Forum Question: Mac Mail’s handling of fonts

I have switched over to a Mac Book Pro about two years ago having been a Windows user for most of my career. I have been very impressed with this platform but have one major issue – Mac Mail.
I was hoping that I could use this for my day to day business email client. I prefer to use “HTML’ primarily for it’s looks and formatting capabilities etc.
So I configured my signature (no images just coloured text) and set my default font for my mail client thinking that was all that was required. How wrong could I have been!
I started getting back some comments on the “jumbled email” messages that I was sending out. Not to mention that I could also see this in the replies that were being sent to my email messages. In a nutshell – I had problems with fonts.
So I trawled the web looking for additional information and found that there were a lot of disgruntled users of Mac Mail who were all having this issue. I tried the various “tricks” that were already out there to overcome this problem. To be fair the one that works best is to write your email from the first line of your signature. This is fine for a single mail. However it starts getting problematic when handling an email thread.
Additionally I have also noticed that Outlook is showing my messages from Mac Mail with a reduced font size e.g. going from Arial 10 (in my signature!) to Arial 7.5. This looks appalling and very unprofessional.
So I bowed out of using Mac Mail as there was very little I could find to give me a proper solution. So I went down the route of VMWare Fusion with Windows 7 and Outlook 2010 as this works without any issues and I also had a “back door” for any other related issues.
I would still like to use Mac Mail as the boot times for the VM etc. are a pain when all you want to do is send a properly formatted email. Not to mention the platform resources that are dedicated for the virtual machine.
So does anybody have a work around for this problem (excluding the Signature trick)?
John Anderson

Comments: 4 Responses to “Mac Mail’s handling of fonts”

    5/23/11 @ 6:46 am

    My only suggestion is to NOT use HTML email for regular messages. I don’t. Not only do you have to worry about Mac/Windows differences with fonts, but so many people real email with iOS, Android, Blackberry, etc. And some view email using web-based solutions like Gmail. Not only do they have different fonts and screen sizes, but many are mobile and HTML messages can be quite a bit larger in size and not as quick to load on a mobile device.
    So why complicate things? Just send text.

    John Anderson
    5/23/11 @ 10:36 am

    Hi Gary,

    Thanks for the advice. I had already reached this conclusion myself and tried some tests with this method which works fine.

    It only starts to get “messy” when somebody sends you an HTML message.

    So I guess we all just have to live with it!

    BTW – I really enjoy your videos. They are an excellent source of information and very well portrayed! Thanks!

    Kind Regards

    John Anderson

    Bradley McBain
    7/26/11 @ 3:40 pm

    Hi John,
    I am with you on the drama’s of Mac mail. I am a complete apple fan, love the new mail app in Lion with the unwanted text stripped out of conversation emails. I have tried numerous methods for preventing this unwanted look, in fact my wife who uses a macbook air for work had been told by her boss, sort it immediately. The problem from what I can understand lies with the receiver, albeit you could argue that mac need to address an issue or microsoft need to change something. The mass market use Microsoft ‘doh’ for business, this will change and is changing but won’t happen overnight.
    Our solution Office for Mac, not exactly a cheap work around at some £240 but much more pleasant that a VM. Office for mac allows for 30day trial so you can ping some emails around and have some feedback before choosing to buy. Hope this helps. PS I hate that I have promoted a microsoft product.
    Good luck.

    G Jones
    9/8/11 @ 4:07 pm

    I’m the only Mac user at work and have the same issue with incorrect fonts and formatting forcing me to use plain text, which looks awful in Outlook. I believe it is because Mac Mail sends in rich text and not in HTML. Therefore would using Mozilla Thunderbird instead of Mac Mail work as that allows you to send HTML messages? I’d hate to give up Mac Mail but I’d consider Thunderbird if my e-mails were formatted properly in Outlook. I think you can also send plain text along with your emails for plain text readers such as phones. I may be wrong.

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