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 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 have some fancy new approaches to your email communications.

Illustration of 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 new text that you add.

The Gmail formatting toolbar
  1. Open Gmail.

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

  3. Select the formatting options represented by an underlined 'A' at the bottom of the message screen.

Change the Font, Size, and Weight

Screen showing how to change the Gmail font, size, and weight using the formatting toolbar

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

  1. Press 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 Send.

  2. The next option over from the font selector is Size, labeled with a small T and a large T. Select it, and pick from the sizes available, all the way up to Huge.

  3. The next three options should be self-explanatory. 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 Color and Background Color in Gmail

Screen showing how to change the Gmail font color 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 whose color you want to change.

  2. Select 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. Press to place a check on the color swatch for the background color of the text.

  4. Press 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

Screen of formatting options in Gmail

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?

Screen showing how to remove formatting in a Gmail message

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 can 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. Select your text and 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

Screens showing how to change the default font styles in Gmail

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, select the Settings icon

  3. Choose 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. Press Save Changes at the bottom of the page.