Formatting messages in Outlook on the web for business

You can use the text formatting tools in Outlook on the web for business to add emphasis to your messages. For example, you can make a word bold or italic, create a link to a webpage, or even insert a table.

In this article

Change formatting

Embed a link to a webpage

Copy content from a webpage

Add alternative text to an image

Insert a table

What else do I need to know?

What if I want to know more?

Change formatting

You can customize the formatting in any message that you’re writing.

  1. Highlight where you want to change the format.

    Message body in Outlook Web App with one word highlighted

  2. Select the options you want.

    Screenshot showing effect of applying text formatting to a word.

You can select the same options again to remove the formatting.

Embed a link to a webpage

Do you want to add a link to a webpage, but have it be part of the message, not a separate web address? Here’s how.

  1. Highlight the word you want to turn into a link.

    Screenshot showing highlight of word to be formatted.

  2. Select the Insert link icon Icon to insert a hyperlink .

    Screenshot showing where the insert hyperlink icon is.

  3. Enter the URL address that you want to use and then select OK.

    Add a link to a webpage without the full URL being visible

The word you selected earlier becomes a hyperlink that the reader can select to go directly to the webpage you want.

Screenshot showing an embedded hyperlink.

Copy content from a webpage

Sometimes, you want to share an excerpt from a webpage, but that doesn’t always work quite the way you want. Maybe you get more content than you want, maybe you get less. Outlook has paste tools to help.

  1. Select and copy the content you want to add to your message.

    Screenshot showing part of a web page selected to copy.

  2. Go to your message, or create a new message, and paste. You’ll see a paste control icon Paste control icon. in your message.

    Illustration of pasted HTML content with paste icon.

  3. If you don’t like the way the content looks in your message, select the Paste control icon Paste control icon. to see the paste options.

    Icon of paste options for copied HTML content.

    • Paste as-is Icon to paste HTML using the formatting form the source. keeps all of the original formatting and images.

    • Paste HTML Icon to paste HTML content using formatting defined by the destination. simplifies the selection slightly by removing font colors and sizes, but will keep the layout and images.

    • Paste text Icon to paste HTML content as plain text. removes all of the formatting and images and leave only the text.

Add alternative text to an image

You can add alternative text, sometimes called alt text, to a picture. Alt text is useful when reading on low speed connections and when using a screen reader.

Start by embedding a picture in your message.

  1. To add a picture to an email message, go to the top of the message window and select insert Insert > Picture.

  2. Browse to find the picture you want to insert.

  3. Select the picture you want to insert, and then select Open to embed it in your message.

Now add alt text to the picture.

  1. Select the picture, then select the Add alt text icon Icon to insert alt-text from the formatting toolbar.

    Formatting toolbar showing add alt-text icon.

  2. Enter the text you want to associate with the image, then select OK.

    Add alt-text window.

You won’t see the text on your screen, but you can check it by repeating the steps to add alt text. If the person who receives the message is using a screen reader, the screen reader reads the alt text when it reaches the image.

Insert a table

Tables can be a useful way to organize information. You can quickly add a table in Outlook.

  1. Place the cursor where you want to add a table.

    Screenshot showing where a table can be added.

  2. Select the Insert table icon Icon to insert a table in a message. , and then select the number of rows and columns that you want. You can select the square that matches what you want, or select Insert table.

    Screenshot showing the insert table tool.

  3. In Insert table, enter the number of columns and rows that you want, then select OK.

    Tool to enter number of rows and columns in a new table.

Once you’ve created your table, you can select any cell and enter the information you want. Use the arrow keys on your keyboard to move from cell to cell, or use your mouse to select the cell you want.

When you’re entering information in the table, you’ll see a mini-menu of tools that you can use with the table.

Table formatting tools in Outlook Web App

What else do I need to know?

Most of the time, you probably won’t be able to see all of the format options available. To see them, just select the chevron at the end of the formatting toolbar. If you’re not sure what some of the formatting icons will do, you can point to any of them to see a short description.

Message formatting toolbar showing extended options.

When you paste a web address, also called a URL, into a message, Outlook automatically adds a preview of the page. Select Remove preview at the bottom of the image to remove it.

Screen shot showing web page preview in Outlook Web App

Note:  Webpage preview is available only in Office 365.

What if I want to know more?

See Mail overview for more information about working with messages in Outlook.

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