Previous 1 2 Next 26 Replies Latest reply: Jun 5, 2010 6:45 PM by bcollinsrules
conradwalker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Is anyone able to give help about the use of fonts with outgoing emails in Mail.

Few Mac users seem to realise that any rich text message sent using Mail to any person using Outlook will display in the horrendous 12 point Times New Roman. It is mind-boggling that Apple seems to think this is satisfactory, and that more users don't complain.

I am writing to see if anyone can help with a solution. After hours - days - of research over several years, the only solutions on offer seem to be the following:

* Create a signature with the font you want, and write in there.
I have used this solution, and it is a well known workaround. But it is too temperamental to be reliable. Any text greater than one line written in the signature, may develop random changes in font size and formatting. But this is not revealed until the message has been received. By which time it is too late. Randomly differnt font sizes in an email looks even more unprofessional than 12 point Times New Roman. I have had to ditch this solution.

* Use plain text.
This is often suggested, on the basis that "plain text is best anyway", and emails should be plain text. Not only is this an excuse to avoid the issue, but it is unworkable in a modern environment. With plain text, you can't send hyperlinks, or forward emails in the way that you have received them which is often essential.

* Change the font manually.
This solution arises because, bizarrely, the problem does not occur if you use a font that is not your default font. This is because if you use the default font, the email is sent with no font tag, which means that Outlook simply uses its default font (Times New Roman 12 point). However, if you manually change the font to something other than the default, a font tag is added and the email is received with the desired font. This is, by far, the most reliable solution. But it is infuriating because it requires selecting the text, opening the fonts, and then selecting the desired font. Doing this for every single email you write is too cumbersome. But if this process could be done with keyboard shortcuts it would be just about workable. But I'm unable to find a shortcut for choosing your font.

Here is my key question:

Is there a way of changing fonts in mail by using only keyboard shortcuts? I know it is possible to open the font menu in that way (cmd + T), but it does not seem to be possible to then select the font you want, without going to the mouse and clicking through.

I would be VERY, VERY grateful to anyone who may be able to provide an answer.

As an aside, I am aware that this has been raised by many people before, over many years. But it always mystifies me that Apple does not address this, including in the latest version of Mail.

Even though the problem is caused by Outlook's default font, the problem would be easy for Apple to fix (just ensure that there is a tag to relating to the default font in all outgoing messages, in the same way there is when the font is not the default font).

It is especially weird when Apple seems keen to make OS X more usable to business users. Greater Exchange compatibility is pointless, if our emails have to be read in a font that we do not want to use; or by limiting us to plain text; or by making us use of an unreliable workaround.

And I am always shocked that more Apple users do not complain about this. Perhaps either they dont realise how their emails look, dont care, or dont ever correspond with people who use Outlook. (The last possibility is the least likely...)

But there are a lot of us who do. Surely, by now, how our email looks is one of the most important things to many of us and is our main way of doing business. This problem is truly the single most ridiculous aspect of OS X, not least because it is so easy to fix.

Please fix this.

Or could someone come up with an alternative email client (maybe a version of Mail, which is like BusyCal's version of iCal: almost the same, just a little better). I would gladly pay for something like that.

Many thanks,

Conrad.

iMac, Mac OS X (10.6.3)
  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (30,540 points)
    With plain text, you can't send hyperlinks


    Of course you can send hyperlinks in plain text e-mail, I do it all the time. True, you can't make the text "click here" act like a link, but do you really need to do that?

    Here is my key question:


    That should have been all that was in this message. Most people who actually take the time to read the whole (extremely long!) thing will be, like me, a bit turned off by the tone. Not to mention that a good bit of it is rant, which is against the [terms of use of these forums|http://discussions.apple.com/help.jspa#terms].

    Even though the problem is caused by Outlook's default font, the problem would be easy for Apple to fix


    So, Apple needs to "fix" things that aren't wrong with their programs so that Microsoft doesn't have to fix their own problems?

    Surely, by now, how our email looks is one of the most important things to many of us and is our main way of doing business. This problem is truly the single most ridiculous aspect of OS X, not least because it is so easy to fix.


    But it isn't! Rendering of HTML in e-mail is currently at a place much like where browsers were in the 90s. There's no consistency. Although a competent web designer these days can create a page that, overall, looks the same in all major web browsers without too much effort, the same is not true of e-mail clients. Especially when people are championing the cause of a client like Outlook, which is actually the source of many problems.

    E-mail is not something you can control the appearance of completely. Not only are there many settings that can change the appearance of the e-mail, but e-mail that is designed to look good in Outlook may not look right in another mail client and vice versa. If you behave as if your outgoing e-mails should look like your printed publications for all recipients, you will be disappointed.

