How to Change Gmail's Font Settings

Spice up your emails with custom fonts and colors

Emails sent through Gmail don't have to be dull and lifeless. Format your email to add personality to your communications. Use a custom font size, pick a new font type, and change the text background color.

Custom font changes work with all types of messages, whether you're replying, forwarding, or composing a new email. Combine these font changes with a custom email signature, and you have some fancy new approaches to your email communications.

A person using multiple fonts in an email
Lifewire / Maddy Price

How to Format Your Email

It's easy to change the font, size, and other characteristics of the text in the message, as well as the new text that you add.

  1. Open Gmail.

  2. Select Compose and type the contents of a message.

    Gmail with the Compose button highlighted
  3. Select the formatting options represented by an underlined A at the bottom of the message screen.

    Gmail with the Font menu highlighted

Change the Font, Size, and Weight

Highlight the text you want to change or set the options before you start typing.

  1. Select the font selector in the formatting options at the bottom of the screen and make a font selection from the list that appears. The font selector is located above Send.

    The Gmail font formatting options with the Font menu highlighted
  2. The next option over from the font selector is Size, labeled with a small T and a large T. Select it and choose from the sizes available, all the way up to Huge.

    Gmail with the Text Size option highlighted
  3. The next three options indicate bold, italic, and underlined type. The option to add a strikethrough effect to text in a Gmail message is not supported.

    Gmail with the text type options highlighted

Change Font Color and Background Color in Gmail

If color is your thing, fill your emails with it. Assign colors to the text of your email or the background, all from within the formatting bar.

  1. Highlight the text to which you want to change the color.

  2. Select the small A icon located to the right of the Underline button in the formatting bar to open two color palettes labeled Background color and Text color.

    Gmail with the Text and Background Color menu highlighted
  3. Select the color swatch for the background color of the text.

  4. Select the color swatch for the text color.

For example, use a blue background and yellow text. Any new text you add after the colored text appears in the same color scheme until you make a change.

Alignment and Other Text Options

By now, your email is looking decidedly interesting and undoubtedly eye-catching. The formatting bar contains a few more options, mostly related to alignment, that you may want to use.

  • Align text: Next to the color icon is the text-alignment button. Text within a Gmail message can be aligned to the left, center, or right using the Align button.
  • Ordered and unordered lists: Make lists using the next two buttons in the progression from the left of the formatting bar. Highlight a section of text and click one of these buttons to apply either bullets or numbers.
  • Indent text: Some email programs let you tab to create an indent, but that isn't supported in Gmail. Instead, use the Indent More and Indent Less buttons to move text in and out of the left side of the page. You can also use it with a list to make sublists.
  • Quote: Similar to the indent option is the Quote button that makes the selected text stand out from the rest with an indentation and vertical bar.
Gmail with the text formatting options highlighted

What If You Change Your Mind?

You made your decisions and clicked several buttons to get to this point, but if you aren't happy with the results, start over. Gmail provides a Remove Formatting button. The last button in the formatting bar removes the custom formatting options you made and converts everything to plain text. Select the text and click this button to remove the custom color, indentations, font changes, and anything else you added.

Gmail with the Plain Text button highlighted

Format Using Keyboard Shortcuts

Most of these editing tools can be accessed through keyboard shortcuts. Hover the mouse over a button in the formatting bar to see its shortcut. For example, to quickly make text bold, highlight the text and press Ctrl+B on a PC or Command+B on a Mac. Press Ctrl+Shift+7 on a PC or Command+Shift+7 on a Mac to convert text to a numbered list.

Save Your Changes as the Default

If you love the new font changes you made, and want Gmail to use this formatting as the default for every message, edit the text style from the General tab of your email settings.

  1. Open Gmail on your computer.

  2. In the upper-right corner, select the Settings icon.

    A Gmail inbox with the Settings gear highlighted
  3. Choose Settings.

    Gmail with the Settings menu item highlighted
  4. Go the General tab, then scroll to the Default text style section.

    Gmail General settings with the Default text style section highlighted
  5. Make the changes in this section to match the style you want for all future emails.

  6. Select Save Changes at the bottom of the page.