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Enlarge Text on Your Computer Screen

Patsy from Winnsboro, Tx. Asks:

Several years ago, I found a tip in this newsletter about how to enlarge your entire emails. Since then I have a different computer and I am getting older and vision is worsening and I can hardly read the emails that I receive. Do you know how to change this?

It can be very frustrating when you have to strain to read your incoming emails. Thanks to the technological advancements of today, there are quite a few alternatives for enlarging text on your computer. There’s no sense in dragging out the magnifying glass or investing in a high powered magnifier in order to make it easier to read email messages.

The techniques mentioned below include a variety of ways to alter text on a computer. Changing computers often means a change in the type of operating software being used. This means the way used for altering text on the last computer might not work for the new computer system. For this reason, it’s important to know which type of operating system your computer uses.

Most email accounts have settings that can be easily altered to adjust the size of the text in an outgoing email, which means you can possibly ask the person sending emails to make the text larger for you. This is common with friends and family members, but isn’t always possible with corporate emails or others that are sent out in masses. For example, gMail offers different sizes of text; small, normal, large, and huge.

Go to Settings in the upper right portion of the screen, then under the tab labeled Labs, scroll down until you see the section for Default Text Styling. This is going to be the size, color, and font style your text will automatically go to when you are typing an email to send out. Incoming emails won’t take on the characteristics you choose here. For instance, if you click all the appropriate boxes in the Default Text Style section to make your font blue Comic Sans MS, italicized, and huge, then all of your outgoing emails will be automatically written in this type of text.


There are a few more steps involved with changing the font size of Outlook Express or Windows Mail. The following instructions will increase the fonts for various interface elements, as well as message lists. The steps described below might vary slightly for the different versions of Windows.

Windows XP

First of all, click on the Start button in the lower left hand corner of the screen. Once the box opens up, double click on the Control Panel. This will then open up a new page with various icons on it. Look for the word Display and double click on it. You will then have a small box appear in the middle of the screen that is titled ‘Display Properties’.


There are 5 tabs located at the top of this box. Open the tab labeled Appearance and click on the button at the bottom right corner of the box labeled Advanced. This will open another box with a new drop down menu. In this menu, click on the word Icon and then choose the type of font and size you wish the text to be shown in. When you think you have the text how you want it, click OK.


Changing the font style and size in this manner will affect the icon text in the toolbar on Windows Mail or Outlook Express, as well as the messages and list of folders.

Windows 7

Click Start, then Control Panel. Click on Appearance and Personalization.


In the next window, select Display. From there, click on Make text and other items larger or smaller.


The screen below will offer options from which you can choose text sizes.


A more tedious way of increasing the size of the text in an email is to highlight the entire email and cut and paste it into a Word document where the size of the text can then be increased. You could also hit the Reply button on the email, highlight the email and choose a larger text size for the highlighted section. For Outlook Express or Windows Mail, go to View and select Text Size from the menu. This will allow you to choose the size of font in which you wish to read an email.


A trick that works for not only email messages but also for web pages involves holding the CTRL key down as you scroll with the mouse. You’ll need to have a mouse that has the scroll wheel on it in order to utilize this text enlarging alternative. As the CTRL key is held down, rolling the scroll wheel up causes the text size to increase, which means scrolling in the opposite direction will decrease the text size.

Hopefully you’ll be able to find one of these techniques for enlarging email text that works best for you. Some people aren’t checking their emails on a daily basis, so they don’t feel the need to go to all the trouble of altering the text on the entire computer. Using the CTRL/scroll method works just fine for individuals who rarely check email messages. Finding the right method for you depends on the extent of your computer usage, as well as the type of operating system you have installed in the computer.

~Cory Buford