How to Fix Outlook Font Size Problem

Let’s say you’re writing an email in Microsoft Outlook and you have your font size set to 12, but the font looks like it’s size 6 or size 24! Or say you’re reading an email, and the font size is similarly unreadable or otherwise out-of-whack.

This is usually just caused by incorrect zoom settings. (When working on laptops, it’s often easy to inadvertently trigger a zoom action with the trackpad.)

Thankfully, it’s an easy fix. Just follow the instructions for Outlook 2003, 2007, and 2010 in my How to Zoom Emails in Outlook post to reset the zoom level to 100%.

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  1. Mike Murphy

    Hi John, I am e-mailing you because I’ve been unable so far remedy the Font Size Reduction in Windows 7. I recently purchased a new HP Laptop, but returned and because of this font size problem. I traded it for a new Toshiba Laptop last week and am now encountering the same problem in Outlook, Word, Excel and the internet. I’ve been using the “Zoom Button” in Outlook and “Ctrl +” with the other applications to return font size to normal. The above things do work, but I have found very annoying to have to continue doing these everything every time after I go into a new application. I want to ask you if you know of a way in Windows 7 Operating System to either “Lock” or “Disable” font size for all applications? I believe now that it a Windows 7 Operating System bug as I am having this all applications. If you have any suggestions, I would appreciate it.

    Frustrated User,
    Mike Murphy

    • @Mike: When does the font size shrink? Is the font size normal when you close a program and then small when you open it again? Or does it shrink when you’re in the middle of working with a program?

      • Kenneth Dandurand

        You don’t understand. I too have the same problem on this computer. The toolbar, stays the same all the time, but the page, not just the font, but the whole page or e-mail or text that I am working on just starts stepping back from 100% to 12% and looks like a postage stamp. I can Ctrl + the thing like I do in Photoshop, but it is annoying as h3(( that it keeps doing it…..sometimes once in a while, and sometimes repeatedly. I have had this computer on for two months now, and the monitor gets shut down after each use. I had the wife take it in to the IT people at her work and they say the monitor is muy bueno (very good). Suggestions or do your people not know either???? Thanks.

        • Do you have a mouse with a scroll wheel? If you’re accidentally holding down the Ctrl key while you scroll down with your scroll wheel, that will cause whatever you’re working on to zoom out.

          • Becky Plumlee

            Thank you for the tip on holding down the Ctrl key and scroll down, I have my first lap top and while typing an email, I touched something that made the print so small I couldn’t even read it, I was googling the problem when I found you, Thank you so much

          • Vidhya

            Thank you for the tip. I faced the same issue and spent an hour trying to fix it until I saw your post.

          • andy

            Thanks – after scrolling pages of MS help pages problem solved in one easy line of advice ๐Ÿ™‚

          • Hermen van Loon

            I had this same problem. Thank you so much for your answer John! Problem solved! Amazing how quick something so small can cause such annoyense!

          • Patrick Plunkett

            You saved my life. All help links until yours failed. Brilliant and thanks a million.

      • Jan

        I thought I was going crazy! Days and hours of scrolling through HELP which was no help at all. I can’t thank you enough for your simple observation and subsequent solution to restore the 100% message image in Outlook 2010. I have been using a magnifying glass to read emails before I send them! Being 60+ I really appreciated finding your solution on the internet :))

  2. Andy Stephen

    I have a MAC and using Microsoft Office 2011 mac version.

    When I send an email from my side the text looks good but when it arrives at some friends it goes very very small?

    What is the issue?

  3. Damien O'Donoghue

    I too am having a problem with font size begin being received in a very small font or even font that change in size within the body of the email. When I send it out it looks fine and when I check it in my sent box it looks okay.

    It looks really bad, especially when sending emails to businesses and clients!

    Is there a fix for this??

    Very Frustrating!!!

    Mac 27″ OS X 10.7; Microsoft Outlook 2011

  4. Charles C

    I’m having the exact same problem mentioned above. When I type an email, my font size seems to be fine, but when someone opens that email, my font size is obnoxiously small. If anyone finds a fix, please post it.

  5. Mike


    Like others I too am having a problem with font size “translation.” On MacBook with MS Outlook. Set for Arial 12 pt. yet the size that presents on recipient’s end is either A) too small throughout, or B) even differs in size mid-sentence! How do I fix this?

    Thank you for being here,


    • Ian

      I’m afraid this is happening to me as well. The only fix I’ve been able to manage is to use Plain Text. I’m surprised I’ve been unable to solve this. (only because I’ve spent way more time on it than results would indicate.

