Quoting replies in Outlook
March 11, 2008 3:22 PM   Subscribe

How do I make Outlook 2003 not be such a jerk when I'm trying to quote emails in replies? (that blue bar on the left... grr)

Has anyone figured out how to manipulate that blue bar on the left of the quoted messages? I'd like to reply inline and put gaps in the bar where my reply is. But I can't find out how to do anything to it at all; Reveal Formatting doesn't show anything, I can't see or change it via borders & shading, format characters, paragraphs, sections, tabs, whatever.

I can make it go away entirely by turning off "prefix original message with > " but then the text version of my reply has no prefix. I want my reply to be reasonable in both plain text and HTML.

If I tell it not to use word as an editor I can sometimes put gaps in that bar with "decrease indent" but that is not very reliable, and generally I like word as an editor.
posted by aubilenon to Computers & Internet (7 answers total)
The easiest way for me to do it when I used to care about that was to go to plain text formatting instead of rich text. The bar only shows up in rich text, and in plain text you'll just have to set it up so that it prefixes the quoted lines with a ">" or whatever in the reply.

It's all under the Tools/options pull-down.
posted by LionIndex at 4:22 PM on March 11, 2008

I don't know how to make it work with HTML; sorry about that.
posted by LionIndex at 4:23 PM on March 11, 2008

If you go into the Tools->Options and root around in the Mail Format tab, there is an option to use ">" when replying to messages.
posted by mkb at 6:05 PM on March 11, 2008

Response by poster: mkb: Yeah, that doesn't affect the HTML version it seems.
posted by aubilenon at 6:15 PM on March 11, 2008

I would argue that plain text looks fine in a html mail client, and thus turning on plain text for everything is the surest way to make everyone happy.
posted by oats at 8:44 PM on March 11, 2008

Unfortunately I've found that switching to plain text doesn't help much, as Outlook doesn't support any quoting or unquoting features in plain text mode, either. You're on your own no matter what the mode.

Aubilenon, if you do find anything, I hope you'll report back about it here.

I've been looking for over a year for a script or add-on to handle quoting problems and haven't found anything in the morass of dubious shareware. If you can come up with a solution, you're a hero!
posted by bcwinters at 12:58 PM on March 12, 2008

Outlook-QuoteFix is your solution. It automatically reformats (plain-text) replies to a more sensible look and is freeware to boot. Works great in Outlook 2000/2003. It sits quietly in the tray and hooks into Outlook's reply function so no user interaction is required other than changing the reply format from HTML to plain-text.
posted by llin at 6:47 AM on March 13, 2008

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