Tech Term: Understanding HTML and Plain Text

Tech jargon is thrown around a lot, especially if you spend a lot of time working on computers. An example of terms you may hear often is “plain text” and “HTML.” Today, we’re going to look at those two terms to see what they mean, so you can have a better understanding of them while working with computer systems. 

The Difference Between HTML and Plain Text, when it is all said and done, is how much information each one conveys. 


HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. This is the language that web browsers use for standard web content. Originally it was developed by CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research) in the 1980s by Sir Tim Berners-Lee. HTML was made so the browser can have tags that change the way a web page is displayed. 

HTML makes everything on this page look the way it is, like this sentence being separated from the other ones. 

HTML makes it possible for web content to be italicized, bold, or anchored to other pages. The HTML code is translated into a layout for the user.

The internet is based and built on HTML. 

Plain Text

The plain text is the page with no formatting at all. Within the plain text, the stylistic elements like fonts are all stripped away. This is different than HTML since it is used to create highly stylized and fancy text, instead of how plain text is simple and unformatted. On the modern web, it is rare to find plain text websites but over a decade ago, dial-up websites began as plain text.

Email Uses

When you think about the composition of your email messages, HTML and plain text come into play. If you would like to create a dynamic eye-catching email, you will use HTML, but if you are sending a quick and easy email, you are using plain text. 

Both of these options have advantages and disadvantages. HTML is used to visually make pages dynamic and boost the abilities to brand emails. Though, because of all its features, some HTML emails will end up in spam. Plain text emails are written much easily, as formatting isn’t something you will need to worry about. They can be read and sent out from any advice as well. Though, plain text is not as appealing to the eyes, which can make it easy to be skimmed or skipped over entirely.

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