As you grab the message, the mystery unfolds: Outlook Express has added a few extra words to the message at the top, just before your text. I wrote "Hi Anne," for example, and what I read in the Sent Items folder is "Citrus PunchHi Anne." Where do these extra words come from?
The words inserted by Outlook Express are taken from the original message. Turns out the sender used stationery, and the stationery a plain HTML file describing the layout, fonts and other styling of the email template used the <title> HTML tag. The <title> tag is used on web sites (whose layout is also described in HTML) to tell the browser what, yes, title the page is to carry. Most browsers put this title in the window, for example, and use it to describe a page when you bookmark it.
In emails, the <title> tag serves no purpose. It is not displayed or used anywhere. The only chance for it to surface is Outlook Express' odd behavior of inserting it at the beginning of an email when it converts the rich HTML message to plain text. So,
- if you use a stationery that includes a <title> tag in a new message or
- if you reply to an email written using stationery that includes a <title> tag,
Outlook Express inserts this title at the top of the plain text part of the message. Fortunately, it's relatively easy to prevent Outlook Express from grabbing the title by removing it.
To solve the Outlook Express extra word mystery and prevent it from inserting random words at the beginning of your emails:
- Write your email or reply as you normally would.
- Open the HTML source editing tab.
- Look for "<TITLE>[...]</TITLE>" near the top of the source.
- Delete the complete text from "<TITLE>" to "<TITLE>".
- In the example cited above, I deleted "<TITLE id=ridTitle>Citrus Punch</TITLE>".
- Continue editing and sending your message.