Ask Different is a question and answer site for power users of Apple hardware and software. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

A letter I've composed and formatted in Microsoft Word 12 point type does not retain the 8 1/2 x 11 letter format once copied and pasted into Mail. Instead, the type looks to be 6 point and stretches all the way across the screen, appearing as though I don't know how to format and compose a letter.

I've selected the correct font and type size - 12 point Times New Roman, but I cannot seem to effect any formatting on the mail page itself.

Can someone help?

share|improve this question
Please make your question description clearer, i.e. "Copy-pasting text from MS Word to Mac Mail does not preserve formatting". (If that's what you're trying to do, i.e. copy-paste.. are you?) Also, add better tags, such as "MS office" and "" – gosmond Feb 23 '13 at 23:24
If you need to be compatible with all kinds of MS stuff, you may be better off just using Outlook, which is designed to do that. – Tom Gewecke Feb 24 '13 at 0:11
Outlook for Windows and Word for Windows have a much tighter coupling than Outlook:Mac and Word:Mac. Outlook for Windows uses Word as its rendering engine for HTML, so this would be reasonably correct if we were talking Windows. However, Outlook:Mac uses WebKit as its rendering engine for HTML, not Word:Mac. Thus, I don't think that Outlook:Mac "is designed to do that". – nadyne Feb 24 '13 at 7:45
Welcome to Ask Different! You had two questions in here. This site works better when there is only one question per question. That way, it's easier for other people to find solutions if they have the same problem. I've edited out your second question, but feel free to ask it separately. – patrix Feb 24 '13 at 8:02

The easiest solution is that you shouldn't use Word to compose your email. Use Apple Mail, or Outlook:Mac, or whatever your email program is.

Why is this?

  1. Email is formatted using HTML. Word produces very bad HTML that is highly likely to not look the way that you want it to, especially when you send it to someone else.
  2. There are two ways that font sizes are displayed: in points and in pixels. The world has mostly settled on points for specifying font sizes. When you see that there's a huge difference in font size when someone responds to your mail, it's because their mail program thinks that your font size was in points when it was actually in pixels (or the other way around).

If you're using Word because you really want specific formatting that is possible in Word but that you can't do when trying to format it that way in your email application, this probably means that the formatting that you want to use isn't appropriate for email. You should either use formatting that is appropriate for email (which doesn't extend far beyond choosing from a handful of fonts and font sizes, as well as some basic formatting like bulleted lists and bold/italic), or you should send your highly-formatted item as an attachment (either a Word document, if you're sure that your recipient has Word, or a PDF).

share|improve this answer
Nadyne, Tom, Gosmond, – user43609 Feb 24 '13 at 0:33
Thank you for your answers. You've made me understand what the problems are. I don't use Outlook, just the mail program that is built into my iMac OS-X 10.4.11. When I wanted to send a well-formatted letter today I was so frustrated that I used an Earthlink account and that seemed to be better. I guess I will have to use that account from now on, when I want my e-mails to look good. Thank you again. D - – user43609 Feb 24 '13 at 0:36
I think that you should be very very careful when trying to send "well-formatted" email. There are literally hundreds of email clients in use, and they all deal with formatted email (that is, HTML email) differently. As your formatting gets more complex, you are running an ever-higher risk that your email won't look to its recipient(s) the way that it does to you. The account from which you send the mail does not make a difference in how the email is formatted. – nadyne Feb 24 '13 at 7:48

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.