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Font settings in Thunderbird

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-This article provides an overview of the various font/character settings in Thunderbird, which are often a source of confusion for new users. Broadly speaking, font settings can apply to three things in Thunderbird: message display, message composition, and the Thunderbird user-interface. See the "Terminology" section below for more information on key font-related terms used in the Thunderbird menus and dialogs. +This article provides an overview of the various font/character settings in Thunderbird, which are often a source of confusion for new users. Broadly speaking, font settings can apply to three things in Thunderbird&mdash;message display, message composition, and the Thunderbird user-interface&mdash;and the settings for each are controlled separately.
-(This article does ''not'' cover other aspects of message display and composition, such as text wrapping, background colors or images.)+==Basic terminology==
 +Key concepts and terms related to font/character settings in Thunderbird:
 +* Text format: '''plain text''' vs. '''HTML'''&mdash;see the overview in the [[Plain text e-mail (Thunderbird)|Plain text e-mail]] article.
 +* Character width: '''variable width''' (proportional) vs. '''fixed width''' (monospace)&mdash;in fixed width fonts, all characters are the same width. E.g., "i" and "l" are not narrower than "w" and "O", as they would be in a variable width font ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typeface#Proportionality visual examples]). Traditionally, plain text messages are viewed in a fixed width font, but you can set Thunderbird to use a variable width font if you prefer.
 +* Font style: '''Serif''' vs. '''Sans-serif'''&mdash;see these [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serif visual examples]. Serif is the default variable width font style in Thunderbird, but you can change it to Sans-serif if you prefer.
 +* '''Character encoding'''&mdash;most likely you won't need to worry about this unless you send/receive messages in more than one language. E.g., if you send a message containing Japanese characters, you won't want to use to "Western" character encoding because the Japanese characters won't get rendered properly.
==Message display== ==Message display==
-This refers to what messages look like when you view them. Changing the message display settings will not affect your outgoing messages in any way. For instance, if you set Thunderbird to display messages in Verdana font, size 24 (pixels), this does not mean that your outgoing messages will be sent in the same font and same size by default. (One exception: beginning with Thunderbird 1.5, the setting for character encoding for ''outgoing'' mail now appears in a panel inside the Display settings dialog.)+This refers to what messages look like when you view them. Changing the message display settings will not affect your outgoing messages in any way. For instance, if you set Thunderbird to display messages in Verdana font, size 24 (pixels), this does not mean that your outgoing messages will be sent in the same font and same size by default.
===Settings via the Options/Preferences dialog=== ===Settings via the Options/Preferences dialog===
-Accessed via "[[Menu differences in Windows, Linux, and Mac|Tools -> Options]] -> Display".+On Windows, these settings are accessed in Thunderbird via "Tools -> Options -> Display". Linux and Mac OS X users, see [[Menu differences in Windows, Linux, and Mac]].
-* Formatting ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Formatting") : plain text and HTML options+* Text format ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Formatting"): if you don't like viewing plain text messages using a fixed width font, this is where you can change it to use variable width instead.
-** Wrapping problems in Compose window if you use a variable width font such as Verdana for your standard monospace (fixed width) font [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=227186]+* Font and font size ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Fonts -> Fonts..."): here you can set your preferred fonts and font sizes for message display.
-* Character encoding (for message display, labelled "Incoming")+** Using the "Proportional" pulldown menu, you can choose either Serif or Sans-serif as your default variable width font. Using the "Serif" and "Sans-serif" pulldown menus, you can choose the specific fonts (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.) that you want to use for each font style.
-* Proportional and monospace (i.e., same as variable width and fixed width)+** Font sizes are set separately for "Proportional" (variable width) and "Monospace" (fixed width) fonts.
-** Switching between Serif and Sans-serif for Proportional display seems to be broken in 1.5 (works only when composing), but maybe that's only me [http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=366369]+** Minimum font size: it's useful to choose a minimum font size if you sometimes receive HTML-formatted messages where the sender uses font size that's too small on your monitor.
 +** Language-specific font settings: in addition to your standard font settings, you can also adjust the font settings for other languages that you use. In the "Fonts for" pulldown menu, select the language you want to change (e.g., "Japanese"), and then make your font settings as desired.
