Scott Hanselman

Changing the Font Size of the Reading Pane in Outlook 2003: Impossible?

February 25, 2004 Comment on this post [10] Posted in Musings
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Is it sadder that:

  1. You can only change the font size for the Reading Pane in Outlook 2003 by right clicking the tiny grey border around the Reading Pane.
  2. When you do click the menu item then move to another email, the option switches back to Medium for the next message.
  3. The menu items have no effect (the font sizes don't change) on 90% of corporate mail including RTF and WordMail.

Is this totally broken or am I totally broken?

About Scott

Scott Hanselman is a former professor, former Chief Architect in finance, now speaker, consultant, father, diabetic, and Microsoft employee. He is a failed stand-up comic, a cornrower, and a book author.

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February 26, 2004 0:08
Seems totally broken to me. Also when I played around with this it seemed to change my settings in Internet Explorer.

1) With IE closed, open Outlook change the font size to Largest.

2) Open IE, look at font size, it is set to largest.

It seems to change IE's settings but has no effect on Outlooks view. Weird.

February 26, 2004 0:16
Well, it's one of those cases... Yes, it's broken, but I don't see an easy solution for the problem. Parsing HTML of each message and modifying the font sizes (typically specified in fixed size, pt) WITHOUT affecting its original presentation seems like a rather messy task. Maybe that is why the options were stashed away from your typical user's click space. Only the shrewd or the hopeless would click on that border.
February 26, 2004 2:08
I wasn't even aware the right click menu by clicking on that little grey border.

Dimitri, I'm not sure that it's as big a deal as you make it out to be. Outlook seems to use the IE rendering engine, and IE is already capable of resizing text. It seems the problem is simply that Outlook doesn't remember the user's desired size. Or am I missing something?
February 26, 2004 2:12
If you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, you can use the same wheel trick that IE supports - ctrl-wheel resizes the text as you spin.
February 26, 2004 2:21
You know, I tired the scroll wheel thing, and check this out:

* With HTML if you scroll UP the fonts get bigger
* With PlainText if you scoll DOWN the fonts get bigger
February 26, 2004 8:59
Maybe my concept of up and down is different, but I seem to get the opposite as you do. When I scroll in the 'up' direction (Like I'm moving a page 'up') I get smaller HTML and larger Text.

February 27, 2004 3:53
I was griping about some font-related issues in Thunderbird the other day... why aren't email reader dev groups more sensitive to font and display issues in general? You'd think that it would be pretty high on the priority list--even higher than in a web browser, since web browsers deal with unformatted text much less often.
February 27, 2004 6:34
I was able to change the font/size of the reading panel and make them fixed by messing around with the options in word. I'm not sure how I did that as I'm not too sure how it all work together. I just noticed when I was installing some outlook extensions it asked me to close outlook and word when i only had outlook opened. I dont have office on this computer, but somewhere in the options in word there's this button called 'email options'. It didn't work straight away, so it might not be related to the settings in word. But all I messed with are font settings in outlook and word where ever I can find them... Sorry I couldn't be more helpful.
February 28, 2004 23:06
I hate the wheel in mouses, and naturally don't use a mouse with one. The text size setting in latest IE doesn't work for 90% of pages i read.. Doh!
March 02, 2004 2:44
Is my IE broken? I just tried to change the View/Text Size, only thing on this blog comment page that changed is Tracked by: links.

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way.