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When composing messages in, as I now have an HD screen on my MBP, the default Helvetica 12pt appears quite small.

I would like to be able to enlarge the text size, but only locally, without changing the font in the message, as I don't want the recipients to have jumbo-size text on their screen.

Is there a way to perform this kind of "zoom" without using the "Universal access" zoom features which are a little bit too much.

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I have the same question as the person with the original post, and as far as I can tell, his/her question was not answered. Everything here just changes the actual size of the font being sent out. We don't want to do that; we just want to be able to see what we are typing on the screen. – user51129 Jun 12 '13 at 21:00
up vote 6 down vote accepted

You can go ahead and set it to what you want in Mail Preferences. These settings have no effect on what is seen at the other end. To do that you have to change the font for each outgoing individually in the New Message pane.

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Tom, I cannot find any preference settings that enable such a change. Can you post a specific screen shot, or describe the exact preference settings you are referring to? – user9290 Sep 3 '11 at 17:44
Mail > Preferences > Fonts & Colors > Message Font or something similar (I am away from my Lion at the moment). – Tom Gewecke Sep 3 '11 at 19:08
It was so obvious for me that this would just change the default size I would compose a message with (i.e. changing point size in msg, which will then change also recipient's view) that I didn't even try but it works! The most obvious solutions are often the good ones... Thx! – LudoMC Sep 3 '11 at 21:59
Thanks very much for this answer - I was wondering the same thing. – boehj Oct 29 '12 at 10:21
I'm not sure if this has changed since the posted answer, but I just tried (via emails to myself, to a different address, viewed on a different device) and changing this setting DOES change what a recipient sees, not just what you see. – Peter Aug 18 '14 at 19:16

I believe that this will allow you to increase font sizes in for you but not for recipients of your messages:

Quit Mail and run this in Terminal (adjust "16" to the desired font size in pts):

defaults write MinimumHTMLFontSize 16


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You can also use Command + to enlarge the message font size display, just like in a browser. (although oddly, you can't use Command 0 to revert to 100% zoom?)

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Josh, your method does not work when you are composing a message. It only works when you are viewing a message you have already received. When composing a new message, if nothing is selected, Command + does nothing. If you select text and use Command +, it does in fact change the point size of the HTML code of what you are typing. – user9290 Sep 3 '11 at 17:40
@Wheat Exact. I tried anyway but as you say, it just change the point size of the HTML text I'm sending. – LudoMC Sep 3 '11 at 18:01
Ack, sorry about that. – misterbrandt Sep 3 '11 at 19:28

When going to "Mail > Preferences > Fonts & Colors > Message Font", it changes the font of the message to be sent, and not the font that one visualizes on screen.

I cannot report the exact menu, as I am away from my Lion at the moment; it could be the menu it is not where I said it is.

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Are you disagreeing with what I already posted? Which is that these settings do not affect what is seen at the other end? – Tom Gewecke Dec 21 '11 at 4:47

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