    I'm sure that none of what I've said is what you were looking for someone to say, but that's what happens with posts like this. If you aren't interested in the argument that I'm sure will ensue, with many other people jumping in on both sides, I'd advise you to snip out your key question, and only your key question, and post it on a new topic without all the inflammatory and inaccurate commentary.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,735 points)
    Is there a way of changing fonts in mail by using only keyboard shortcuts?


    Not as far as I know.

    Please fix this.


    You are only talking to other users here, and we cannot fix it. Send all your stuff intended for Apple to the place where they look for such info:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html

    Or could someone come up with an alternative email client


    I usually recommend Entourage (which is intended for people who must have maximum compatibility with Outlook) or Thunderbird. I understand that MS Office 2011 for Mac will have a new Outlook email client.
  • conradwalker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Thomas Reed - thanks for your email.

    In light of what you have said, and you're obvious experience on this forum, I'm happy to completely withdraw my question.

    My request was long. But if I hadnt taken the time to set out the background, I would have had many people - maybe even you - suggesting the solutions which, at the beginning of my post, I explained I was aware of and why they didnt work. I didnt explain, for example how I tried Entourage and other email clients. That was, of course, the next suggestion.

    To be honest, I found your response profoundly depressing: does someone really need "click here" hyperlinks? Why should Apple fix a problem with way emails are viewed in Outlook?

    And, above all, you've characterised my questions as if I was asking for "complete control" of the appearance of emails. I'm not. All I'm hoping for is to find a way for fonts to hold true when corresponding with (the vast number of) Outlook users. Most other email clients manage to find a way.

    And if anything I said was "inflammatory", then I'm happy to apologise.

    As for my key question about a shortcut to change fonts. I notice you couldnt help, so I'll ask elsewhere.

    This is clearly your forum, and I know better than to ask awkward questions in someone else's domain.

    Thanks anyway.
  • thomas_r. Level 7 Level 7 (30,540 points)
    In light of what you have said, and you're obvious experience on this forum, I'm happy to completely withdraw my question.


    If you like. That's not what I said, though. I advised you to simply post the question, without the lengthy "Apple should ..." and "Isn't this obvious?" nonsense.

    if I hadnt taken the time to set out the background, I would have had many people - maybe even you - suggesting the solutions which, at the beginning of my post, I explained I was aware of


    You could have stated that in a few sentences. (Though, often, people here skim and don't see such things... myself sometimes included.)

    To be honest, I found your response profoundly depressing: does someone really need "click here" hyperlinks? Why should Apple fix a problem with way emails are viewed in Outlook?


    You say that like these things are obvious needs. They're not. In fact, IMHO "click here" links in e-mail are bad, as they allow scammers to easily slip a link to a dishonest site into a fraudulent message. You could make the same argument about a web site, except that you visit the web sites you chose, while people you don't know e-mail you the messages they choose. As to Apple fixing Microsoft's problems by acting like their way is the right way... well, that's not Apple's way, nor should it be. There's a good reason IE on the Mac is dead.

    This is clearly your forum, and I know better than to ask awkward questions in someone else's domain.


    I wish I could say that's the dumbest thing I've heard anyone say on these forums... alas, it's not even remotely in the running. If you think the forum belongs to the first person to criticize you for something, you should probably not be posting in any internet forum.
  • Rob Boerman Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Sheesh Thomas,

    Why not actually try to help out another Mac user instead of launching a completely useless flamewar about how he asked the question or why Microsoft doesn't fix the problem. I am a business professional using OS X in my workplace as well, so I can completely understand the question Conrad is asking. If you specify outgoing messages to be displayed in Verdana and the recipient (whichever client they are using) receives them in Times new Roman, that is quite irritating. I've been struggling with this too. Why not turn to the Apple communinity then to see whether someone might have found a workaround? If you even specify which solutions you have found and tried already that should prevent wasting your fellow community members's time in replying solutions that do not do the trick.
    But no, it is much more constructive to focus on the technicalities of the question instead of the content itself?!?

    Conrad, let me know when you get Microsoft to create a patch for all Outlook versions and release it to the world in Windows Update.... In the meantime, when I manage to find a workaround I will let you know, hope you will do the same.

    Rob
  • conradwalker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Many thanks for that Rob.

    All I was looking for was suggestions to overcome the problem. Which is one of the reasons I was looking for keyboard shortcuts to change fonts (still no luck on that).

    To be honest, I was a little taken aback by the dismissive nature of Thomas's response.