 +* Character encoding ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Fonts")
 +** Thunderbird will normally auto-detect the character-encoding of messages that you view, but you can set a default character encoding for message display by using the "Incoming Mail" pulldown menu.
 +** "Outoing Mail" pulldown menu: although this is listed in the "Display" dialog, it's actually not a message display setting, as it ''does'' affect messages that you send. (See the "Message composition" section below).
===Other message display settings=== ===Other message display settings===
-* "View -> Text Size -> Increase / Decrease / Normal": select "Increase" or "Decrease" to ''temporarily'' display the text in a larger or smaller size. Thsi display size will reset to normal the next time you start up Thunderbird.+* Font size temporary adjustment: "View -> Text Size", then select "Increase" or "Decrease" to ''temporarily'' display the text in a larger or smaller size. This display size will reset to normal the next time you start up Thunderbird.
-* "View -> Message Body As -> Original HTML / Simple HTML / Plain Text": the "Simple HTML" choice seems to display the message without any HTML formatting except bold and italics.+* HTML simplification: "View -> Message Body As -> Original HTML / Simple HTML / Plain Text". The "Simple HTML" choice seems to display the message without any HTML formatting except bold and italics.
-* Signatures are normally displayed in gray rather than black. Advanced users can set a different display color as [[Signature display color | described here]].+* Signature color: text below the signature separator ("-- ") is normally displayed in gray rather than black. Advanced users can set a different display color as [[Signature display color | described here]].
==Message composition== ==Message composition==
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* Font, in Compose window. As noted above, "Variable width" actually doesn't do anything to the text in the message body (leaves the font unspecified); "Fixed width" encloses the selected text in <nowiki><tt></nowiki> tags. * Font, in Compose window. As noted above, "Variable width" actually doesn't do anything to the text in the message body (leaves the font unspecified); "Fixed width" encloses the selected text in <nowiki><tt></nowiki> tags.
* Character encoding (via "Options -> Character Encoding") * Character encoding (via "Options -> Character Encoding")
- 
- 
-* sigs (take this out?) 
==Thunderbird user-interface== ==Thunderbird user-interface==
This refers to the font settings that are used in the menus, folder pane, message-list pane, and other parts of the Thunderbird user-interface. This refers to the font settings that are used in the menus, folder pane, message-list pane, and other parts of the Thunderbird user-interface.
- 
-==Terminology== 
-Key terms that appear in the Thunderbird menus and dialogs in relation to font/character settings: 
-* Text format:  
-** [[Plain text e-mail (Thunderbird) | plain text]]  
-** [[HTML]] 
-* Character width:  
-** variable width (proportional): e.g., an "i" or an "l" is slimmer than an "O" or a "w" 
-** fixed width (monospace): all characters are the same width ([http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typeface#Proportionality visual examples]) (and yes, TB uses both sets of terms [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=323517]) 
-* Font style:  
-** [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serif serif] 
-** [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sans-serif sans-serif] 
-* Font size:  
-** [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel pixels] 
-** small-medium-large (in HTML options; note the absence of ''points'') 
-* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_encoding Character encoding] (can apply to both display and composition) 
==Related articles== ==Related articles==
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* [[Default HTML font for new messages (Thunderbird)|Default HTML font for new messages]] * [[Default HTML font for new messages (Thunderbird)|Default HTML font for new messages]]
* some of the articles in [[:Category:Visual customizations (Thunderbird)|Visual customizations]] * some of the articles in [[:Category:Visual customizations (Thunderbird)|Visual customizations]]
 +* [[Signatures (Thunderbird)|Signatures]]
 +* [[International characters]]
 +
 +==Bug reports==
 +* TB UI uses two sets of terms for font width [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=323517]
 +* Wrapping problems in Compose window if you use a variable width font such as Verdana for your standard monospace font [https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=227186]
 +* On Japanese WinXP, TB 1.5, switching between Serif and Sans-serif for Proportional display seems to be broken in 1.5 (works only when composing) [http://forums.mozillazine.org/viewtopic.php?t=366369].
==External links== ==External links==
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* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel Pixel] * [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pixel Pixel]
* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_%28typography%29 Point (in typography)] * [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Point_%28typography%29 Point (in typography)]
 +* [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Character_encoding Character encoding]

