MessageFont used to be available from the Mac App Store. Unfortunately, due to changes in OS X Lion and Mountain Lion, the app’s functionality became more limited. As a result, support has been discontinued for the application. Source code to MessageFont is available upon request.
You can download the non-App Store version of MessageFont here. The application is provided as-is, and it is not guaranteed to work perfectly on future OS X releases. You will need to add MessageFont to the list of approved Accessibility apps in System Preferences / Security & Privacy / Privacy / Accessibility. You may also have to right-click and choose Open to launch the app for the first time (depending on your app security settings).
MessageFont let you set Apple Mail’s default composition font for new rich text outgoing messages.
It interfaced with Apple Mail via AppleScript by overriding the keyboard shortcuts for New Message, Reply, Reply All and Forward Message. It also had shortcuts for inserting and replacing text with properly font-formatted text in your new messages.
The message font setting in Mail preferences affects local display only. This formatting is lost when messages are viewed in different email applications. For instance, in Outlook, emails with no font formatting are displayed in Times New Roman. In Apple Mail, they show up in Helvetica. The inability to easily set the default font for outgoing mail messages is a source of constant frustration for many. While the emails look fine during composition, they do not look the way they intended to when received.
There are numerous threads on Apple’s Discussion Boards that discuss this problem:
- Apple Mail Composing Font Format
- Mail content sent as Times Roman?
- Times New Roman font in outgoing Mail
- New message font
- Mail header/sig font changes size in replies
- recipient not seeing the right fmail format – very messy email
- Mail font / typography problems
While there are several workarounds and hacks to force Apple Mail to embed the font in messages–such as using the formatted text from a signature or manually changing the font using the Font panel–they can be cumbersome, time-consuming or unreliable.
If Outlook for Mac, Thunderbird and other email applications can set the default composition font, why can’t Apple Mail do the same?
MessageFont ensures the font1 you set is embedded correctly into your rich text outgoing messages2. MessageFont is an application that interfaces with Apple Mail by overriding Mail.app’s keyboard shortcuts for New Message, Reply, Reply All and Forward Message. It also has shortcuts for inserting and replacing text with properly font-formatted text in your new messages. Read the support and documentation to learn how to use MessageFont.
Click the images below to see how emails are displayed on various browsers and computers with and without MessageFont.
1 This assumes that the recipient’s computer has the specified font. Otherwise, a substitute font will be displayed in the recipient’s email program.
2 If you send all your mail in plaintext, MessageFont is not for you.