Tip 875: How to change the +Body style font in Outlook

Changing the default fonts in Outlook is easy: just go into the Stationery and Fonts dialog1 and assign new fonts. The font for new mail messages is used for composing HTML email and in the notes field of calendar, contacts, and task items. ("Sticky" Notes have their own font setting.) The font for composing and reading plain text messages is also used when 'read as plain text' is enabled. You can select a Theme (stationery) to use, if desired, but specific stationeries may have font assignments which override the settings in this dialog.

However, these options won't change the font assigned to +Body style which is the default "font" in Outlook 2007/2010. If you want to change the +Body style, you need to change the style, which is also easy to do, when you know where to look.

Set the body styleFrom a new message form (actually, any new item will do), switch to the Format text tab and expand the Change Style button. Change the fonts (and colors & spacing if desired), then click on Set as Default to set this as the +Body style in all new items. (Paragraph Spacing is not active unless the cursor is in the message body.)

Change body style or just the Font?

Is there any benefit to changing the body style instead of just assigning a new font in Stationery and Fonts? Not that I've discovered. Theoretically, changing the style could update all items using the generic body style, but I have yet to find any saved items that use the generic body style – the formatting is saved with the text. When you change the style while composing a message or adding notes to an item, it changes font used in the entire message, but I see more questions from people who want to change the style in previously saved items.

Update: As you can see in the following screenshot, updating the Body style instead of just changing the Font has the potential to eliminate confusion.

"Why in the heck is Outlook not using my default font when i type a note after my signature (or use my signature as a header)?"

If the Body font was set to Algerian, the last line of the message would use Algerian and the user would not wonder why Outlook wasn't working as expected. Problem solved. :)

Font change and Body style font

Change the font in Outlook[1]Access the Stationery and Fonts dialog through File, Options, Mail (the Stationery & Fonts button is near top of the dialog) in Outlook 2010 and in Tools, Options, Mail format tab when using Outlook 2007 and older.

In screenshot: 1) +Body style is set in the Fonts dialog but the font used for the Body style is not changed in this dialog.
2) If you select a different default font, it will not apply to the font used for the Body style, which is often the style used for the paragraph after the signature.

Published June 9 2011

  • susanne casey

    Just wondering why OUTLOOK doesn't have the margin like OE. I am using OUTLOOK but when I do stationery and got to type the email...it ends up on the stationery...not beside it like in OE? I hit the button to get it to the middle but it always ends up printing on the stationery. I used OE for years but switched to OUTLOOK for a change.....can stationery be done same way with OUTLOOK? I have adapted much of OUTLOOK to act like OE but cannot figure out this. Or is this just the way OUTLOOK is? Thanks

  • Diane Poremsky

    What version of Outlook? Does the stationery have a vertical image on the left? If so, and if you use Word as the editor (or Outlook 2007/2010) you can adjust the left margin inward.

  • susanne casey

    oh I have 2003 but will try that...thank-you for the information!!

  • Diane Poremsky

    See Setting margins in email for some tips. You don't want to adjust them too much because it can affect how it looks to the recipient.

  • Alan

    i set default line spacing, it does work in new mail session,but when i reply a mail, the spacing set previous is not valid. any solusion? Thank you.

  • Diane Poremsky

    Replies use the setting found in the messages you are replying to. Sorry. Select your text or the entire message and apply the No Spacing (or your desired style) style to the message (on the Format text tab in outlook 2007/2010.)

  • Polli

    I am trying to change the font and size to Calibri 14 in Outlook 2010, tried changing the Normal +Body style, I select to use the change in new documents based on the template. But when I open a new email the font is still size 11.

    Why won't this stick?


  • David Gray

    I opened the underlying Microsoft Word template, which is NormalEmail.dotm, changed the body style directly, and saved it. While that SHOULD have banished Calibri to a black hole, it's still there. My next stop is the Themes directory, even if it means hacking them.

  • Lee C.

    Outlook 2013 is driving me crazy. I changed the +Body font, but it keeps using stupid Calibri for new mail and replies. Microsoft expended tons of effort to simplify the UI in 2013; they desperately need to do the same for actual functionality. Slick UI, way overly complex--and buggy--functionality. After a decade of people struggling to change such a basic setting, it's still a huge pain that does not work for most people. Good job, Microsoft.