  6. Bryan Ramsey

    Managed to fix font size thank you but I have another infernal problem .I used to operate a desktop with ergonomic keyboard where keys were curved and on a slope so quite a wide approach with fingers whilst I touch typed .Have converted to laptop for portability and even though it is 17 inch with wide keys spacing it has a numeral pad at rhs and I am always catching the Numbers Lk with the little finger of my right hand sending the cursor spinning off sometimes into previous e-mails that I am responding to.Consequence is to have to find the cursor and the damage it has done and Undo Undo repeatedly until cursor returns to where it should be before I inadvertently touched the Numbers Lk.
    It is such a nuisance that I tried to superglue the Numbers Lk key whilst in the position of “allowing numbers” to be typed and thought that would fix it however on restarting my laptop it defaulted to a numbers OFF position so I had to hurriedly clean off my superglue escapade .Any suggestion to immobilise the Numbers Lk in the “ON” position would be appreciated

  7. aacinc

    I found that the zoom factor was set for emails which caused the email text to look smaller than the font that was selected. I would guess that the reverse could be true to. If you are seeing your text clearly yet when sending it looks smaller maybe your zoom is set to very large. I noticed this happening when I used a screen zoom application. Correcting the zoom factor as indicated above resolved the issue.

  8. Franco Brotto

    Zoom Factor doesn’t work. It only zooms the whole email, including the images, table width, etc.

    I’m getting too small font what makes the text looks strange next to the images that I’m using. When I design the HTML both the image and the ‘textbox’ have the same height. When it goes to Outlook, the ‘textbox’ shrinks and the whole design is messed up! Zooming only gets everything bigger, it doesn’t adjust only the text

    Does anyone knows a fix for that?

  9. john

    So everyone is experiencing the “I sent in a decent size font and it shrinks when others get it”? Me too!
    I am sending in Mac outlook 2011 with 14pt Calibri and when others some others recieve the exact context it changes to 10pt Calibri! Any help is appreciated.

  10. fatumah

    i cant read my mail font too small

  11. Sally Lawrence

    Every time i write an e-mail, even tho the font is set at Tahoma 12 it is very small and when I receive mail it is smaller than 12. If I change it sometimes it works and other times it doesn’t . it’s very frustrating.

  12. Robert

    I use a Mac (10.6.8) but work in a PC environment. Outlook (Mac 2011; 14.2.1) will randomly change my 14 point Calibri to a 6 point size when I send it to certain recipients.

    Interestingly, some users receive the normal 14 pt. size while others experience this issue. I suspect it might be their settings but would like to know specifically how to correct the problem. I also would conjecture that if the affected PC’s were to change their settings for me, other “normal” email received from coworkers on PC’s would be adversely affected.

  13. Andrea Azoury

    I have the same problem as many people on this page; the font size and type that my end recipient receives via email is different from what i send. I have tried using plain text but then i cannot insert tables into my emails. I also have downloaded but i then for some reason my email signature doesn’t seem to format to the default size either.

    Any tips are greatly appreciated!

  14. Rhonda

    Having the same problem – Use a MAC and work in PC environment – Outlook Mac 2011. My email is set at Century Gothic 11 but going to the PC the viewer tells me it’s size is 8.5. When they send message saying their font is set at 11 its coming in at 13. It’s making for a very unprofessional looking email chains.

    Need solutions please!!

  15. Alex

    I have the same “translation” problem with font size.

    Help please.

  16. dan

    Did anyone find a fix for the problem of sending an email in a certain font and it changing when it reaches the recipient?

    • Rhonda

      Hello – After doing a google search I was able to determine that there is an issues with Microsoft going from PC to Macs but has not been addresses. The font size on the mac needs to be 2 points higher than what it needs to be to appear as specified on a PC. Example: all our emails are suppose to be formatted in 11 point type. I set mine at 13 and when someone replies back to me the font comes back at the 11 point size. So far this has been the only fix I can find. Hope this helps

  17. Pam

    When I reply to emails my reply in all in the same size but the person who receives it sees mixed font sizes. It looks very unprofessional but I can’t seem to fix it. I have tried options and resettting both the font and the size. The signature stays the same as set just the body of the text changes.

  18. Robyn

    Apparently, Microsoft 2011 on Mac uses pixels instead of points so if you wanted Arial 10 to show up in the recipientโ€™s mailbox you would have to choose the equivalent in pixels (Arial 13) in your Microsoft settings.

    It looks bigger than 10 point when you’re typing the e-mail but it looks fine on the receiving end. To test it out, send an e-mail to a family member/friend to confirm.

    If you prefer a different size in a different font, Google “font size in points and pixels” or something like “what is 10 point in pixels”

    Hope this helps.

