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martinneep Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
Under preferences in Mail, I have the message format set to Rich Text and under fonts and colours; I have the message font set to Verdana from the 'windows office compatible' fonts. However, not a single email client that I am sending messages to is interpreting this font. Outlook is simply displaying the text in Times New Roman, which looks awful. Why is this not working?

Also, when I send a message with a 'windows compatible' attachment, outlook cuts off all of the text after the attachment and shows it as a HTML attachment???

Mac OS X (10.6.7)
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,505 points)
    Under preferences in Mail


    Mail preferences don't have any effect on what is seen at the other end. To do that you must set the font for each outgoing individually in the New Message pane. Also you should make sure the font you set is different than the one in the Preferences.

    Mail has always worked this way, and many people are annoyed by it. Some switch to Outlook or Thunderbird. Also this may be useful:

    http://messagefont.com/
  • martinneep Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    You have got to be joking???

    I have to say that Mail in OS X is very disappointing. First of all there is no 'new mail' notification sound when using 'idle command' and now, I have to manually select my message font every time I compose a new mail! Ridiculous
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,505 points)
    I have to say


    You can let Apple know your views here:

    http://www.apple.com/feedback/macosx.html
  • martinneep Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    If the selected font in preferences is intended only for viewing in mail. Then why on earth is there an option to select a 'Windows Office Compatible' font???
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,505 points)
    why on earth is there an option to select a 'Windows Office Compatible' font???


    Where exactly do you see that? Under the Collections column of the Font Panel which comes up when you hit the Select button in Mail > Preferences > Fonts and Colors > Message Font? If so, that panel is used by all apps and the collections groupings are not relevant for every purpose.
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (27,125 points)
    martinneep wrote:
    If the selected font in preferences is intended only for viewing in mail. Then why on earth is there an option to select a 'Windows Office Compatible' font???


    It is not "only" intended for viewing mail. E-mail messages can be plain text or HTML. The fonts you setup in Mail Preferences are for viewing plain text messages. Rich text or HTML messages will display with whatever font the were constructed with.

    It is true that you wish to send HTML messages in a specific font, that font cannot be the same as what you have in Mail Preferences and you must set it in each outgoing message. There are ways around that. Create a signature using the font you want and start typing your message just before your signature.

    Sending anything other than plain text e-mails can be problematic and gets worse all the time. Years ago, few e-mail programs understood attachments or fonts, so Apple's e-mail tools had lots of useless functionality. Today, most e-mail clients can handle the attachments and fonts, but viruses and phishing have gotten so bad that servers often disassemble e-mail messages to scan for viruses and hack up the internal HTML to prevent phishing attempts. They don't always put things back together correctly. Combine that with the fact that there are a lot of different versions of e-mail software and some of them are still challenged when it comes to fonts and e-mails.

    Apple recognizes this and has essentially coded Apple Mail specifically to work with Outlook. That is why your "rich text" message is actually HTML. That is why the HTML is so bad - it is all that Outlook will accept. If your recipients are still having trouble, try Mail > Edit > Attachments > Always Insert Attachments at End of Message. Even with all of that, you will still need a fair amount of luck for your fonts to show up on the other end.
  • martinneep Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    I'm sorry, but I still don't understand.

    +"It is not "only" intended for viewing mail. E-mail messages can be plain text or HTML. The fonts you setup in Mail Preferences are for viewing plain text messages."+

    So it is intended only for viewing, not for message composition???

    Surely you can see my frustration?

    I send a message to a client, attach an excel spreadsheet... When I receive a reply, I see my quoted message; in Times New Roman, with the most important body of text missing, just because it was typed after the attachment. I basically sent a message that made no sense and that looked very unprofessional.

    His response however (composed in Outlook) looked much more reputable. The message displayed in the same font that it was composed with, in navy blue (because it was a reply) and none of the text was missing!

    I just don't understand why Apple haven't given us the choice? We have the ability to send a message in rich text, and it works. But we have no way to select that formatting as a default without using some botched up signature. That makes no sense!
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,505 points)
    I just don't understand why Apple haven't given us the choice? We have the ability to send a message in rich text, and it works. But we have no way to select that formatting as a default without using some botched up signature. That makes no sense!


    Lots of people find the signature fix does not work reliably anyway. You can also use the custom stationery feature, but it can be cumbersome.

    As for Apple's decisions about how Mail works, nobody here can tell you what the rationale is. I can tell you that your question has been asked here on numerous occasions during the last six years and discussed at great length many times. Presumably a good number of users have requested this feature via the feedback channel during that time, but so far Apple has not added it. Whether the version of Mail in Lion 10.7 expected this summer will be different, I don't know. If it is really important to you, the best advice is probably to switch to another app.
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (27,125 points)
    martinneep wrote:
    So it is intended only for viewing, not for message composition???

    Surely you can see my frustration?


    Yes. Sorry, but I wasn't very clear. The Message Font in Mail preferences is for displaying plain text messages and setting the "default" font. Rich text messages will be displayed in whatever font they were created with.

    The Fonts menu is useful for message composition. But in order to create a rich text message, you must change the font from the default, whatever that default happens to be. So, it is in your interests to make sure that the Message Font in Mail Preferences is not the font you want to use for creating new rich text messages.