    Like many, I love Mac and OS X. I raised this point largely because I am so keen to use Mail for work if it is at all possible. But if you can't control the fonts when writing to Outlook users, Mail is unusable for business.

    On your last point about a Microsoft patch... I didnt bother to reply to Thomas's suggestion that it is Microsoft's fault and therefore not Apple's problem. But after a lot of research, I'm afraid to say that, on this one, it seems to be down to Apple:

    OS X Mail does not put a font tag in your email when you use your default font. So Outlook (or any other client) has no way of knowing what font you are specifying and simply displays its default font to the reader. The problem just looks worse in Outlook because the Outlook default font is the hideous Times 12 point. But this means that even if Microsoft changed the default font in Outlook to say, Arial 10 point, for those writing Mail in another font, like Verdana, the problem would remain.

    And, for the record, I've been very reliably informed this issue should be fairly easy to fix, but so far it hasnt been sorted out. It really is more like a bug than a build feature. Mail already ensures that a font tag is specified in the signature. To fix this Mail would just have to ensure that the a font tag is added to your emails, specifying your default font. Outlook and other clients would then display the font you wanted.

    Rob, if I find a solution, or something that works I'll definitely let you know.

    I really appreciate your response. It is in the spirit of what I thought these message boards were all about.

    All the best,

    Conrad.
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,610 points)
    Conrad, you can't control how the recipient sets their email preferences. They may choose to read all the emails in Plantagenet Cherokee, Hoefler, or even Monaco. There's nothing you can do about it.

    Saying "how our email looks is one of the most important things to many of us" is pure vanity. What matters is what you say in the message.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,735 points)
    But if you can't control the fonts when writing to Outlook users


    You can of course control the fonts being seen at the other end (assuming the Outlook user has not turned of html email). You just cannot set them by default, which understandably many users find annoying.

    And, for the record, I've been very reliably informed this issue should be fairly easy to fix, but so far it hasnt been sorted out. It really is more like a bug than a build feature.


    The behavior of Mail has been exactly the same for at least 5 years now, and has been the subject of many discussions like this one in these forums over that time. Presumably lots of users have filed feedback asking for addition of a feature to set the default outgoing font. So far, despite 2 major OS updates, Apple has not obliged. Perhaps they will do so in 10.7, but this could be a ways off yet, and there is no guarantee, so I think the best advice is still for people who really need this to use a different client.
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,610 points)
    You can't assume everyone is using Outlook. There are dozens of email clients out there, and then there's webmail.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,735 points)
    Conrad, you can't control how the recipient sets their email preferences. They may choose to read all the emails in Plantagenet Cherokee, Hoefler, or even Monaco. There's nothing you can do about it.


    While that is true in theory, in practice when you send html email (called rich text in Mail), the recipient normally sees the font you choose. OS X Mail is a good example of this -- try sending yourself a rich text email with a big font in red and see how much control you have over what you see.
  • Tom in London Level 4 Level 4 (1,610 points)
    WHat if the recipient doesn't have that particular font installed?
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,735 points)
    You can't assume everyone is using Outlook.


    As a practical matter, this issue is almost always raised by business users who need to have their messages appear in something other than TNR when received by Windows Outlook, and for whom setting the font for each individual message is very inconvenient. But of course the basic problem, the lack of preference setting for default outgoing fonts, applies for all recipient email clients.
  • conradwalker Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    @Tom in London: "pure vanity". You dont think that's a little strong?

    Seriously. If I run a business, is it "pure vanity" not to want to correspond in emails by 12 point Times New Roman? I'm surprised at fellow Mac users being so dismissive of someone caring about fonts.

    As far as the case when the recipient doesnt have the font installed, we all know that would be a problem. But that shouldn't be an issue if - for that very reason - you deliberately choose fonts which are standard in OS X, Windows and Linux.

    Furthermore, no-one is assuming "everyone uses Outlook". I'm simply having to acknowledge when I send emails that, in a business context, the overwhelming majority of people do.

    Finally, I totally accept the well-made point about Apple not fixing this so far. Maybe they never will. Which is why I began by asking if anyone knew a keyboard shortcut to change fonts, so I could at least work around it in a way that made writing business emails in Mail manageable. If anyone has any answers on that it would be great.

    But thanks to everyone for responding. I'm genuinely grateful.

    Conrad
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,735 points)
    WHat if the recipient doesn't have that particular font installed?


    Then the recipient will see whatever default font has been set. But I think that in most cases what senders want recipients to see are standard fonts that all machines have installed (just not TNR), and of course at the correct size as well.
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