Change the Default Font Face and Color in Gmail

Make Your Emails Unique With Your Own Set of Custom Font Options

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At the bottom of every outgoing email screen in Gmail is a formatting bar you can use to change the font style and color for the text in that email. If you find yourself making the same changes to each email you send, you can save time by setting your changes as the default font options. Make the changes to the default settings so that each time you send a message, your customized options are preconfigured in the message, and you don't have to keep changing the font to get it how you want it to be.

Even if you set your changes as the new default, you can still modify the email using the formatting bar at the bottom of the screen before you send the message.

How to Change Gmail's Default Font Settings

When you decide you want to change the default font settings for your outgoing emails, it takes just minutes to do it:

  1. Open Gmail and click the gear icon in the upper right corner of the screen.
  2. Click Settings and then the General tab.
  3. Scroll down until you see the Default text style section.
  4. Click the Font button. It may say Sans Serif, which is the Gmail default. Select a font you like from the drop-down menu. Sans serif font faces such as Sans Serif, Verdana, Trebuchet, and Tahoma are good general fonts for emails. Other fonts are good choices for special uses but may not be best for the defaults. You can apply those when needed from the formatting bar in the Compose screen.
  5. Click the Size button with a small and large T on it. You have four choices: Small, Normal, Large, and Huge. Small and Huge are not usually good default font size options for email composition.
  6. Click the button with the A on it to select a text color. Don't stray from black, dark gray or maybe a dark blue without good reason and much thought.

The field below the buttons shows you a preview of the default settings you have chosen. If you're happy with what you see, click Save Changes at the bottom of the screen.

If you don't like what you see, click the last button—the one with the T on it—to remove all the formatting and try again or leave it like it was originally. If you make additional changes, scroll down and click Save Changes before exiting the screen.

Formatting Bar Options

The formatting bar at the bottom of the email composition screen contains additional options that cannot be set as defaults. The same small A button you use to set the default font color contains two color palettes on the formatting bar. The second one is to set a background color for the font. So, if you want to send a friend an email in navy blue type with a yellow background, you can.

Additionally, there are alignment options and list options that can't be entered as defaults, but you can easily apply them to individual emails as needed.

  • Align text: Text within a Gmail message can be aligned to the left, center, or right using the Align button.
  • Ordered and unordered lists: 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 Gmail doesn't support this. 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.

No matter how you set the defaults, everything is editable when you get to the Compose screen in Gmail.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts for Formatting

If you prefer using keyboard shortcuts in Gmail, you'll be happy to hear that each of the editing tools has its own assigned keyboard shortcut. Hover your cursor over the formatting bar to see what each button's shortcut is. For example, select a section of text and use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+8 in Windows or Command+Shift+8 on a Mac to apply bullets to the beginning of each line. Use Ctrl+I (Command+I on a Mac) to change the text to italics.