I’ve been using Windows Live Mail (WLM) to manage my hotmail accounts ever since Microsoft launced it, and I like the lightweight feel of the application and its ability to handle multiple hotmail accounts in combination with ordinary POP3 accounts.

But, I’ve hit one problem that I find seriously irritating. I like to use smilies in my emails, but I don’t want the MSN-type icons to replace the good old  : ) . When WLM sees a colon and a right bracket it automatically replaces it with an icon, which usually results in an enlarged lineheight and messes up the format of your paragraphs:

BeforeIcon

AfterIcon

It looks really horrible.

There isn’t a switch for this. It just happens. But I have found two ways of keeping the characters in your mail and not having them swapped by WLM:

  1. Use a plain text format for your emails (but that means you can’t use Italics, Bold, Underline, or any neat formatting at all);
  2. Use the Undo function just after WLM has swapped the : ) with the MSN icon. You can press Ctrl + Z to do this. The characters : ) will reappear.
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