How to Increase the Font Size While Reading Mail in Outlook

Don't let reading your Outlook email give you a headache

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As monitors get larger, their resolution increases, which keeps images crisp and sharp. Unfortunately, monitor resolution also increases where it doesn't make sense—with laptops. On an average notebook-sized display, a resolution beyond 1024x768 is barely legible when it comes to reading the text in emails using the default font sizes.

However, Outlook lets you increase the font size in most emails swiftly.

Increase the Font Size While Reading Mail in Outlook

To read mail in a larger font in Outlook:

  • With the message open in Outlook's reading pane, click Zoom in the Outlook status bar.
  • With the message open in its own window:
  • Make sure the Message ribbon in expanded.
  • Click Zoom.
  • Select the desired zooming level under Percent.
  • Click OK.

If you use Outlook 2010, 2013, or 2016, you can also zoom in on an email with the zoom slider that appears in the bottom right corner of the screen.

Increase the Font Size With a Mouse and Scroll Wheel

If you use a mouse with a scroll wheel while you read email, you can:

  • Hold down Ctrl while turning the scroll wheel on your mouse down over the message's text area to increase the font size.

Increase the Font Size While Reading Mail in Outlook 2007

In Outlook 2007, to change an email's zoom level while reading:

  1. Open the message in its own window.

  2. Click Other Actions.

  3. Select Zoom... from the menu.

  4. Choose the desired zoom level.

  5. Click OK.

Outlook does not remember the zoom level.

Increase the Font Size While Reading Mail in Outlook 2000 and 2003

As an alternative to using the mouse in Outlook 2000 and 2003, you can also:

  1. Open the message in its own window.

  2. Select View > Text Size and choose the desired size from the menu.

This does not work with plain text emails, although the mouse wheel trick does. You can also:

  1. Select Tools > Options... from the menu.

  2. Go to the Mail Format tab. 

  3. Click Fonts... and use the Choose Font... button under When composing and reading plain text: to select a bigger font.

What to Do When Increasing the Font Size in Outlook Doesn't Work

Unfortunately, some emails specify the font in a way that is resistant to easy change for your use with Outlook.

If you encounter such a difficult case, resort to the use of a display lens such as the built-in Magnifier in Windows or the free Virtual Magnifying Glass application.