Change the Default Font Face and Color in Gmail

Make your emails unique with your own set of custom font options

The Gmail icon

Wikimedia Commons/Own work

If you're not a fan of the default Gmail font options, you can change them anytime you want before sending a message. You can also change the default settings so that the same formatting options are used with all your emails and you don't have to keep changing them.

The default font settings can be changed in Gmail through the General settings. When you change font settings, you get to choose the font, size, and color. Once you save your changes, every email you send will use those styles unless you change them again.

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.

Gmail's Default Font Settings

Screenshot showing how to change the default font settings in Gmail
Changing Gmail's Default Text Style.

You can change the default font settings in Gmail by altering the Default text style settings through the Settings screen.

  1. Use the gear icon on the upper right-hand side of Gmail to open the settings menu, and then click or tap Settings.

  2. In the General tab, scroll down to the Default text style: section.

  3. Adjust the font styles.

  4. Use the first option to pick a different font for Gmail. Sans Serif is used by default.

  5. Small, Normal, Large, and Huge are the size options in the next button to the right. Normal is the default setting.

  6. The third option for changing Gmail font settings is adjusting the color. You can choose any color from the color picker. Black is default.

  7. The fourth and final button in this menu is for removing all the formatting and restarting with the default options.

  8. Scroll to the very bottom of the Settings screen and click/tap Save Changes to set the new default font styles.

Formatting Bar Options

Screenshot of the formatting bar in a Gmail message
Gmail's Formatting Bar.

The formatting bar at the bottom of an email in Gmail contains additional options that cannot be set as defaults. You can get there through the A button like you see above. Aside from the default options like the font, size, and color, are several other formatting options.

  • Bold, Italic, Underline: These are obvious—they're used to set the text as bold, italic, or underlined.
  • Align: Text within a Gmail message can be aligned to the left, center, or right using the Align button.
  • Lists: Highlight a section of text and click Numbered List or Bulleted List to apply either numbers or bullets to the list.
  • Indent: 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 from the window where you send an email. This is true whether it be a new email or a reply or forward.

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 each shortcut.

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.