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Similar questions have been asked in the past, albeit not in the last five years, it would seem, and the Mail application has changed enough to make the answers to those older questions entirely irrelevant. For instance, there is no longer a messages.css to edit in Mail.app's resources directory and defaults write com.apple.mail MinimumHTMLFontSize 12 does not have any effect, although the strings command confirms that specific key still exists in the executable.

In Preferences, you can change the font and font size, but that's for composing email.

How can I set a minimum or default font size for viewing received email in the preview pane? I am aware that HTML email is now the de facto standard and that Mail is probably using the font size specified in the HTML tags or CSS. However, if browsers can resize a webpage and I am fairly sure Mail is using a WebView internally, then it would stand to reason that it can be done. Whether this is a user-accessible option is, of course, another matter.

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  • Would cmd + + help as a temporary fix?
    – anki
    Aug 25 '19 at 17:24
  • 1
    Well, it's better than nothing so thanks. Hopefully somebody knows how to make it stick.
    – dandan78
    Aug 25 '19 at 18:28
  • I think you are mistaken about the role of Fonts & Colors in Mail > Preferences. These do not affect composing or what is seen at the other end. They affect how incoming are displayed (but cannot override html, so they only apply to plain text and are thus not useful for your purpose) Sep 27 '19 at 18:38
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At the top of the Mail app, there is a toolbar as shown below.

enter image description here

As shown above, there are buttons to increase and decrease the size of the font. If these buttons do not appear on your mail viewer you can edit the toolbar by going to the View menu item and selecting 'Customize the Toolbar'. When you click on this you get the panel shown below.

enter image description here

The red line on this image is directly below the icons for increasing and decreasing the font size. Adding these to your toolbar will enable you to change the font size for any mail message you view. This is same as ankiiiiiii's answer bit a different way of implementing it.

Another option which may stick is to go to Preferences under the Mail menu item. Once the Preferences pane appears, click on the 'Fonts and Colors' tab near the top of the panel. This brings open a panel where you can set the font size and font color.

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    Last para is for composing I think
    – anki
    Aug 27 '19 at 7:44
  • Very interesting. I had no idea you could customize the toolbar. Unfortunately, as you yourself point out, the end effect is the same as what ankiiiii describes in his comment, which means it's something you have to do constantly for every email written in a tiny font.
    – dandan78
    Aug 27 '19 at 19:50
  • @dandan78 You guys are talking about me without telling me! use pings . I am around most of the times.
    – anki
    Sep 27 '19 at 18:58
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the only 'fix' I've found is to map F15 to a keyboard maestro script to run the following AppleScript. Just one key press the get things legible (for me) again.

tell application "System Events"
    key down command
    key code 24
    key code 24
    key code 24
    key up command
end tell

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