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MIME Text

What is MIME Text?

The MIME Text media type denotes a file containing text. When an email client or Web browser encounters a file with the MIME Text designation, it knows that they file contains text.

This particular MIME media type features dozens of subtypes, some of which are obsolete. For example, text/richtext or text/rtf indicate a file containing text that is in the rich text format. Another example is the text/vnd.wap/wml (or text/wml) MIME subtype. WML stands for wireless markup language which is used by mobile phones.

Below are some of the more common MIME Text subtypes:

1d-interleaved-parityfec
calendar
css
csv
directory (deprecated)
dns
ecmascript (obsolete)
enriched
example
fwdred
html
javascript (obsolete)
jcr-cnd
mizar
n3
parityfec
plain
prs.fallenstein.rst
prs.lines.tag
raptorfec
RED
rfc822-headers
richtext
rtf
rtp-enc-aescm128
rtx
sgml
t140
tab-separated-values
troff
turtle
ulpfec
uri-list
vcard
vnd.abc
vnd.curl
vnd.DMClientScript
vnd.dvb.subtitle
vnd.esmertec.theme-descriptor
vnd.fly
vnd.fmi.flexstor
vnd.graphviz
vnd.in3d.3dml
vnd.in3d.spot
vnd.IPTC.NewsML
vnd.IPTC.NITF
vnd.latex-z
vnd.motorola.reflex
vnd.ms-mediapackage
vnd.net2phone.commcenter.command
vnd.radisys.msml-basic-layout
vnd.si.uricatalogue
vnd.sun.j2me.app-descriptor
vnd.trolltech.linguist
vnd.wap.si
vnd.wap.sl
vnd.wap.wml
vnd.wap.wmlscript
xml
xml-external-parsed-entity

How to Open MIME Text

Most text files contain the "text/plain" MIME media type. Some also include information related to how the file has been encoded. Microsoft Windows computers recognize files with the .txt file extension as text files. However, not all text files are saved as .txt files. For example, computer source code is often saved in a text file with a file extension that indicates the code's programming language. Source code for computer programs is usually kept in text files that have file name suffixes indicating the programming language in which the source is written such as .js for JavaScript.

In addition, while word processors create text, they don't always save the file as a text file. If you save a text document in Microsoft Word, the file will be saved as a .doc or .docx file by default which uses a different MIME type. If you want to save your Word documents as a text file, you will need to specifically save them as .txt files.

Opening a MIME text file typically requires a text editor or viewer. Whether you have a .txt file or a .js file, if it is a MIME Text file, you can typically view it using a text editor such as Notepad which comes preinstalled on Windows computers. In fact, many programmers create their source code directly in Notepad and similar text editors.

MIME Text Associated Applications

Notepad is often used to open MIME Text files because it comes preinstalled on Windows computers. It is a basic text editor that lets you quickly view, edit, save, or print the contents of a MIME text file. However, programmers often use more sophisticated text editors to minimize coding errors and make their jobs easier. Some of the more common text editors are listed below:
Notepad -  Basic text editor preinstalled on Windows PCs.
Notepad ++ -  This free text editor supports a variety of programming language and includes a macro recording feature, syntax highlights, and a search and replace feature.
Textpad -  A text editor with spellcheck and keyboard macros.
EditPlus -  A text editor for programmers using HTML, PHP, JavaScript, CSS, and other programming languages.
GEdit -  An open source text editor for GNOME (Unix and Linux computers).
UltraEdit -  A text editor that supports HTML, PHP, Perl, C/C++, JavaScript, and other popular programming languages.
Dreamweaver -  A feature rich design tool for programmers. It contains a "code view" tool with syntax highlighting, code hints, and syntax validation.

MIME Text: How to Fix it Quick

One of the most common causes for MIME Text errors involves a lost file association. File associations tell your computer which program to use to open a given file type. For example, your computer may have a file association set that tells it to use Notepad to open .txt files. If that association gets broken, then your computer no longer understands how to handle .txt files. In this case, you can resolve the problem by manually resetting the file association. In Windows 7, go to Start and enter "default programs" in the Search bar. Click the Default Programs icon. Next, click "Associate a file type with a program." Scroll down to .txt and click on Change Program. Select Notepad from the list and place a mark next to "Always use the selected program to open this kind of file."

Below are a couple more resources about MIME Text errors:

Internet Explorer May Not Use the Expected MIME Type for Uploaded Files -  Microsoft Knowledge Base article issues with incorrect MIME Text types for uploaded files.

Errors Regarding MIME Types -  Examples of common MIME types in computer code including correct and incorrect entries from Validome, an online syntax validator for Web publishers.