What you write in a professional email message is important, and you'd be surprised how much your font style and size matters to your reader.
It's beneficial to select a font that's clean, uncluttered, and easy to read. You don't need to settle for the default font in your email program. You'll want to stay away from novelty fonts, such as ones that look like bolded handwriting or cursive, which can make your email appear unprofessional.
Tips for Selecting an Email Font Style and Size
Using a professional font is an unobtrusive choice that can help your message get through. Below are a few tips to help you make the right font choices:
Selecting Font Size
Make your font large enough so that the reader doesn't have to squint to consume the message, but not so large that the reader has to scroll to finish the entire email. Depending on how long your text is, a 10-point or 12-point font size is optimal.
The recipient does have an option to change the font size in their version of the email, but you shouldn't force them to do that.
Font Styles for Email
Stick to the classics. Familiar fonts like Arial, Verdana, Calibri, and Times New Roman all work well for professional emails. You may find that your email program uses one of these styles as a default. If not, they will be among the choices available in the program.
Different email programs have different displays, and an unusual font that works well in your program may be tough to read or strangely formatted in another program.
Avoid fancy fonts that look like handwriting or script fonts, and any novelty font such as Comic Sans. You may find it attractive but the recipient may find it unprofessional, unreadable, or both.
No matter which font style you choose, be consistent throughout your messages in both style and size. Switching between Arial and Times New Roman, or among type sizes, is jarring for readers.
How to Select a Font
No matter which email program you use, you can usually select a font style and size for your message in either of these two ways:
- After you create a new email message, select the font style and size you want from the options available in the program. Font style and size will be displayed among other options in a strip of clickable icons at the top or bottom of the email message box. Click on the font style icon, and choose from the list that pops up. Do the same for the font size.
- Create the email message and enter your text. Then, highlight the entire text, and click on your selections for font style and size.
There are plenty of other options in that strip of icons, and for the purposes of business email, you probably want to ignore them all. Italicized and boldface text are unnecessary flourishes in business communications. Playing with background colors or text colors will make you look like you have too much time on your hands.
Spacing for Messages
Using spaces properly makes your email message more readable. Add a line of space after the greeting, a line between each paragraph, and lines before and after the signature on your message. Having this white space makes it easier for readers to absorb text. Another handy way to introduce white space, and make your email easy to scan and read, is to use bullet points to break up long paragraphs.
Here's more on how to space your email message.
Adding Your Signature
Although, in general, you want to use one font consistently throughout your email, it's acceptable to have your signature appear in a different font style and size.
Often, signatures will include the sender's name in a larger font size, and potentially bolded as well. Get more advice on how to set up a professional email signature, including what to include in your signature, and what to leave off.
Test Your Email Before Sending
Once you find a font style and size that you think looks clean, proofread it. Then send a copy to yourself and proofread it again. Once you're sure you've made the right selections, you can start using your new email font.
Check Multiple Devices
Before you send the final version of your email, check your test message to see how it reads on your phone and tablet (if you have one) as well as on your computer. This way, you'll know that you have the formatting right for whichever way the reader is viewing your message.