restored the normal behaviour. Strange!

Looks like there is a known bug affecting older PST files in the 97-2002 file format. From the article on the latest office updates: All emails are in plain text format for POP3 accounts Last Updated: June 28, 2019 ISSUE After updating to Version 1906 Build 11727.20210 you find that emails in your POP3 accounts are now shown as Plain Text rather than HTML as expected. This problem also occurs for new emails that you send even if you select HTML formatting. The issue only occurs if the PST File Format is “Outlook Data File (97-2002)”. STATUS: FIXED This issue has been fixed in Version 1906 Build 16.0.11727.20230 released on 6/27/19. To install the updated build immediately click File, Office Account, Update Options, Update Now. https://support.office.com/en-us/article/all-emails-are-in-plain-text-format-for-pop3-accounts-d0aeaab7-6996-4431-b37a-d3fc22dcdd6d

I just updated Windows 10 (with updates for other MS products switched on) and it didn't fix the problem for me

I can confirm MS has finally patched this on Outlook 2016 - however, it does not seem to retro-actively patch previous emails. Only new messages are correctly formatted within the pane. Apply and try: https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/confirmation.aspx?id=100103 &/or https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/3114861/ms16-029-description-of-the-security-update-for-outlook-2016-march-8-2 -Cheers!

I was having the same initial problem with viewing and printing emails. The fix for me was changing the View to Compact on the Outlook menu.

Problem Solved!! Outlook 2019 File | Options | Mail | Editor Options | Advanced | Display Email Content Uncheck Show Picture Placeholders | OK |OK Hope this helps all who is looking for a solution to their emails not displaying correctly


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