By default, Windows Live Mail 2012 uses the font family of "
Calibri", with the text size of 12 points, with a default color of black (always on a solid white background unless you use custom stationery or picture as background). This tutorial shows you how to customize the three font settings Windows Live Mail lets you change: the default font for reading messages you receive, the one used when you compose an email, and the one displayed in your signature. The screenshot shows the formatting options you have when using "rich text editing" (the default, and opposed to "plain text" emails, which don't support any kind of formatting).
Tip: don't forget to also update your signature formatting, so that it looks "harmonious" with the default font you'll use when composing messages. You don't have to, but a matching font tends to look more professional.
Every version of Windows comes with new fonts: if you are using Windows 7 or Windows 8 / 8.1 (currently the latest versions), the font you pick might not be available to a user still running Windows XP. That person will be able to read your message thanks to the "
automatic font substitution" that takes place when an unknown font is encountered, but your message won't look as you intended. This issue is even more likely to occur if your recipients use Mac OS X or Linux (different operating systems altogether!)
Here's a list of corresponding "
web-safe fonts" that don't rely on substitutions and alternative font faces (see info box below). Using these just about guarantees that your recipients will see your message the way you intended. Keep in mind that your lines won't end the same way, since the message text wraps based on available width. Each font name is written in the font itself; these fonts are listed in no particular order:
Example: here's some filler text to test each of the web-safe font families listed above. Just click on the font name on the right to apply it to the preview text:
FYI: various fonts that have close equivalents on other platforms, but you can't reliably predict with what that particular font will be substituted. Will your recipient check their email on a computer or mobile device? Running Windows, Mac OS X, Linux? Or a mobile OS like iOS (iPhone, iPad...), Android (Nexus, Kindle Fire, Samsung...), Windows Mobile, etc. If you are advanced enough to write your emails in HTML code, consider CSS font substitutions.
If you only want to change the appearance of your text for the current message, no need to configure any options: just make sure that you are using "rich text" (and not "plain text", which doesn't support any kind of formatting). Here's how you do that: inside the message window, select the "Message" tab (it is selected by default). If the "Plain text" button isn't highlight with a different background color (as shown on the screenshot on the left), you are already using rich formatting - don't change anything!
Select the portion of text whose font you want to change; to pick a different font for the entire message, hit the Ctrl+A keyboard shortcut to select everything. Then, choose a different font family from the dropdown (see screenshot), a different text size, etc.
The change is applied as soon as you click on another setting in the dropdown menus, or toggle another formatting setting like bold, italic, underline, etc. Use the two buttons shown in the screenshot below to change the text's foreground color, or highlight color (this doesn't change the email body's background color, or only the background color of any text you currently have selected!) The background color is limited to one of the 30 presets (pick "No color" to remove any background information, as opposed to using white). As for text color, use any of the presets, or create your own color combination by clicking on "More colors":
Tip: if the text formatting controls are disabled (grayed out), it just means that the insertion point is currently inside a text field that cannot be formatted (like the
Bccrecipient fields, or the subject line). Just click inside the body of the message (big text box at the bottom), and the problem is fixed!
To customize your formatting options and change the font for all emails you write, click on the "
Windows Live Mail" menu (top left button), and go to Options > Mail:
When the Options dialog opens, click on the "Compose" tab: then, click on the "Font Settings" button next to "
The Font dialog lets you pick a font family (left). The bold and/or italic options are included in the second scroll list, and choices vary based on the font family you picked. Finally, choose a text size on the right: notice that, as you change all these values, the preview text in the "
Sample" text box is updated in real time. While you can make your default text underlined, it's not a great idea because it will make your messages harder to read, and because "underline" in the online world is typically reserved for clickable links (hyperlinks).
For an unclear reason, you can change your text color in the default font dialog to only 16 different colors, one of which is white! Remember from the previous section that you can pick any foreground color you want for your text? To use a color other than the 16 listed in the Font dialog, you'll have to manually change it whenever you compose a message. That hassle alone should probably limit your choice to one of the 16 :)
Click OK twice to save your new font and go back to Windows Mail. Create a new email (Ctrl+N) - its body will automatically use the default font you just configured!
Note: remember that this default font is just "automatically" applied to your message, as if you had formatted the text yourself. You can manually override it to anything you like, on an email-by-email basis, as explained above ↑.
By default, Windows Live Mail will show messages you receive in the font specified by the message. If no formatting information is specified (or if the email was sent in plain text), Windows Live Mail will use "
Segoe UI" for rich-format emails without font specified, and "
Courier New" (monospace font, like a typewriter) for plain text messages. To change that, click on the "
Windows Live Mail" menu (top left button), and go to Options > Mail:
This time, select the "Read" tab at the top, and click on the "Fonts" button at the bottom. A new dialog will open.
Choose the default font family you want to use for rich-formatted messages by picking a different value from the "Proportional fonts" dropdown menu.
For the default display font for plain-text emails, choose another value from the "Fixed-width fonts" dropdown.
The default Font size is set to "
Medium", which corresponds to about
12 points (slightly larger than the text in this tutorial). Optionally pick another size, anywhere from "
Smallest" to "
Click OK to save your new settings, and OK once more to return to Windows Live Mail.