Skip to Main Content

go to Indiana University Indiana University


Change Fonts in Outlook 2013

If you have read any of my other Outlook articles, you probably know that I receive a large number of messages each day, and I frequently have to refer back to messages that I have sent or received in the past. I use all of the features that are included in Outlook, and I don’t know how I would get by without this fantastic organizational tool.

Usually I am able to adapt to any changes in new versions of the Microsoft Office applications without any problem. I hardly ever go into the settings and customize the basic look of the interface or the menus. Outlook 2013 has been the exception. I started using it soon after it was released, and I was okay with all of the changes except one. The look of the message lists has been drastically altered, and I DON’T like it! When I try to search my Inbox for a specific message, it actually hurts my eyes.

Here is what a message list looks like in Outlook 2010:

Example of an Outlook message list from Outlook 2010

This is an example of a message list from Outlook 2013:

Inbox showing message list from Outlook 2013

NOTE: These screenshots may appear to be blurry, because they have been resized to fit this blog. If you would like to see a larger, clearer version of either of these images, simply click on the one you wish to view.

As you can see, in Outlook 2010, the text is darker and cleaner. In the 2013 version, the main text in an unread message is light blue, and the first line of the message is gray. After you read the message, the main text changes to a dark gray. This design scheme may be pretty, and it may match the look and feel of the new interface, but it is definitely not easier to read!

If you are like me and yearn for the days when you could actually see the messages in your Inbox, follow the directions below. While it isn’t possible to make the text look exactly like it did in previous versions, we can change the settings so that it is a little easier on the eyes.

Let’s start by changing the text for the unread messages back to a bold, black font. Follow the steps below to do this:

  1. Click on the VIEW tab, on the Ribbon.
  2. In the Current View group, click on Change View, and make sure you have the Single View selected.
  3. In the Current View group, click on the View Settings button.  A dialog box opens that contains settings for the Single view.
  4. Click on the Conditional Formatting… button. The Conditional Formatting dialog box opens, and you see: Conditional Formatting dialog box
  5. Click on the Font… button. A Font dialog box opens and you can select whatever font you want. If you want it to look like the message list in Outlook 2010, you will need to leave it on Segoe UI, but change the Font style to Bold, and the color to black.
  6. Change the size of the font from Normal to Big.
  7. When you have made your selections from the Font dialog box, click the OK button. An example of the newly chosen font will be listed in the Font field at the bottom of the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
  8. To continue, click on the OK button.
  9. Let’s see what this will look like, before we make additional changes. To apply the new font, click on the OK button in the bottom right corner of the Advanced View Settings dialog box.

You should see all unread messages listed in a bold, black font, and the font size for these messages is slightly larger than it was before.

_______________________________________________________________

Now let’s turn off the grid lines, so they are not visible between messages:

  1. In the Current View group, click on the View Settings button.
  2. From the Advanced View Settings dialog box, click on the Other Settings... button.
  3. Click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the Grid line style field.
  4. Click on No grid lines.
  5. In the bottom right corner of the dialog box, click OK.
  6. To continue, click the OK button at the bottom of the Advanced View Setting dialog box.

The grid lines are gone, and the message list is beginning to look more like the ones from Outlook 2010.

_______________________________________________________________

Now let’s configure the list so that the first line of the message does not appear:

  1. On the Ribbon, in the Arrangement group, click the Message Preview button.
  2. From the drop-down menu that appears, click Off.
  3. If a Microsoft Outlook dialog box appears, click on the This folder button to change the preview settings for the Single view only.

The first line of the message disappears from the list.

______________________________________________________________

Lastly, we will configure the “Read” messages, so that they are easier to read, too. Currently they are gray text. Let’s change this.

  1. In the Current View group, click on the View Settings button.  A dialog box opens that contains settings for the Single view.
  2. Click on the Conditional Formatting… button. The Conditional Formatting dialog box opens, and you see “Rules for this view” listed at the top. We want to add a rule for “Read messages.”
  3. To add a new category, click the Add button. A new, untitled group appears.
  4. In the Name field, click Untitled and type: Read messages.
  5. To configure this new category, click on the Condition… button.
  6. Click on the More Choices tab.
  7. Click on the “Only items that are” checkbox.
  8. Click on the drop-down arrow at the end of the “Only items that are:” field, and click on read.
  9. Click on the OK button at the bottom of the dialog box.
  10. Verify that “Read messages” is highlighted.
  11. In the Conditional Formatting dialog box, click on the Font button.
  12. Change the Font, Font style, Size, and Color as desired. I have found that I prefer the Tahoma font, with a regular style, normal size, and a navy or black color applied. You will need to experiment with these options to see which combinations you prefer.
  13. When finished, click the OK button.
  14. Click the OK button at the bottom of the Conditional Formatting dialog box.
  15. Click the OK button at the bottom of the Advanced View Settings dialog box.

______________________________________________________________

If you like the way your message list looks now, you should save it. To save this view:

  1. On the Ribbon, in the Current View group, click Change View.
  2. From the drop-down menu, click “Save Current View as a New View…” A Copy View dialog box appears.
  3. The cursor is blinking in the “Name of new view” field. Type: Similar to Outlook 2010.
  4. Click the OK button.

Now your message list should be easier to read and easier to sort. If you want to revert back to a different view, you can always go to the Ribbon, in the Current View group, and click on the Change View button. All of the preset views plus your newly created view should be listed. Click on the view that you want.

NOTE: You cannot configure the message list so that the read/unread envelope icon will be displayed like it was in Outlook 2010.

 


2 Responses to "Change Fonts in Outlook 2013" to “Change Fonts in Outlook 2013”

  1. NCT Says:

    Help! I cannot see the unread mail envelope the taskbar, and I have come to rely on that. Is there a way to change the appearance of the icon so that it stands out more?

    thanks

  2. Donna Says:

    Hi NCT,

    You might consider changing the color of your taskbar, so that the blue envelope icon stands out better. To change the color of the taskbar, if you are running Windows 7, click on the Start Orb and then select Control panel. From there, select Personalization, and, at the very bottom of the screen, you will see an icon that says “Window Color.” Click on this icon. A new window opens. From here, you can change the color of your window borders, Start menu, and taskbar. You can also change the color intensity used. You might want to select the red color box and then slide the color intensity bar to the right as far as it will go. If you do this, the blue mail icon on the taskbar should show up much better.

    I might post this on the blog as a regular article, because I think others may be interested in knowing how to do this. Thanks for sending in the question, NCT. I hope this helps!

    Donna

Leave a Reply

 

Get Training Tips via RSS Subscribe to Entries feed or Read Comments via RSS Subscribe to Comments feed.