    It is the policy of Apple Mail to prefer to send plain text messages whenever possible. Even if you select rich text, Apple Mail will only send plain text if it thinks you haven't used any rich text features. This is a design decision by Apple because they know how much trouble sending and receiving rich text messages really is.

    I send a message to a client, attach an excel spreadsheet... When I receive a reply, I see my quoted message; in Times New Roman, with the most important body of text missing, just because it was typed after the attachment. I basically sent a message that made no sense and that looked very unprofessional.


    You can't go by that. A message sent to a Windows user and returned as a quoted reply is likely to have no relation whatsoever to how it looked on your display or how it looked on your recipient's display when you sent it.

    Also, you seem to be encountering a well-known bug in Outlook. It sounds like what you actually sent was a plain text message with attachments. Outlook is known to handle such messages poorly. It is best in such situations to put your attachments at the end of the message and/or force a rich text message by selecting a non-default font. (That means a font other that what you have defined as the default message font).

    All of your content made it to the recipient, but any text after the attachment shows up as a text attachment. When dealing with users with this old version of Outlook, make sure all of your attachments are at the end of your message. As soon as Outlook sees the first attachment (which will be anything (image, attachment, styled text) that isn't plain text) it treats all following content as attachments.

    His response however (composed in Outlook) looked much more reputable. The message displayed in the same font that it was composed with, in navy blue (because it was a reply) and none of the text was missing!


    Yes. That is because Apple Mail is a far better mail program than Outlook. Apple Mail can properly read Outlook e-mail but Outlook has trouble with anything that wasn't built by Outlook.

    I just don't understand why Apple haven't given us the choice? We have the ability to send a message in rich text, and it works. But we have no way to select that formatting as a default without using some botched up signature. That makes no sense!


    E-mail is just very difficult to get right. The MIME mail standard is 20 years old. To this day, e-mail programs continue to have trouble with it. You are taking your frustrations out on Apple, but that is misdirected. I have been using Apple e-mail software since 1996. Apple has been steadily dumbing it down in order to allow its messages to show up properly in Outlook and other PC e-mail programs.

    When sending e-mail to old e-mail clients, try to use only plain text. Make sure your attachments are at the end of your message. If you want to try using rich text, make sure to select a non-default font. You can argue with me and complain about Apple all you want, but that is going to have zero effect in fixing Outlook 2003.
  • martinneep Level 1 Level 1 (5 points)
    Thank-you for the detailed response, now I understand.

    When I received the reply in question (basically asking me what on earth I was going on about), I jumped to the conclusion that Mail was responsible for the missing text. I now have 'Send Windows Friendly Attachments' and 'Insert Attachments at End of Message' both checked, so hopefully my recipients using Outlook 2003 shouldn't have any problems viewing them?

    Message was edited by: martinneep
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (27,125 points)
    martinneep wrote:
    When I received the reply in question (basically asking me what on earth I was going on about), I jumped to the conclusion that Mail was responsible for the missing text. I now have 'Send Windows Friendly Attachments' and 'Insert Attachments at End of Message' both checked, so hopefully my recipients using Outlook 2003 shouldn't have any problems viewing them?


    Hopefully. The "Send Windows Friendly attachments" really has little effect with modern MacOS X machines. That was designed for 2003 or so when people still had files with resource forks. That isn't common anymore.

    The "Insert Attachments at the End of Message" should help. I have reproduced this bug myself. Anything in an e-mail message that isn't plain text is really an "attachment" internally. A smart e-mail client is supposed to put all of that back together and display it nicely. The older Outlook just stops doing that as soon as it sees the first attachment and treats all subsequent content as attachments (which they actually are).

    Another workaround is to make sure to use a non-default font. This will create an HTML message. The old Outlook should recognize this and display the HTML content. Hopefully.
  • Barney-15E Level 8 Level 8 (42,670 points)
    martinneep wrote:
    Thank-you for the detailed response, now I understand.

    When I received the reply in question (basically asking me what on earth I was going on about), I jumped to the conclusion that Mail was responsible for the missing text. I now have 'Send Windows Friendly Attachments' and 'Insert Attachments at End of Message' both checked, so hopefully my recipients using Outlook 2003 shouldn't have any problems viewing them?

    Bad assumptions. While those options help, they don't always. If you want it to be rich text, force it to be by changing the font. Still, no guarantees. Event Outlook 2007 [isn't very good at meeting standards|http://www.email-standards.org>.
  • Tom Gewecke Level 9 Level 9 (75,505 points)
    Even if you select rich text, Apple Mail will only send plain text if it thinks you haven't used any rich text features. This is a design decision by Apple because they know how much trouble sending and receiving rich text messages really is.


    Interesting idea, but I think that giving the user the ability to select Rich Text in Mail > Preferences > Composing > Message Format and then NOT actually sending Rich Text unless the user also manually changes the font really has to be considered a bit nuts.
  • etresoft Level 7 Level 7 (27,125 points)
    Technically, Apple Mail never sends Rich Text at all. It sends an HTML attachment as specified in that "other" standard, also known as Internet Explorer 5.

    Apple tries to make the message as compatible as possible. If you have left the font as the default, there is no need to make it rich text. That way it will display on the recipient's machine as they would like their messages to appear.
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