How to Change Default Text Properties in Gmail

Make your emails unique with custom options

With Gmail's default text options, you can get your message across. But what if you want your communications to include a bit more pizzazz? You can change the text options to something that better reflects your personality. Do it for an individual message or change the defaults so Gmail uses your preferences every time.

The Gmail icon
Wikimedia Commons  / Google Inc. / Public domain

Change Gmail's Default Text Settings

You can use Gmail's General settings to change the default text Gmail uses when you compose email messages. When you change the settings, you get to choose the typeface, size, and color of the text. Once you save your changes, every email you send will use those styles unless you change them again.

  1. Open Gmail. In the upper-right corner, select the Settings (gear) icon. Choose Settings.

    Setting option from Gmail inbox menu
  2. In the General tab, scroll down to the Default text style section.

    Default text settings in Gmail
  3. Use the dropdown menu on the far left to select a new typeface. Sans Serif is used by default.

    Change font options in Gmail Settings
  4. Use the next dropdown menu to the right to change the size of your default text. You can choose between Small, Normal, Large, and Huge. Normal is the default setting.

    Font sizes in Gmail Settings
  5. Use the next dropdown menu to the right to access the color picker. Choose any color you like. Black is default color.

    Font colors in Gmail Settings
  6. The furthest command to the right of this bar is Remove formatting, which returns Gmail to the default text options. Select it if you want to start the process over.

  7. Scroll to the bottom of the Settings screen and select Save Changes to set the new default text options.

    Save Changes button in Gmail Settings

Use Formatting Bar Options

After you set your preferences as the new default, you can still modify the way text appears in an individual email message by using the formatting bar at the bottom of the email composition screen. No matter how you set the defaults, everything is editable from the window where you send an email. This is true whether it's a new message or a reply or forward.

  1. Open a new message. The text formatting bar appears at the bottom of the composition area, above the bar with the Send button.

    Gmail with New Message composition screen
  2. Select your recipient and type in a subject and your message. Highlight the message text.

    Selected text in Message composition screen in Gmail
  3. Make selections using the formatting bar. In this example, we've changed the text to be Huge (size), Bold (font), and Comic Sans MS (typeface).

    There are some controls here that aren't included in the default settings. For example, you can align text left, right, or center or add bullets.

    Text changed in Message composition screen in Gmail
  4. Make any other adjustments you'd like, then select Send.