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Email Font Size and Font Type Changes During Cybertravel

by fun111 / January 1, 2009 3:18 AM PST

I have lived with this mysterious, serious problem for years:

The font size and font type which appear on the screens of receivers of my emails are both different from the "normal" ones which I had used (that is, the way they had appeared normally on my screen) while typing the emails.

Only of course a very few of my email correspondents bring this problem to my attention when they find the font size too large. On receiving my emails, they can certainly adjust the font size on their screens as desired, but that's not at all a good "solution" to this problem.

I use Thunderbird for email.

What can I do to remove the above serious, highly annoying problem?

Thank you!

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Seems proper from my view.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2009 3:35 AM PST

The rendering of the email on the other machines is not under your control. UNLESS you do something like send them PDF (documents.)

Maybe someone can rewrite this to explain that it's not a bug, not broken or why this is so but it's all about you controlling the appearance and sizes on your machine and nothing is wrong about that.

The simplest solution is to send it "plain text." That way it's stripped of font control and what they want, they get.

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A Follow-Up
by fun111 / January 1, 2009 5:49 AM PST

Thanks for the prompt reply, Bob.

My thinking had been that just the way when we send any typed letter through the US Post Office the receiver gets to read it exactly the way we had typed it with regard to font size, font type and ink color, emails would be --"should" be-- doing the same. And my understanding had been that when we send an email using the "send in plain text and HTML" option, "faithful" transmission the way I would like occurs. Somebody had provided me that idea a few years ago and I had accordingly started sending emails using the "plain text and HTML" option instead of the "plain text only" option. That switchover did not seem to have solved the problem.

If neither of the above two options can facilitate how I would like my emails to appear on the receivers' screens, (that is, if the receiver has total control over how my email appears on his screen), then what exactly are the advantages and disadvantages of the two options? I use Thunderbird. (Perhaps I should have directed this query to some Thunderbird Forum rather than bothering you with it, but I could not find one easily.)

Thank you so much. I am truly amazed with the superb service you provide to people. Happy New Year!

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by fun111 / January 1, 2009 6:03 AM PST
In reply to: A Follow-Up

My understanding has been that if I send an email in "plain text only", it will not faithfully transmit italicization or boldfacing of any typed words. That is, those words will appear just like all other words. I certainly would like faithful transmission of any italiciaztion or boldfacing.


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Not a problem you can easily solve
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / January 1, 2009 7:27 AM PST
In reply to: Addendum

Firstly, it doesn't matter what email client you use, Thunderbird, Outlook Express, Outlook, Incredimail, etc, you will see the same problem.

As I see it, the problem lies with any or all of what is below;

1] Which font do you use when you type your email?

If you use something like Arial, Courier, Tahoma, or some of the other common fonts, then it is likely that the recipient's computer Operating System has the same fonts installed, so any email would at least display in the same font. If you use an exotic font, (how about Jokewood), and the recipient's OS does not have that font installed, then their email software will default to one of the common ones, perhaps Arial or Courier.

2] What screen resolution are you using? On my monitors I use 1280 x 1024. If anyone I send an email to uses a lower resolution, eg 800 x 600, then all the emails I send them the fonts will display larger, as well as any other formatting I send. Their whole display screen will be larger, (not the monitor, but what is displayed on it), and so if I use a large font in my emails, perhaps to emphasize something, then it may even fill the screen on the recipient's computer.

What screen resolutions do your recipients use?

3] Email software can allow emails to be displayed either in full HTML, (like a web page), or stripped down to just text. That is a user choice, so if you send an email in HTML, and the recipient has chosen to disable HTML in received emails, they are not going to see any of the special web formatting you have included.

So I hope you see that this is not a problem with you or your emails, (perhaps using standard fonts would help), but with the recipients, and how there computer systems are set up. There is little you can do about that, especially since, as is often the case, other users may not know much about computers, and so may not know how to change settings.

I hope that helps.


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Thank you, Mark and Bob
by fun111 / January 1, 2009 10:06 AM PST


I exclusively use Arial font, and my screen resolution setting is 1280 X 1024 pixels.

I understood everything you and Bob wrote, and I thank you both for the detailed information.

Happy New Year!

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Hint. You want to start sending PDF (files)
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / January 1, 2009 7:40 AM PST
In reply to: A Follow-Up

Only then will you have a package that is not re-interpreted by the user's machine. Email, Web pages are "rendered" to fit the users screen so your thinking is fine but the tools you are using don't achieve your goals.

Start sending a PDF and it will be viewed exactly as you made it.

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