An email sent with Content-Type of 'multipart/alternative' (often) contains two copies of the email: one HTML, one plaintext.

Gmail displays the HTML version of the email by default, but how do I view the plaintext contents, just to make sure that it looks right?

I can view the raw text using the "view original" option, but that's not really what I want; there's a lot of escapes visible when doing this, which is not what users would see.

  • I have the opposite problem, Gmail sometimes showing the text/plain part , sometimes the text/html , but apparently randomly
    – am70
    Commented Nov 11, 2021 at 14:09

2 Answers 2


It looks like the "Message text garbled?" option in Sarah's answer was removed from Gmail in mid-February 2017.

In the Gmail product forums, user William25 posted this trickier but valid workaround.


1) From the "More" menu, select "Show original"

2) In the address bar, update the "view" parameter in the query string from "om" to "dom"

You can also create this bookmark bar shortcut in Chrome and click on it instead of step 2 as listed above: javascript:window.location%3Dwindow.location.href.replace("view%3Dom%26th","view%3Ddom%26th")%3B

  • 3
    If you're using the "new Gmail" design (as of June 2018), this no longer works. However, if you switch to "classic Gmail", it seems to work.
    – rinogo
    Commented Jun 11, 2018 at 18:59
  • 3
    @rinogo Classic Gmail is no longer an option either, so we basically have no solution to this right now.
    – benomatis
    Commented Oct 1, 2018 at 11:08
  • 1
    2019: confirmed this doesn't work for 'Load basic html'
    – Pacerier
    Commented May 26, 2019 at 15:15
  • Does this mean, that plain text emails are a thing of past, and we shouldn't even bother sending a plain/text alternative even for those people who "prefer" plain text emails? Commented Aug 28, 2021 at 5:11
  • 1
    Great question @ShubhamKushwah - providing a plain text alternative alongside an HTML version is still necessary as spam filters like to see it i.e. it improves sender reputation (see litmus.com/blog/…)
    – w5m
    Commented Jan 6, 2022 at 10:52

In 2019 you can go to the email menu tree dots button (top right) -> Show original

You should now see the text Original message on top.

Scroll down to Content-Type: text/plain; charset=UTF-8

The text should be below this.

This only works if the email has a text part.

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