Plain Text Thunderbird
July 29, 2004 3:42 PM   Subscribe

I'm trying out Thunderbird, which I like so far. But is there a way to really view emails as plain text? I've set View > Message Body As... > Plain Text, but that just eliminates HTML tags when I view emails. I want to be able to see the entire email content, ugly tags and all, as plain text.

My google-fu failed me. I know I can View Source, but I have to go out of my way to do that. And besides, is it really so strange these days to still think of that "source code" as being the email?
posted by tirade to Computers & Internet (11 answers total)
with all due respect... view source IS how.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 3:52 PM on July 29, 2004

I know this isn't the answer you're looking for. However, if you're a plaintext, full headers kinda person, you might be happier will a textmode mailreader, e.g. pine and mutt. They can be difficult to set up, and have a steep learning curve (especially mutt), but if you haven't tried them out before, you might find that they're your thing.
posted by Eamon at 5:20 PM on July 29, 2004

HTML isn't plain text (i.e. it is not type "text/plain" but type "text/HTML"). So to display it as "plain text," Thunderbird must somehow convert it to plain text. Most people would not consider tag soup to be a very good conversion. In fact, it is not a conversion at all.
posted by kindall at 5:29 PM on July 29, 2004

tirade: the keyboard shortcut for view source is ctrl-U (in Windows, at least). that's not too far out of the way.
posted by turbodog at 5:42 PM on July 29, 2004

Most messages that display HTML are multi-part. Though I haven't used Thunderbird, switching to "plain-text" should display the "text/plain" section of the message, not strip the HTML tags out of the "text/HTML" part of the message.

To actually view the tags should require viewing source. I agree with John.
posted by Jeff Howard at 5:43 PM on July 29, 2004

Use elm.
posted by gimonca at 5:50 PM on July 29, 2004

What kindall said. Seems like you're asking for "functionality" no one else would want.
posted by yerfatma at 6:34 PM on July 29, 2004

"Plain text" is not the same as "view source," which is what it sounds like you're after.

I don't have the answer, just maybe the right question.
posted by NortonDC at 8:43 PM on July 29, 2004

Ctrl-U will show you the source in Thunderbird, just as it will in Firefox.
posted by humuhumu at 5:46 AM on July 30, 2004

I use a pretty nice piece of freeware called Poptray to sometimes preview messages before running Thunderbird. It will show the whole source.
posted by sixdifferentways at 11:18 PM on July 30, 2004

You're all wrong, and moreover you didn't even try to answer the question.

tirade: There's a hidden preference for it. This page will tell you where to find the prefs file on your platform. Find the line in the prefs file (it's just a text file) that reads:

pref("mailnews.display.html_as", 0);

and change it to:

pref("mailnews.display.html_as", 2);

And don't listen to kindall and yerfatma. It's not at all unreasonable to want to see by default the exact data you've received.
posted by jjg at 1:57 AM on July 31, 2004

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