How to prevent Outlook from adding line breaks to sent plain text messages

When you send a plain text message, by default, Outlook will wrap text and insert line breaks at 76 characters. This might break your formatted paragraphs and URL links.

There is a solution which requires registry changes, however there also an option that fixes it without touching the registry. Here are the steps:

  1. Click on the File tab and select Options.
  2. Click on “Advanced” in the left column of the Options window.
  3. Scroll down to the “International Options” section.
  4. Change “Preferred encoding for outgoing messages” to “Unicode (UTF-8)”.
  5. Click “OK” at the bottom of the Options window.
  6. Restart Outlook

That should do it.

Note: This only works for Outlook 2010 or newer. For older versions of Outlook (2007 and 2003), you have to use the registry tweak. Google outlook “WrapLines”.

This solution was discussed in this thread.


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11 Replies to “How to prevent Outlook from adding line breaks to sent plain text messages”

      1. This is really starting to drive me nuts. Yes I followed the above instructions exactly and outlook has been restarted / computer rebooted several times. The post doesn’t indicate whether the “Automatically select encoding for outgoing messages” checkbox should be checked. I have tried it checked/unchecked.

        I’m curious if I’m seeing a different issue for two reasons: 1) The line breaks are inserted into saved drafts (they’re fine when I save them, but if I close and re-open outlook, it has inserted the line breaks into the drafts.) Also the post says it breaks the lines at 76 chars. Outlook seems to break them at 79 or 80 chars. I have double checked the message format options and “Automatically wrap text at character” is set to 132 but is greyed out.

  1. I have the same problem as Jason. Doesn’t work for me. So that it works for everyone else other than Jason is not a true statement.

    1. Hi Tommy, please note that this only works with Outlook 2010 or newer, not older versions. If you are using one of these versions and still cannot get it to work, you might want to post a follow up question in this thread.

  2. This improved the wrapping, but didn’t eliminate it for me in plain-text. I had to switch to Rich-Text to completely eliminate it.

  3. Didn’t work for me either. Using Outlook 2013. Followed instructions explicitly:

    – Went to File > Options > Advanced > International options
    – Changed “Preferred encoding for outgoing messages” to “Unicode (UTF-8)”.
    – Clicked OK.
    – Did NOT make any other changes (e.g., deselect “Automatically select encoding…”)
    – Closed Outlook & waited a little while.
    – Reopened Outlook.
    – Sent test message to myself.
    – Found extra line breaks.

    Maybe it has something to do with the “Normal” or another template?

      1. Thanks Jim for the mention on digitally signed email. That was my problem. Without the digital signature, no problem. With digital signature, line breaks added. It’d still be nice to figure out a way NOT to add line breaks even with a digital signature.

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