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Fix Messed Up Email Formatting

You can fix the formatting of hard to read messed up email by using the capabilities of a word processor.

However, your first approach to fixing messed up email text should be to try making the email message window wider. Sometimes the lines have not been cut at all, and all you need to do is make your window wider to let them extend to full length.

If you want to pre-format text so that it can be safely sent and forwarded over the Internet in a form that remains readable, you need to put it in Text Standard Format.

If you want to fix email text that has already been mangled, then you need to use a word processor to repair it by performing the steps listed below. You can record this sequence in a macro the first time you do it, and thereafter just invoke the macro. A predefined macro for Word 97 can be found here. Note that there are spaces in the strings specified below.

  • Copy the text you want to fix into a blank document. Select <ctrl>-h to bring up the Find and Replace window.
  • Remove any trailing blanks at the end of lines. Put "^p " in the Find field, and "^p" in the Replace field, and select Replace All as many times as necessary.
  • Remove any blanks at the beginning of lines. Put " ^p" in the Find field, and "^p" in the Replace Field, and select Replace All as many times as necessary.
  • Remove the ">" characters. Put "^p>" in the Find field, and "^p" in the Replace field, and select Replace All as many times as necessary.
  • Temporarily remove the blank lines between paragraphs. Put "^p^p" in the Find field, and enter a unique string like "~!@#$" in the Replace field. Select "Replace All" as many times as necessary.
  • Join the lines together. Put "^p" in the Find field, and just a space " " in the Replace field, and select Replace All once.
  • Put back the blank lines between paragraphs. Put "~!@#$" in the Find field, and "^p^p" in the Replace field, and select Replace All.
  • Close the Find and Replace window. The text should now be fixed and look as good as new.
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