Replying to emails with colored backgrounds

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Outlook reply with visible text to a colored background message

Messages with colored backgrounds might look OK to the sender but are a pain when you try to reply or forward. Most of these messages are marketing emails but some are from individuals.

For example, here’s a typical message that’s been forwarded to a friend.

Outlook email with color background image from Replying to emails with colored backgrounds at Office-Watch.com

No problem so far, but it did cause a problem for the recipient when he tried to reply.

Outlook email color background with hard to read text image from Replying to emails with colored backgrounds at Office-Watch.com

Outlook doesn’t do a good job figuring out an appropriate color for the reply text – in fact it makes a right mess of it. In this case a mid-blue is barely visible.

My friend’s response was to change the color of the reply text:

Outlook email with color background and easier to read text image from Replying to emails with colored backgrounds at Office-Watch.com

That’s a valid choice but alas it’s no help with the next reply since we’re back to almost invisible text again.

A more permanent solution is to change the background color back to white or ‘no color’. Do that from the Options | Page Color | No Color in Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.

Outlook email change color background to No Color image from Replying to emails with colored backgrounds at Office-Watch.com

Outlook 2003 and before: Format | Background | No Fill in the email editor.

As long as the original message is still readable (eg no white text) then ‘No Color’ works fine and Outlook default text selections are OK.

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