“Why does my signature look too big in Outlook…?”
“When Outlook users receive my email, my signature looks terrible…”
As an Apple Mail user, have you ever wondered why your messages look less than professional when Outlook users receive your email messages? Perhaps the message body font is displayed at a different size than your auto-generated signature, displaying something like this?
Users Control How They View Emails
“But my preferences in Mail have a font and size selected.”
Unfortunately, although you may have set your email to display, for example, at 12 in Verdana, these settings only affect what you are viewing in Mail. These settings are not applied to outgoing email.
There is a reason for Mail’s lack of compatibility with Outlook. The message body text is usually sent as plain text (no font or size specified) and your signature most likely has a size specification of html small, medium, or large. This can lead to two interpretations of sizes: one for the message text area and another for the signature block. Outlook will set the message font size and font to what the Outlook user has specified (default is Calibri 11 point in Outlook 2010) in the message body area. Your signature size is up to Outlook to interpret a baseline for small, medium, or large. This, of course, is messy looking with two font sizes displayed to your Outlook recipients.
Plain Text Not Always Ideal
You can have the text message body and signature match via plain text. I spoke to Apple Support for help and they suggested clicking on “Always match my default message font” for signatures. After testing with Outlook users – the result is plain text only emails.
However, I think you would agree plain text has a downside. No bolding, colored text, etc. (nice for when you want to answer a question within someone’s message). Although it may be great viewing only plain text to override folks who send emails with 9 point fonts with pink text (usually too small looking to the average Mac reader), overall it’s a less aesthetic experience.
Format Outgoing Email – Universal Mailer Plugin for Apple Mail
To step around the issue of inconsistent font sizes, install the plugin Universal Mailer. Once installed, you can set your outgoing messages to the font size and font you prefer. However, unless your signature file is a rich text file – Universal Mailer cannot correct plain text signature files.
Fixing Your Signature File
Remember the size setting mentioned earlier of “small, medium, or large” for your signature? Here is how you can match your outgoing signature file to the message body of your text once you install Universal Mailer. It’s important your signature is a rich text formatted signature instead of plain text which Universal Mailer cannot override.
- Access your Signature through Mail in Preferences > Signature tab
- Highlight your Signature and Control Key for the right-click menu
- From the right-click menu select “Font” and then “Show Fonts”
- Select the font and font size you prefer (12 at least to be readable)
Now your signature should match the outgoing text body of your email message with Universal Mailer plugin without settling for plain text emails. You can bold and use other elements to help emphasize your communications. Assuming your email recipient doesn’t override the settings, you should now have a nicely matched email message with no “exploding” or other signature size mismatch with the body of the email text message.
Let Apple know you would prefer they fix outgoing emails to have a set font and font size (with matching signature size in rich text) so the entire email looks good for Outlook users.
Special thank you to Paula Farthing, Marian Harmon, and Teresa Morinaga for being Outlook 2010 testers.
Note: This information applies to Apple Mail 6.2 in Mountain Lion OS 10.8.2. Universal Mailer is a third-party plugin. Any updates to Apple Mail may uninstall the plugin and require reinstalling.
For the technically inclined wanting to see the HTML markup – the signature files are in the Library folder. You can reach it via “Go” from the Finder menu “~/Library/Mail/V2/MailData/Signatures/”
Having an problem implementing? You can contact the developer on GitHub.
Latest version is available on Universal Mailer.