Revision as of 12:45, 19 January 2006

UNDER CONSTRUCTION...
(please don't categorize this page yet)

This article provides an overview of the various font/character settings in Thunderbird, which are often a source of confusion for new users. Broadly speaking, font settings can apply to three things in Thunderbird—message display, message composition, and the Thunderbird user-interface—and the settings for each are controlled separately.

Contents

Basic terminology

Key concepts and terms related to font/character settings in Thunderbird:

  • Text format: plain text vs. HTML—see the overview in the Plain text e-mail article.
  • Character width: variable width (proportional) vs. fixed width (monospace)—in fixed width fonts, all characters are the same width. E.g., "i" and "l" are not narrower than "w" and "O", as they would be in a variable width font (visual examples). Traditionally, plain text messages are viewed in a fixed width font, but you can set Thunderbird to use a variable width font if you prefer.
  • Font style: Serif vs. Sans-serif—see these visual examples. Serif is the default variable width font style in Thunderbird, but you can change it to Sans-serif if you prefer.
  • Character encoding—most likely you won't need to worry about this unless you send/receive messages in more than one language. E.g., if you send a message containing Japanese characters, you won't want to use to "Western" character encoding because the Japanese characters won't get rendered properly.

Message display

This refers to what messages look like when you view them. Changing the message display settings will not affect your outgoing messages in any way. For instance, if you set Thunderbird to display messages in Verdana font, size 24 (pixels), this does not mean that your outgoing messages will be sent in the same font and same size by default.

Settings via the Options/Preferences dialog

On Windows, these settings are accessed in Thunderbird via "Tools -> Options -> Display". Linux and Mac OS X users, see Menu differences in Windows, Linux, and Mac.

  • Text format ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Formatting"): if you don't like viewing plain text messages using a fixed width font, this is where you can change it to use variable width instead.
  • Font and font size ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Fonts -> Fonts..."): here you can set your preferred fonts and font sizes for message display.
    • Using the "Proportional" pulldown menu, you can choose either Serif or Sans-serif as your default variable width font. Using the "Serif" and "Sans-serif" pulldown menus, you can choose the specific fonts (Arial, Times New Roman, etc.) that you want to use for each font style.
    • Font sizes are set separately for "Proportional" (variable width) and "Monospace" (fixed width) fonts.
    • Minimum font size: it's useful to choose a minimum font size if you sometimes receive HTML-formatted messages where the sender uses font size that's too small on your monitor.
    • Language-specific font settings: in addition to your standard font settings, you can also adjust the font settings for other languages that you use. In the "Fonts for" pulldown menu, select the language you want to change (e.g., "Japanese"), and then make your font settings as desired.
  • Character encoding ("Tools -> Options -> Display -> Fonts")
    • Thunderbird will normally auto-detect the character-encoding of messages that you view, but you can set a default character encoding for message display by using the "Incoming Mail" pulldown menu.
    • "Outoing Mail" pulldown menu: although this is listed in the "Display" dialog, it's actually not a message display setting, as it does affect messages that you send. (See the "Message composition" section below).

Other message display settings

  • Font size temporary adjustment: "View -> Text Size", then select "Increase" or "Decrease" to temporarily display the text in a larger or smaller size. This display size will reset to normal the next time you start up Thunderbird.
  • HTML simplification: "View -> Message Body As -> Original HTML / Simple HTML / Plain Text". The "Simple HTML" choice seems to display the message without any HTML formatting except bold and italics.
  • Signature color: text below the signature separator ("-- ") is normally displayed in gray rather than black. Advanced users can set a different display color as described here.

Message composition

This refers to the font/character settings that you use in messages that you compose and send to others.

Setting your standard preferences

  • For each account, do you normally want to compose in HTML or plain-text?
  • Your standard HTML font settings, for when you do compose in HTML mode, via the "HTML Options" button:
    • Font: Note that "Variable width" actually doesn't do anything to the text in the message body (leaves the font unspecified); "Fixed width" encloses the selected text in <tt> tags.
    • Size: The use of small-medium-large for font sizes. Why not "absolute" size like points instead? (frequent Q)
    • Color: if you must...
  • Outgoing character encoding: as noted above, this is accessed via "Tools -> Options -> Display".
  • "Send Options" for text format (if you compose in HTML mode it doesn't mean you have to send in HTML)

Per-message settings

Things you can change on the fly when composing, to override your standard font preferences.

  • Switch HTML/plain-text on a per-message basis
  • Font, in Compose window. As noted above, "Variable width" actually doesn't do anything to the text in the message body (leaves the font unspecified); "Fixed width" encloses the selected text in <tt> tags.
  • Character encoding (via "Options -> Character Encoding")

Thunderbird user-interface

This refers to the font settings that are used in the menus, folder pane, message-list pane, and other parts of the Thunderbird user-interface.

Related articles

Bug reports

  • TB UI uses two sets of terms for font width [1]
  • Wrapping problems in Compose window if you use a variable width font such as Verdana for your standard monospace font [2]
  • On Japanese WinXP, TB 1.5, switching between Serif and Sans-serif for Proportional display seems to be broken in 1.5 (works only when composing) [3].

External links

Wikipedia articles: