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 boring and lifeless. It's easy to format your email to add your personality to your communications. You can use a custom font size, pick a new font type and even 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've got yourself a fancy new way to send email.

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 for new text that you add in.

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click Compose and enter a message.
  3. Go to the formatting options at the bottom of the screen.

Change the Font, Size, and Weight

  1. Highlight the text you want to change or set the options before you start writing.
  2. Click 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 right above the Send button.
  3. The next button over from the font selector is the Size button, labeled with a small T and a large T. Click the button and pick from the sizes available, all the way up to "huge."
  4. The next three buttons are familiar. They indicate bold, italic, and underlined type. (The option to add a strikethrough effect to text in a Gmail message is not supported.)

Changing Font and Background Color

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

  1. Highlight the type you want to change the color for.
  2. Click the small A icon just to the right of the underline button in the formatting bar to open two color palettes labeled Background color and Text color.
  3. Click to place a check on the color swatch for the background color of the text.
  4. Click to place a check on the color swatch for the text color.

For example, you can make Gmail 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 certainly 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. Just 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 over to indent, but that isn't supported in Gmail. Instead, you can use the Indent More and Indent Less buttons to move text in and out of the left side of the page. You can even use it with a list to make sublists.
  • Quote: Similar to the indent option is the Quote button that makes selected text stand out from the rest with a little indentation and vertical bar.

What If You Change Your Mind?

You've made a lot of decisions and clicked a lot of buttons to get to this point, but if you aren't happy with the results, you'd rather start over. Gmail has thoughtfully provided a Remove Formatting button. The last button in the formatting bar lets you remove all the custom formatting options you made, converting everything back to plain text. Click this button to remove the custom color, indentations, font changes and anything else you added.

Formatting 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 what its shortcut is. For example, to quickly make something bold, highlight it and press Ctrl+B on a PC or Command+B on a Mac or use Ctrl+Shift+7 on a PC or Command+Shift+7 on a Mac to convert text to a numbered list.

Saving Your Changes as the Default

If you love the new font changes you make and would like to have Gmail use them as the defaults for every message, edit the text style from the General tab of your email settings.

  1. Open Gmail on your computer.
  2. In the top right corner, click the Settings icon
  3. Click Settings.
  4. Go to the Default text style section.
  5. Make the changes in this box to match the style you want for all your future emails.
  6. Click Save Changes.