An Outlook plain text message is opened if you perform either of the following:

  • Right-click a file, click Send To, and then click Mail Recipient
  • In Internet Explorer, point to Send on the File menu and then click Link by E-mail.

This issue can occur when you try to send mail as described in the symptoms. The methods described use the simple Messaging Application Programming Interface (MAPI) function MAPISendMail(), which does not use the Outlook default message format. This function always creates a plain text formatted message.

To change the Sendto function to use the Outlook default message format, you need to create a shortcut in the Send To folder that calls an Outlook formatted message window:

Step 1: In Windows 8.1 or higher version open the send to folder by WIN+R and paste this location %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo.

         Note: If you are using Windows XP, or later, the \SendTo folder is located in the following path: %userprofile%\SendTo.

  • Right-click the background of the Contents pane (the large pane on the right), point to New on the shortcut menu, and then click Shortcut.
  • Type the path to the Outlook.exe file, or click Browse and to browse to the Outlook.exe file.
  • Type a space followed by /c ipm.note following the last character on the command line, for example:
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Outlook.exe" /c ipm.note
    Note The /c switch is outside of the command line quotation marks.
  • Click Next.
  • Type Mail Recipient Using Outlook in the Select a name for the shortcut box, and then click Finish.

The workaound given in this article does not work with Microsoft Outlook 2010 and Microsoft Outlook 2013. If you try to use the /c command line option, you see the following error:

Cannot start Microsoft Outlook. The command line argument is not valid. Verify the switch you are using.

However, you can create a shortcut that sends a file as an attachment. Additionally, the Outlook default message format is used. To create a shortcut that sends files as attachments, replace the path in step 4 of the Workaround section with the following string:

"c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\Outlook.exe" /a

Where XX is 14 for Outlook 2010 and 15 for Outlook 2013.

On a 32-bit operating system, the path resembles the following string:
"c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\OfficeXX\Outlook.exe" /a

For an Office 2013 Click-to-Run installation, the Outlook.exe file is located in the following folder:
c:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 15\root\office15

To test to see if the Sendto function uses the Outlook default message format, right-click a file on the Windows desktop, point to Send To on the shortcut menu, and then click Mail Recipient Using Outlook. An Outlook email form should open that contains only the file as an attachment.

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