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Learn to use your Zoom keys and browser settings and you'll find it quite simple to make text larger and easier to read.


Is there a way of enlarging the print size of Ask Leo! emails? My eyesight is not so good.

In this excerpt from Answercast #39, I look at a few ways to enlarge text in email to make it easier to read.

Make email larger

There's nothing that I have built into the system, or into my emails, that allow you to easily make it bigger or smaller.

However, depending on what email program or what method you're using to access your email, it could be very, very simple to make it bigger. Most email programs (when you are viewing a message) have a Zoom function.

  • My email, or any email for that matter, should be zoomable.

So, what you should look for in an email program on your desktop (like say Outlook or Thunderbird) is a View menu that includes a Zoom item.

Zoom keys

Sometimes, the plus and minus key on the numeric keypad can be used for this...potentially in conjunction with the Control key.

  • So you might use Ctrl + or Ctrl - to see if that zooms the message in and out.

Zoom the browser

If you are using web-based email like Hotmail, or Gmail, or Yahoo mail, or others, the browsers all have the ability to zoom and make the web page you're looking at bigger.

Remember, when you're looking at email online using a web-based email program, all you're looking at is a web page – so everything you can do with a web page, you can do with your email, and that does include the Zoom function that is included in almost every browser.

Zoom functions

Some browsers do zooming just a little bit differently than others or have both of two different modes available.

One mode is literally like a magnifying glass;

  • It will make the page look bigger.

It also means that the page may get bigger than your screen and you may find yourself scrolling from left to right.

  • The other technique only makes the text bigger.

It doesn't change anything else displayed in the web browser other than making the text that's displayed a little bit bigger. That will cause (or should cause) the text to reflow and actually still fit on the screen; the paragraph may have different line breaks in it, but it should still be visible.

It's the same keystroke usually:

  • Ctrl +

  • Ctrl -

  • Or a View menu

  • Or in Google Chrome, you'd look at the Wrench icon off to the right that includes all of the other options.

But View and Zoom are the words to look for. Control plus or Control minus if you have a numeric keypad (or sometimes even if you don't) are the keystrokes to play with.

You should be able to zoom just about anything, the Ask Leo! newsletter or any other email you get.

Article C5634 - July 28, 2012 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

July 31, 2012 8:54 AM

When I print an article from a website, often the print is VERY small, even tho it is very readable on my screen. Zooming in makes the print larger on the monitor but my printer doesn't see it that way. How can I make my printer understand that my 80 year old eyes need bigger print?

Thank you

July 31, 2012 11:10 AM

Try holding Ctrl while moving the scroll wheel on the mouse.

July 31, 2012 11:12 AM

My first comment needs clarified - that changes the whole deal, not just the print size.

July 31, 2012 11:19 AM

You could just as easily copy and paste the contents of the email into a word processor then you can do whatever you want with it! If it's a 'plain text' email, MS Notepad or the equivalent would suffice.

July 31, 2012 12:11 PM

In g-mail there is Default Text Styling in Lab's. This allows you to not only change default size, but also to edit fonts etc. So e-mails are auto printed as you wish.
In firefox there is an add-on called No Squint. This allows you to preset size in individual app's or in general and other things such as color. Am afraid I'm getting to need these things also.

July 31, 2012 12:26 PM

I have the same problem as Emmitt with the print being okay on screen, but too small to read from the printer. How do you change the size of the print on the printer?

Bob Tullar
August 1, 2012 5:51 AM

How do you get it to print the enlarged version?

August 2, 2012 1:51 AM

Have tried printing enlarged E-mail text and have had no problem.
The answer seems to be to enlarge the default text size (and/or colour) initially.

August 2, 2012 8:25 AM


August 2, 2012 8:41 AM

Hi Emmitt
As not too far of your age I decided to go a little further.
Easiest way is just copy and paste to word processor.
If ya were just copying Leo just do one article at a time (save ink). Copy and paste..repeat for all other articles. when happy just select all and change font size. This will mean that even the Headers (blue text) will change to whatever size ya need...Not great formatting but works to read. When finished just print all.
Just not sure why ya wanna print them as changing size on monitor is so easy re. Leo's article.
Even easier on Firefox !!!

Allyn Taylor
August 9, 2012 12:35 PM

I getit enlarged on the screen
but it prints small.-

December 24, 2012 12:47 PM

Enlarging print in received emails in Live Mail seems to be a lot more difficult than it should be. The net is alive with suggestions other than Leo's. For me, in W7, none of them work.

I can't find any zoom function in WLM. Am I looking in the wrong place?

One problem is that not all emails are in fine print, some are quite large - presumably a function of the senders' settings.

Cynthia Cunningham
January 10, 2013 7:38 AM

How do I change the text size in "Gmail' so that text is larger when I print an email message? I can't find the solution in anything I've read from you thus far. Thanks.

January 10, 2013 9:43 AM

Unfortunately, there is no easy way to enlarge email for printing. Frankly, email is not designed to be printed, it's designed to be read and replied to on-screen. Computers have numerous ways to enlarge both the DPI of a screen and/or to zoom into a webpage and make the text larger.

To print an email from Gmail with larger text is basically going to be a hack. The only thing I can think of is to copy and paste the text into a text editor, enlarge the text, and then print from there.

A possible, easier, solution would be to set up a program like Outlook or Thunderbird to download your gmail to your computer. Then you could click "Reply" on the email (so that it is editable), enlarge the text and print. The advantage of that solution is that you are also now backing up your email... which we know from Leo is very very important!

Here's some articles from Leo that will be helpful:
Is there a way of enlarging print size of email?

How do I backup my GMail?

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