MessageFont Documentation


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.

Table of Contents

How It Works

MessageFont is an application that interfaces with Apple Mail. It inserts properly font-formatted text into your new outgoing messages in two ways:

  1. Keyboard shortcuts to insert or replace selected text with font-formatted text.
  2. Keyboard shortcuts that create new, reply, and forwarded messages with font-formatted text.

Insert or replace selected text shortcuts

These two shortcuts are always available for you in Apple Mail whenever MessageFont is running. They let you quickly add or replace text in your emails with MessageFont formatted-text.

New, Reply, Reply All and Forward shortcuts

MessageFont can override the default keyboard shortcuts in Mail for creating new messages, replies, and forwarded messages. You can also define your own custom shortcuts for these commands if you want to preserve Mail’s versions.

Unlike the insert and replace text shortcuts, MessageFont’s Mail shortcuts are disabled when you first run the application. To enable, you first need to tell MessageFont some information about how Mail is configured on your computer. MessageFont needs to know how many tabs it takes to move from the To field to the body in a new email message:

These methods are described in more detail below.

Configuring MessageFont

Launching MessageFont displays the following window:


Setting the Font

Note: Setting a custom font different from the Mail message font makes it easy to know when your text has been properly formatted with MessageFont.

You can choose to use the message font set in Mail or your own custom font when composing new messages or inserting formatted text.

Choose Use custom font and click Select… to customize your font. If you want to use Mail’s message font as your default font, choose Use Mail setting.

Enabling MessageFont

Check Enable MessageFont for new messages to replace Apple Mail’s default implementations for New Message, Reply, Reply All and Forward Message with MessageFont’s versions.

Enable access for assistive devices must be enable in the Universal Access preference pane of System Preferences. If this preference is not checked, you will only be able to use MessageFont’s Insert and Replace shortcuts.

New Messages, Replies and Forwarded Messages

Once MessageFont is enabled, press command-n from within MessageFont or Apple Mail. Mail will activate and create a new message with the following text selected:


The selected text contains the correct font information. Just type to start composing your email. Do not press delete, as that will remove the font formatting from your new message.

Note: MessageFont only works when pressing the keyboard shortcuts for create new messages, replies and forwards. It does not work when using the toolbar buttons or the menu items in Apple Mail. You can use the insert formatted text shortcut in this case.

Send yourself a test message and see it displayed correctly across different email clients on different computers and operating systems. MessageFont gets it right on Windows, iPhones, iPads, Mac OS X computers and webmail sites!

Creating replies and forwarded messages works similarly to new messages with MessageFont. The process to set up the new email takes an extra second, so wait until MessageFont is complete before typing.

Inserting Formatted Text in Mail: command-option-control-i

The Insert Formatted Text shortcut can be used to place text formatted with the correct font in your email messages. This is useful if you are replying to a message and want to add your response somewhere other than at the beginning of the email.


Replace selected text shortcut: command-option-control-r

This replaces any selected text in Mail with the same text, formatted with the correct font.


You can customize the keyboard shortcuts for the Insert and Replace methods.

Note: quoted text indentation and additional font style formatting (bold, italics, or colors) are not preserved when using this shortcut.

Overriding the Default Shortcuts

If you want to use different shortcuts for invoking MessageFont for new messages, replies and forwards, check Use custom shortcuts. Click the field to the right of the field and enter your new keyboard shortcut that will work only in MessageFont and Apple Mail.

Additional Features and Advanced Preferences

  • Start at login: Set MessageFont to start at login. This makes it always available for use in Apple Mail.
  • Hide Dock icon: Hide the MessageFont icon from the Dock. To change preferences, launch MessageFont from your Applications folder.
  • Message Font: Choose whether to use Mail’s message font or your own custom font when composing new messages.

Click on the Advanced tab for additional preferences:


  • Change font of reply and forward label: Checking this box will also update the label used when replying or forwarding messages. For instance:

    "Begin forwarded message:"
    "On Mar 17, 2011, at 4:33 pm, John wrote:"

  • For New Messages and Forwards, After Creating: Normally in Apple Mail, creating a new message or a forward will focus first on the To field. If you enable this make sure you select and type over the

    sample text. Do not press delete or you will lose the font formatting in the message.

  • Compensate for space following signature: MessageFont tries to automatically determine the position of the reply/forward label, but sometimes it is off by a line or two. Use the drop-down menu to compensate for this.