How to configure Exchange Server to automatically convert RTF messages to the HTML format



How to configure Exchange Server to send RTF messages in the HTML format.


If an email message is sent outside an organization in RTF (to be more precise, in TNEF – Transport Neutral Encapsulation Format), a disclaimer (created using CodeTwo Exchange Rules, for example) is added only to the MIME part that is a representation of the message in the plain text format. Usually, messages in TNEF consist of the “text/plain” MIME part type that contains the text of each message in a plain text format and of the “application/ms-tnef” part that contains the “winmail.dat” attachment, representing the message in the original RTF. If the recipient of a message sent in RTF uses Microsoft Outlook, he/she will see the message in its original RTF format without the disclaimer. However, if this person uses another e-mail client, he/she will see a representation of the message in the plain text format with the disclaimer added by the CodeTwo Exchange Rules program.

E-mails are rarely sent outside an organization in the RTF format. If a user writes an RTF message in Outlook and sends it to an external address, Outlook will convert it to HTML by default (although this option may be disabled) and a disclaimer will be added to such a message. In Outlook 2013 you can configure the default message conversion in Options > Mail, section Message format:

Fig. 1. RTF message conversion options in Outlook.
If, as an administrator, you want to make sure that messages are never sent outside via Exchange Server in the RTF format (i.e. you want to have them converted to HTML by the server), take the following steps:

In Exchange 2000/2003

  1. Run the Exchange System Manager program.
  2. In the left panel, go to Global Settings | Internet Message Formats | Standard.
  3. From the context menu choose Properties and go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Set the Exchange rich-text format option into Never use (Fig. 2.).181
    Fig. 2. Exchange server configuration preventing messages from being sent in the RTF format. RTF messages will be converted to HTML by the server.

In Exchange 2007/2010

  1. Run the Exchange Management Console.
  2. Open Organization Configuration and select Hub Transport.
  3. Open Remote Domains.
  4. Right-click on Default and select Properties:80_2
    Fig. 3. Navigate to Remote Domains in Exchange Management Console.
  5. In the opened window please select:
    • In Exchange 2007: the Format of original message sent as attachment to journal report tab
    • In Exchange 2010: the Message Format tab
  6. Find the Exchange rich-text format section, select Never use and hit Apply.80_4
    Fig. 4. Exchange Server 2010 configuration preventing messages from being sent in the RTF format. RTF messages will be converted to HTML by the server.

In Exchange 2013, Exchange 2016 and Exchange Online

  1. Open the Exchange Management Shell.
  2. To see you current settings, run the following command:
    Get-RemoteDomain | Where {$_.TNEFEnabled -ne $false}

    Fig. 5. Checking your current TNEF settings.

  3. For each Remote domain, run the following command:
    Set-RemoteDomain -Identity DomainName -TNEFEnabled $false

After configuring the Exchange server in this way, messages sent by users in RTF will be converted to HTML by the server.

See also article about different settings in Set-RemoteDomain

More information about disabling TNEF can be found in this article: TNEF conversion options

See also:

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