To Change the Look of Outlook Replies

Last reviewed on September 2, 2012

All versions of Outlook allow you to change the font used for the text you insert when you reply to a message. (You can’t change the font in a plain text message, of course.) In Outlook 97 and Outlook 98, it is also relatively easy to change the way information from incoming messages is laid out in your replies.

When your font looks tiny, its usually caused by the zoom setting. See Adjusting Outlook’s Zoom Setting for more information.

In later versions, you are stuck with the default layout for replies; the only changes you can make are to the fonts that are used for the reply.

Outlook does not offer a way to always use your desired message format (plain text or HTML), however, you can use VBA to force Outlook to always use your format for replies. While we strongly discourage this practice (especially if you are converting plain text messages to HTML), you can do so using the code listed at Always reply using the same message format

Note: When email addresses and hyperlinks in your signature contains text similar to {HYPERLINK “mailto:alias@domain.com” }, it means you have field codes visible. This is a Word feature and you can toggle between text and code by pressing Alt+F9.

A signature with field codes visible

Reply Font (no WordMail) | Reply Font (Word 2000) | Outlook 98 Reply Headers | More Information

Outlook 2007 and 2010

To change the fonts in Outlook 2010:
Go to File, Options, Mail, Stationery and Fonts.

In Outlook 2007, access this dialog through Tools, Options, Mail format dialog.

The plain text font setting is used for reading open messages and in the reading pane. The New messages and Replying or forwarding fonts are used for both HTML and RTF messages.

Outlook 2003

The fonts are changed in Tools, Options, Mail format tab, Fonts.

Reply Font (no WordMail)

Outlook 2000 and Outlook 98:

  • To set the font used in replies, choose Tools | Options | Mail Format, then click Fonts. This works only for the HTML and Rich-Text formats, not Plain Text.

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Reply Font (Word 2000)

If you are using Outlook 2000 with Word 2000, with Word set as your e-mail editor, change the way replies look by following these steps:

  1. Start Word.
  2. Choose Tools | Options | General.
  3. Click E-mail Options.
  4. On the Personal Stationery tab, click the second Font button.

Outlook 2000 always uses Email.dot as the WordMail template. You cannot set a different template as your default.

Outlook 98 Reply Headers

If you are not using WordMail and want to change the way that information from the incoming message is arranged in the reply, we have a wonderful solution provided by widget wizard Ben Goetter. This method does not work in Outlook 2000, because Microsoft removed this feature.

The key to Ben’s procedure is a group of files in the \Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office\Headers folder (or its equivalent on your system). The Reply.usa file contains the template for replies, while Reply.rtf is a copy of that template. Here’s what to do:

    1. Make a backup copy of Reply.usa and Reply.rtf.
    2. Open Reply.rtf in WordPad (or Word).

  1. To change the font for the IMEP reply header and quote mark, change the font for the “—–Original Message—–” line.
  2. To change the font and layout of the regular Outlook reply, change the fonts and move around or remove fields as you see fit. I think they’re pretty self-explanatory. The fields in [] brackets use information from the incoming message. Be careful; it’s likely that changing them could affect the Outlook IMEP reply header as well.
  3. Use File | Save to save Reply.rtf.
  4. Use File | Save As to save it also as Reply.usa, making sure to keep it in RTF format.
  5. Close Word or WordPad.

These changes take effect the next time you reply to a message.

You might notice that the Headers folder also contains similar templates for forwarded messages, appointments, folder posts and tasks.

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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