Thursday, January 17, 2008

Tip - Making Mail.app Messages Readable

I have a Macbook Pro, and I noticed upon upgrading to OS X Leopard, that the default message size for Mail.app messages was too small to read. Sure, you can add a button to your toolbar to increase font size on a per-message basis, but this gets old after the 1000th time. Some Terminal magic will fix the problem:

To increase the minimum font size for HTML messages, do the following:

  1. Open Terminal.app. Spotlight search on "Terminal", press Enter on the app.
  2. Type the following at the Terminal prompt and press Enter:

defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 13

Now after a restart your HTML messages will have a base font size of 13 points, which is much easier to read, and you can set the font size to a point size you are comfortable with.

14 comments:

Chris said...

I've been looking high and low for a way to fix the tiny font issue in Mail.app - this did the trick, thanks!

BTW - what is the normal/default setting?

Andrew said...

@Chris:

There appears to be no default. I used defaults read to show the default before using this tip to set it, and it returned "The domain/default pair of (com.apple.mail, MinimumHTMLFontSize) does not exist". After setting it, the command ($defaults read com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize), returns the value that is set.

sufian said...

Is there a way to revert this? A corporate signature I *have* to use when sending email requires a 8pt font size for some of the text and atm it's showing up as 13pt.

Rick Cogley said...

Hmm - maybe nuke your Mail.app prefs file, or the line in it that got set when you ran the defaults command? Search around for com.apple.mail.plist.

Regards
Rick

isnoop said...

Great tip!

Rick Cogley said...

hi isnoop - glad it was helpful. Thanks for stopping by.

--Rick

lieb39 said...

Thank you so much for this trick! You were the first result for tiny font mail.app
I can finally read these emails! :)

Rick Cogley said...

Glad to be of help!

Judi Shaw said...

uhoh i tried it and it made everything on my computer smaller. eveything from my finder list to font in emails and my calendar, everything. so now what?
I am in way over my head.
i read the following: and have no idea what you are talking about. I am going blind reading such small font on everything

Is there a way to revert this? A corporate signature I *have* to use when sending email requires a 8pt font size for some of the text and atm it's showing up as 13pt.

Thursday, September 11, 2008 4:52:00 PM GMT+09:00

Rick Cogley said...
Hmm - maybe nuke your Mail.app prefs file, or the line in it that got set when you ran the defaults command? Search around for com.apple.mail.plist.

Rick Cogley said...

Hi Judi - this was several OS versions ago, so I have no way of testing on my current system.

If you cannot undo what you did at the terminal, you need to find your Mail's preferences file and delete it (rather, move it somewhere so you can restore if needed). Note that this will unset some settings in Mail. The file name is com.apple.mail.plist. Search for preferences files location and that sort of thing on Google, for your OS version. When you start Mail it will recreate that file. Then go into Preferences and re-do your settings.

Regards,
Rick

masblanc said...

Happy to learn there is a solution. But where do i find the terminal to put in the phrase, Stupid? but i am a starter on Apple OS x 10.6.4
thanks
jan

Rick Cogley said...

Hello Jan - you can open Terminal by typing Terminal in the spotlight system, which is the magnifying glass icon at upper right on OS X.

That being said, if you have never used Terminal, I cannot recommend, as it is easy to make a mistake.

If you can get someone to work with you, there, who knows their way around Terminal and the OS X defaults command, that might be best.

Additionally, this tip is from a while ago, so, in the latest OS X, it might not work...

Regards,
Rick

Rick Cogley said...

Well, I tested this on my OS X 10.6.4, and I do have the parameter, at least.

rcogley@RickMBP ~> defaults read com.apple.mail | grep MinimumHTMLFontSize
MinimumHTMLFontSize = 13;

Rick Cogley said...

Please also be sure you are checking out what exists, in terms of preferences, in the UI. Here is a screenshot:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/81796435@N00/5015283311/