Adjusting Outlook's Zoom setting: Fonts are tiny in messages and replies

Last reviewed on August 3, 2013

I get quite a few complaints from people who say their fonts are tiny (or huge) or the font used for the reply shrinks yet Microsoft Outlook shows they are using a normal size font (such as 10 or 12 pt).

This is caused by the zoom setting. The easiest fix is to hold Ctrl as you roll the mouse wheel (this is the likely cause for many people).

Keyboarders can use the Ctrl and plus (+) or minus (-) keys to change the zoom level in increments or Ctrl and the zero (0) key to go to 100%. You can also click the Zoom button and set it back to 100%.

You can also use the Zoom button on the ribbon. Click it to open the zoom dialog and select the desired zoom level.

Zoom button on ribbon

Outlook 2010 (and Outlook 2013) have a zoom slider in the main Outlook window status bar (under the To-Do bar on the right side). Use this slider to adjust the zoom in the reading pane. If you prefer, you can click on the zoom % (100% in the screenshot) to open the zoom dialog.

zoom slider in status bar

Many times when you make the change to a message you are composing and send it, the next message you compose reverts to the goofy zoom setting. This is because making changes to a message then sending the message applies the changes to that message only. If you make the changes then close the message, it should apply the changes to all future messages.

Note that changing the zoom setting is not persistent for reading messages. To make the zoom level persistent, you need to use an add-in or a macro. A list of zoom tools is in the Tools Section and you'll find a macro on page 2: Macro to set the zoom level

The "zoom problem" generally affects only messages you compose. If you are receiving messages with huge letters and the font size is large (e.g., 100 pt), see Help! My Fonts are Huge!

When composing message, zoom is always on

When the font is smaller (or larger) than the font size indicates, click the zoom button to changeWhen zoom is stuck on a value (usually a tiny font), you can reset it by changing the zoom level then closing, but not sending, the message. If you change the zoom level then send, the change applies only to the message you changed, not to future messages.

  1. Open a new message
  2. Click the Zoom button on the ribbon
  3. Change the zoom to the desired level
  4. Close the message.
  5. Click new message (or reply) and the zoom should be the desired level.


Zoom Email Windows

The Zoom Email Windows tool for Outlook automatically zooms all Outlook reading pane windows. It zooms every Outlook window to your specified zoom factor. It's perfect for being able to instantly and clearly see the email and other Outlook windows. Enter code WD9BHK53 during checkout.


ZoomIn can save your preferred Outlook email zoom setting.

Set the zoom level using VBA

You can use VBA to force the zoom level in Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010, or when using Word as the email editor. Don't forget to set the desired zoom level in this line:
wdDoc.Windows(1).Panes(1).View.Zoom.Percentage = 150
To use the macro:

  1. Set your macro security to Low.
  2. Open the VB editor using Alt+F11
  3. Expand Project1 to show ThisOutlookSession
  4. Paste the macro in ThisOutlooksession
  5. Set a reference to Microsoft Word in Tools, References
  6. Click in the Application_Startup macro and press the Run button to kick start it without restarting Outlook.

Option Explicit
 Dim WithEvents objInspectors As Outlook.Inspectors
 Dim WithEvents objOpenInspector As Outlook.Inspector
 Dim WithEvents objMailItem As Outlook.MailItem
 Private Sub Application_Startup()
 Set objInspectors = Application.Inspectors
 End Sub

Private Sub Application_Quit()
 Set objOpenInspector = Nothing
 Set objInspectors = Nothing
 Set objMailItem = Nothing
 End Sub
Private Sub objInspectors_NewInspector(ByVal Inspector As Inspector)
 If Inspector.CurrentItem.Class = olMail Then
 Set objMailItem = Inspector.CurrentItem
 Set objOpenInspector = Inspector
End If
 End Sub
 Private Sub objOpenInspector_Close()
Set objMailItem = Nothing
 End Sub
Private Sub objOpenInspector_Activate()
Dim wdDoc As Word.Document
 Set wdDoc = objOpenInspector.WordEditor
 wdDoc.Windows(1).Panes(1).View.Zoom.Percentage = 150
End Sub

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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