• Outlook emails with black background and text unreadable

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    I’m running Office 365 under Windows 11 Home version 22H2. A few days ago, many of  my incoming emails started appearing black-on-black–black background, black text. I didn’t change any of the settings in Outlook, and the appearance change is not consistent. Emails to my primary Exchange account are normal, but those from my GMail account viewed in Outlook have the black theme. Two days ago, the emails in the primary account were also rendered black. A restart fixed that issue.

    In the past, when an email had a color scheme that was too dark to read easily because of lack of contrast between background and text, I could select the text with my mouse and the text would appear in a contrasting color. That isn’t working now. Selected text appears as white blocks for each line, with no viewable characters. I’ve attached a screenshot of an affected email message with the text selected.

    A possibly related issue that started about the same time is that some common option/icons have become unclickable. I can select text with my mouse, but right-clicking to pull up the cut/copy/paste context menu shows those options, but none are clickable. If I go to the Start button and try to Restart (which sometimes fixes the problem temporarily), the Restart option is unclickable. I have to restart (shut down, actually) by pushing the hardware power button.

    I’ve checked to see that all Windows updates are current, and done a full system anti-virus scan with Norton 360. Can anyone offer some help?

    Viewing 10 reply threads
    • #2523483

      At File, Options, General, Personalize your copy of Microsoft Office, Office Theme does checking Never change the message background color do anything useful?

      Windows 11 Pro version 22H2 build 22621.2361 + Microsoft 365 + Edge

    • #2560893

      Having the same issue, were you able to resolve this?

    • #2567466

      Having the same issue, and it only happens with one single email out of my entire inbox.

    • #2572836

      Having same or similar issue with a clients email account.  Using outlook 365 webmail.  Randomly people will receive an email from him and it is black on black.  They can’t highlight the text to get the contrast view either.

      It is one person out of about 100 that will randomly get a call saying their email came through to recipient as black on black.  When checking this users’ sent folder it shows normal black text and white background so I know it was not sent with black background.  However on recipient’s computer, the HTML code in the message shows background=black or something like that.  If the setting on the recipient computer is to never change background colors it does not help.  It either showed the same or it changed it to White on White.

      This almost looks like something with Microsoft’s server changing the HTML coding on an email after it’s sent to have the black background.  I will be raising this to Microsoft support as well but hoping someone here found a fix for this.

      Everything I find looking this up on google just brings up info on the dark mode theme’s which is not related to this issue.  So it makes it hard to find related forum’s or information about this problem.

    • #2572966

      Unlikely that MS are changing random emails in such a specific way.

      Are you sure the HTML is different on the troubled computers? Have you compared it to one that works?

      If you change the view to “plain text” for that email it should work.

      cheers, Paul

    • #2572969

      I was never able to run down the cause of the problem, but it self-corrected and is now back to normal. I didn’t even have to sacrifice a goat to the computer gods.

    • #2572970

      I have the same issue and I think it’s when the sender has a picture in their email signature? When I reply they receive black email with black text. I’ve had to tell them to copy the text in the email and paste it in a Word document to see what was typed. Their email from me is black too. This only started happening the past month or so. Can anyone advise a fix other than telling them to try and remove their picture from their email signature?

    • #2577256

      I’m having a similar issue on the mobile version.  When I hit reply, my text is white and so is the background.  I’ve tried changing the theme on the web browser as well with no luck.

    • #2578404

      I’ve been having the same issue for a few days. It only occurs on some messages. Strange thing is:

      1) An older message in my inbox that was readably white turned black right under my eyes upon opening it for reply.

      2) A message I forwarded to myself arrived in unreadable black. Returning to the original massage, it was suddenly readably white. No clue how or why.




    • #2578435

      Until Microsoft issues a fix for this, other users have reported the following workarounds work (sometimes).

      1) Closing and opening Outlook 2 or 3 times can cause the correct (white) background to appear and thus readable.
      2) Save the email to a separate .pst data file, close and open Outlook, selecting the email from the .pst data file results in a readable email.
      3) Start Outlook in Safe mode (hold down the Ctrl key while clicking the Outlook shortcut and click Yes to open in Safe Mode).

      No guarantees, just what other users have tried and said it worked for them.

      HTH, Dana:))

    • #2578470

      So, is this an Outlook issue or just a mobile phone issue?  I have someone in our office that, when she sends from her phone, email delivers in black but, when she sends from her desktop, it comes in normal.

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