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I'd like to increase the font size used in Thunderbird when replying to an email in text format. I don't see any such an option in Tools/Options. Is there any way to set this?

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The following will set the size on your plain text emails when replying:

Tools > Options > Display > Formatting

Then head down to the Fonts & Encodings section and click Fonts...

The Fonts & Encodings dialog will pop up.

Head down to the Monospace line and adjust the Size (pixels) on the far right.

fonts and encodings dialog

Click OK on the dialog. Then click OK on the Options popup.

Now when you reply to an email, and you have the default mode to send out in plain text, the font will display in the adjusted size.

If you want to read in a larger font, adjust the value in the Minimum font size... setting of the Fonts & Encoding dialog.

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The setting you described only effects the font size when writing new email in my Thunderbird. It does not change the font size neither when reading nor when replying. –  Piotr Dobrogost Sep 27 '09 at 18:02
    
Have taken that little oversight into account and updated the answer to increase the font size across the board. –  random Sep 27 '09 at 23:21
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