  19. I was typing and I must have hit something because now everything is so small i cant see it, can you please tell me how I can fix this ?

  20. Sophie

    Thanks John, very helpful. I managed to solve my prob in less than 2 min.!! Thank you

  21. Anabell

    All of a sudden the font size on my email page is so small I can’t read it. I’ve tried everything I can think of to remedy it, but nothing works. At my age my eyes aren’t as good as they used to be even though I wear glasses.

  22. Tono

    Thanks it works, it caused by zoom menu. Ive return to 100%, then it returns normal

  23. Katie

    Do you know how to do this in 2011?

  24. Thank you for the explanation! I was about to go insane. I couldn’t even figure out how I had accidentally changed my font in Outlook. The simple control key while scrolling with the mouse wheel….bingo! Problem solved.

  25. sean c.

    I just fixed the same problem…here is the fix:

    1) Launch Outlook.

    2) Push “New” to open up a brand new blank e-mail doc (it is ok if your signature is in the body of the email either enlarged or too small).

    3) Click the “Format Text” tab at the very top of the blank email.

    4) Look for “Zoom” button all the way to the top right hand of the menu items.

    5) Click it…if you are getting large font on new or reply emails, your zoom setting was accidently set to 200%. Simply click %100 while in this “Zoom” menu item and it will fix it.

    Problem solved!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  26. David

    I understand about the ctrl + and the mouse scroll n use them all the time. I have a user (several users actually) whose eyesight is fading. What I need is for this change to be permanent, so when cranky old important end user zooms in… it stays zoomed in for the rest of their emails. Colorful loud obscene comments of the cranky important end user discreetly removed ๐Ÿ™‚

  27. Outlook User

    @John Lamansky – your “ctrl + mouse wheel” solution helped me even after 2 years of providing it.

  28. H! John

    I am using Microsoft outlook 2010, and my text and signature that i have added is shrunk to less than the size of an ant…i tried control + option and nothing else worked …cant find zoom , need help urgently

  29. Irawati

    Dear jhon,

    can you help me, my outlook mail only have font size in even size.
    why is that , my other college have it in size 11, i’ve desperetly tried different kind but still in the option box only even size. I know i’m being possessive but…


  30. Pete

    Regarding font size issue. The problem is the way the Outlook (working on a Mac) Inbox is displayed. It is very small and I don’t know of any command or combination of key strokes that remedies the problem.
    Control + works fine for open messages, it is the way the Inbox displays.

  31. Marie Schlink

    I have a Mac and my email is through Outlook. When I type an email and use an emoticon, the font gets larger. I would start with a larger font, if I could figure out how to set it up for emails. I cannot figure out how to get in to set anything up. I have had an address change for my business, which is part of my regular set up. I can’t get in to change it, so each time i wirte an email, i have to manually delete and type in new address. So how do I get in to edit my set-up?

  32. susan

    Your link comes back with a 404: not found

  33. susan

    I have no zoom box … how can I get it? I tried “help” and it just tells how to zoom in by using the zoom box ๐Ÿ™
    And control/mouse wheel does absolutely nothing – ๐Ÿ™‚

  34. antony

    Thanks for the tip. Whilst scrolling with the wheel hold down CTRL on the message. This will reduce/increase the size of the font setting

  35. MELANIE McDowell

    I had the problem with shrinking font, right while I was composing an email. and guess what???? I must have accidentally held down the left side CTRL key and scrolled the mouse, because when I followed Lamansky’s instructions and rolled it back while holding down CTRL key…it enlarged the font in Outlook! Problem solved, thank you L.

  36. anita

    Thank you so much, I spent about 2 hours trying to fix, going to settings, right click etc. And then had brainwave to google said problem. And came across this link. I have lap top, Windows 8, and found the font was enlarged only in hotmail, not in any other web pages. I didnt even need to use pad, just ctrl + or -.

    OMG so easy once you know eh……..!!!!! Thats how your learn in life I guess, by ‘accident’.

  37. gwenie Mugliston

    It seems the various skins on many websites have different ways of being visually increased or decreased. Outlook has several skins. I can get the emails themselves, the part I actually type to behave and stay the same size, generally 12. But everything else, the folders, etc. are variously sized. I cannot believe I did this, but then…I am old.

    Now I need it fixed. Sean c wrote about finding “format text at the very top of the blank email.” I cannot find that. Apparently once in to Format Text, a zoom control appears. Again not for me.

    I hate this 150 pt text size or the 0.002 pt text size. I would appreciate your help.


  38. Patty

    Thank you so much!

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