How to Display Messages in a Larger Font in Apple Mail

Make that email text larger (or smaller) in just a few steps

What to Know

  • Mail: Press Command and + (plus key) to enlarge the contents of the preview pane. Press again to zoom closer; Command and - to zoom out.
  • Enlarge text in an email by opening the message and selecting Format > Style > Bigger. This change is also temporary.
  • macOS shortcuts: Press Command+Option++ to zoom in or Command+Option+- to zoom out.

Occasionally, you may run across an email with text so small it's difficult to read. Instead of struggling to read it, you can increase the type size to make it easier to read. Apple Mac OS X and macOS Mail offer a couple of ways to display an email message in a larger font.

Mac Mail app shown running on macOS Sierra

How to Display OS X and macOS Mail in a Larger Font

You're just a keyboard shortcut away from reading an email in a larger font size in Mac OS X and macOS Mail:

Only the message content in the preview pane is enlarged or reduced using this method. The Mail sidebars and toolbar, as well as the header of the email, are unchanged in size.

  1. Open the Mail application on your Mac and click an email message to open it in the preview pane, which is the large area where you can see the entire email.

    Mac Mail app showing an email in preview pane
  2. Press the keyboard shortcut Command++ (the plus key) to enlarge the contents of the preview pane, including the text of the email. Repeat the keyboard shortcut as many times as you like. Each time, the text gets bigger.

    Enlarged email in preview pane in Mail app
  3. To reduce the size of the text, use the keyboard shortcut Command+- (the minus key). The size change using this method (either to enlarge or to reduce) is temporary and not saved. The email returns to its original size when you close it.

  4. If you don't like keyboard shortcuts, you can enlarge the text in an email by opening the message and selecting Format in the Mail menu bar, followed by Style and then Bigger. This change is also temporary.

    make it bigger

Make Everything Bigger in Mac OS X and macOS

Any user who has difficulties with vision may be interested in enlarging everything on the Mac display, not just text in emails. You can use Apple Mail keyboard shortcuts to accomplish this, but first, you must activate the feature in System Preferences.

  1. Open System Preferences from the Apple menu.

    The System Preferences command under the Apple menu
  2. Click Accessibility.

  3. Select Zoom in the sidebar and check the box in front of Use keyboard shortcuts to zoom to activate the feature.

    use keyboard shortcuts to zoom
  4. Now that the feature is activated on the Mac, the keyboard shortcuts are:

    • Toggle the accessibility zoom on with Command+Option+8.
    • Zoom in with Command+Option++ (plus sign).
    • Zoom out with Command+Option+- (minus sign).
    • Return to the original display by repeating Command+Option+8.
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