6 Replies Latest reply: Jun 14, 2012 8:28 PM by Souldelay
kristin. Level 2 (235 points)

I am trying to migrate a large number of people (small company), all running OS X 10.5 on various Macs, from MS Entourage 2004 to Apple Mail. But, in all the testing we've been doing, emails are looking terrible when received on a non-Apple Mail client.

For our testing purposes, we're sending email (rich text) from the latest version of Mail under 10.5 to the following systems (to mock what the majority of the larger are running):

- Windows XP with Outlook 2003
- Windows XP with Outlook 2007
- Any system using Gmail/Google Apps web interface

The results are as follows:

- Message set in default settings (Helvetica, 12pt), no signature, just regular type (not bold, italics, colour, etc.). This results in the text coming through, in either XP Outlook 2003/2007, displays as Courier (or another fixed-width font). It looks like it should in Gmail.

- Message set in default settings (Helvetica, 12pt), no signature, with bold formatting on some of the text. The results in the text coming through, in either XP Outlook 2003/2007, displays as a serif typeface (not Helvetica). It looks as it should in Gmail.

I tried switching to Arial (instead of Helvetica, since Helvetica isn't an included typeface in Windows XP), but I get the same results.

I then ran the same tests, but this time, including a signature in the email. When there's no formatting, I get the same results as above (text displays as courier) in Outlook (fine in Gmail).

But, when I include a signature and use formatting in the email (which would be the case 99% of the time), then it gets even worse. The body copy comes displays as serf type in Outlook 2003/2007, but looks OK in Gmail. But, in both Gmail and Outlook, the signature displays at roughly 2pt larger than the body copy (so, the signature text looks way bigger than the rest of the copy in the email). This happens in both Gmail and Outlook. I have tried many variations (and I know the signatures I'm creating are in fact the same size as the body copy in OS X Mail preferences), but no matter what I do, if I include any formatting, as simple as bold text, he signature always displays roughly 2pt larger than does the body copy (and again, in both versions of Outlook and in Gmail).

At the end of the day, all I need is the email and signature to be the same type size, a sans serif typeface, and allow simple formatting like bold, italics, etc. But, no matter what I do, nothing work.

I have run these test on 3 different Mac systems and have viewed the results on many different Windows systems, and I always get these same results.

Can anyone shed some light on what's going on here?
Is there any way for the emails I'm sending out to look like they're supposed to?


20" Intel iMac 2.16 Ghz, Macintosh SE/30, Mac OS X (10.6.2), Xserves (Early 2009, Early 2008, G5), Mac Pro
  • CorgiGirl Level 1 (0 points)
    Kristin, I wanted to let you know that I am experiencing the exact same thing! It's very frustrating.

    I have tried every workaround listed on the Discussion Boards and several I've found on the web: 1) Setting a different "view" font than the rich text font I manually typeset, 2) Using stationery, 3) Adding a few lines of body copy to the signature to make my signature more of a "template," 4) Manually typesetting the rich text with each and every email, 5) Switching the email to plain text (to clear all formatting) and then switching back to rich text and setting the type manually again, 6) Adding extra html coding to the signature, 7) A combination of everything above.

    I've tested the emails on Outlook (PC), Outlook (Mac), and several web clients (Gmail, other webmail, etc.) The results are never consistent and sometimes are absolutely terrible. Sometimes 12pt text will show up as 20pt on a PC. Sometimes the body of the email will render in multiple point sizes within the same message (12pt, 14pt, 8pt) even though the original message was manually set to 12pt Verdana.

    It also appears that if you paste text from anywhere else (another mail message, the Web, or Word, for example), even if you remove the formatting and manually reformat the text as rich text, some of the original font tags "stick" and the email ends up looking like a hot mess (multiple fonts or sizes) in other email clients including Outlook and Gmail. (Although the message looks perfect within Mail.)

    I recently switched over from Entourage to Mac Mail due to Entourage's corrupting database and POP problems. I didn’t realize my emails from the Mail.app looked like this until I started to receive emails back where people responded or quoted my original message. The emails looked like some deranged person wrote them. After this, I started my testing.

    Sending the same emails (including manually formatting and/or pasting from other programs) is not a problem in Entourage.

    Apart from using plain text vs. rich text, I have yet to find a solution, but I am still working on it. If I find anything that works consistently, I'll let you know. Otherwise, I will most likely switch back to Entourage, which is a shame. Formatted type is not special feature; all other Mail programs handle this with ease, but they lack Mail's excellent integration with the rest of the OS.

    I also provided detailed feedback to Apple, but I am not holding my breath. Maybe someday...
  • Klimrod Level 1 (0 points)
    I have the same problem. Mail is reliable only in plain text.
  • Pommy Bosh Level 1 (0 points)
    Good to know I am not the only struggling with this. I am trying to migrate 5 people in a SME from Outlook 2010 and Win 7 to MacBooks, OS X and Apple Mail syncing with Google Apps for email and calendar functions.

    Some issues I have encountered which I think may be common to others (any solutions appreciated) are below:

    - I cant use Outlook 2011 as although the mail works well, the calendar wont sync with Google (amazing but true).

    - iCal works seamlessly with Google Calender (even showing multiple calendar views for delegates, something which Outlook 2010 cant do) but only really works well in terms of mail integration with Apple Mail.

    - Apple Mail works wonderfully as an IMAP client for Google Apps (much better than Outlook ever has) but the formatting for mails is all over the place. Like those above I have tried everything and can get no joy unless using the plain rather than rich text setting. However, when I do this I loose the email signatures, which means this is a non starter.

    This really shouldnt be this difficult, but its an issue for which I have found forum posts going back to 2005 Come on Apple, everything else works so well, why cant this work well too?


  • p2bkk Level 1 (0 points)
    I've just joined a new smallish Company with my MacBook/Mail and everyone else is using PC/Outlook.

    I'm hitting problems like described in this thread i.e.My emails look fine when I send them. But, by the time the emails are returned to me in replies' they look like a dog's breakfast and my new colleagues are not impressed.

    Any solution as yet?
  • atow Level 1 (75 points)



    I'm the author of MessageFont, an application that lets you set the default composition font in Apple Mail. You can use it to have your viewing font set to one font, and your compose font set to another. As people have pointed out on these forums, Mail's "message font" setting is used only for display, not for composition.


    You can find the app on the Mac App Store or by visiting messagefont.com.




    P.S. Apple's Terms of Use requires me to disclose that I may receive some form of compensation, financial or otherwise, from my recommendation or link.

  • Souldelay Level 1 (0 points)

    I have a slightly different issue which I believe is related. Some of my emails sent from Mail.app were arriving in PC Outlook blank, no body text at all. Sometimes with the addition of an HTML file as an attachment.


    I have temporarily solved it by changing everything to "plain text", which is far from satisfactory but at least my email text gets through. An apple community post from 2008 helped me to solve it:


    "I would guess you are sending messages composed in Rich Text Format, and somewhere along to the path to the recipient, the RTF, which will convert to HTML, has been removed by a SPAM filter. Try sending a Plain Text to this recipient and check the result."


    Our email domain is hosted by Google Apps so perhaps it's their spam filter which has done this? Does anyone know about this issue or how to solve it?