General Question

alabare's avatar

Why won't Mail app in Leopard send HTML/Rich email?

Asked by alabare (282points) December 4th, 2007

I’m using Leopard and have adopted the Mail application for all my professional and personal email needs. Problem is though, no matter what preferences I set for font type, email appears as default font to recipient (looks like times roman). I simply want my outgoing font to be Verdana 10pt. Can’t figure it out.

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15 Answers

cwilbur's avatar

Does the recipient have his mail client set to discard formatting, or to prefer the plain-text alternative?

alabare's avatar

I’ve tested this with several individuals all of whom are able to view HTML or rich type email. I’ve gone to the extent to delete and re-add my fonts along with wiping the email account and starting anew. Still to no avail.

Mangus's avatar

Your fonts won’t be the issue. Even when you send working HTML email, the fonts don’t go with. The HTML markup merely references the fonts on the viewer’s system.

I don’t have Leopard yet, but on Tiger, there is a preference setting that locks your out going email to plain text. On Tiger, you would go to the Mail menu, and choose Preferences. Then click the Composing icon, then look for the item called “Composing: Message Format:” and see if it says Plain text. Switch it if it does.

Not sure what the analog is in Leopard…

alabare's avatar

Appreciate the assistance. From what I can see under preferences, I have an option for composing in Rich Text or Plain Text. I have Rich Text as my default. When I compose on my end, it certainly appears as if it is incorporating Rich Text….unfortunately, my end users still see what appears to be plain text. Looks like i may need to schedule an appointment at the Genius bar.

Mangus's avatar

Heck. We know Leopard mail does HTML, because of all those new fancy templates, right? Let us know if you get it figured out!

chaosrob's avatar

I’ve never found a method for composing HTML and transmitting it with Apple Mail. I’ve been forced to use Thunderbird (, but it’s been a very elegant replacement. It’s got an “Insert HTML” command that lets you paste in pre-formatted HTML code and deals with it very gracefully.

alabare's avatar

Solved most of my issues by reverting back into Entourage.

chaosrob's avatar

Entourage tends to self-destruct its mail database if it gets too large, usually approaching 2gb. Do regular maintenance on the database (I believe you get to the maintenance tool by holding down the option key as you launch the app, but it’s been a while since I used Entourage) and try to limit the amount of old mail you hang on to.

alabare's avatar

Good information chaosrob. Much appreciated.

jasonjackson's avatar

I’ve found that always sends in plain text if possible, no matter how you have your preferences for “Message Format” and “Use the same message format as the original”, on its “Composing” preferences tab.

Basically, it lets you compose in rich text mode (if your settings allow that), and then afterwards, looks at what you’ve typed to see if it thinks anything would be lost by sending in plain text mode. If not, it uses plain text, but if so, it’ll then send both HTML and plain text (with Content-Type: multipart/alternative). That’s why you can compose in rich text mode, but end up sending in plain text – is waiting to see if you’re going to use any formatting that it must preserve.

Personally I think it would be better to always send HTML if you’re composing in rich text mode, or always make you compose in plain text mode if it’s going to send plain text, but is trying to be “smart”, so this is how it works out. Thanks, Apple. :-P

So anyway, you can force it to send HTML by styling some of your text – for instance, making a word or two bold, or using a colored font somewhere (including in your signature). And if you are replying to or forwarding to content that contains HTML styling, your message will be sent in HTML in that case too.

However, even when sending HTML, doesn’t set the font, so whatever the default font is in your recipient’s mail client, that’s what they’ll see (with bolding and/or colors applied to it, etc). This is the problem the original question was about. Outlook happens to default to Times New Roman, so that’s why Outlook users will see your message that way; most webmail users will see some sans-serif font like Arial, in my experience (I haven’t bothered to look into how much that is due to the webmail system and how much is just because my browsers default to Arial).

But! does set the font for your signature, as long as you haven’t checked the “Always match my default message font” checkbox. So one hacky way I’ve found to send my messages with Verdana is to make my signature like this (choosing Verdana as its font):


When composing/replying, I then delete the blank line above “Hello”, maybe add the recipient’s name after or in place of “Hello” itself, then add a few blank lines between that and my name, and type my message as normal. When I send, the font information is included.

In essence, my entire message is within what thinks of as my signature. Yeah, I said it was hacky, didn’t I? :) But it works.

However, two caveats: One, the header at the top of the quoted text (“On [date], [so-and-so] wrote:” still appears in the recipient’s default font. And two, this really bloats up the size of my messages (use View > Message > Raw Source to see what I mean).

But.. eh. It’s the best solution I’ve found so far.

Amador's avatar

Great information from JASONJACKSON its really work in Leopard.
Just follow his info and you could put even jpeg pictures in the signature option.
We are thankful to you!

cwilbur's avatar

Some of us prefer plain text in our email, and are not all that thankful.

jlassman's avatar

Adding on to jasonjackson: I don’t always want to start with “hello,” so I just added paragraph tags enclosing a line break in the HTML. I also have a blank line I need to skip when typing the message, but it saves the step of needing to delete anything.

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