I'm setting up my email client on OS X, and am not sure which font to select in Mail so as to ensure a consistent appearance across devices. In particular, iOS is a problem as I cannot seem to find a list of pre-installed fonts.

I am targeting:

  • Microsoft Windows (XP+)
  • Apple Mac OS X (10.5+)
  • Apple iOS (5+)

As far as I can tell, the only candidate appears to be Arial, but I am hopeful that there are others.

  • When in doubt, use Helvetica – mouviciel Sep 21 '16 at 11:24

The list of fonts you actually need to know is the list of the web safe fonts.

The reason is that, when a mail client like Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mail on OS X or iOS displays an HTML mail message, it uses some well-established HTML layout engine. For example, Thunderbird uses the same layout engine used by Firefox, which is Gecko, and Mail uses WebKit, which is the one that renders HTML pages in Safari and Chrome.

Below is the list of web safe fonts recommended to be relied upon by w3schools.com:

Serif Fonts

  • Georgia
  • Palatino Linotype
  • Times New Roman

Sans-Serif Fonts

  • Arial
  • Arial Black (not available on iOS 5)
  • Comic Sans MS (not available on iOS 5)
  • Impact (not available on iOS 5)
  • Lucida Sans Unicode (not available on iOS 5)
  • Tahoma (not available on iOS 5)
  • Trebuchet MS
  • Verdana

Monospace Fonts

  • Courier New
  • Lucida Console

Alternative lists of web safe fonts:

Common fonts to all versions of Windows & Mac equivalents

Safe web fonts

More information: Web typography

As for iOS in particular, you can check what fonts are installed on an iOS device using Typefaces app, which is free, or using this online tool.


To know which fonts are preinstalled on iOS, you could google it on support.apple.com.

There is a font list for iOS 7.

It seems that the iOS 8 counterpart hasn't been published yet.

The union of fonts installed on Windows and that on Mac/iOS is quite small (web safe fonts). If you really care about typography you may need to learn HTML in e-mail. Good luck.


I have found this site:


where you can find a wide range of fonts that are common in these three OS. In Linux it only lists Ubuntu, in Windows part, only reaches 7, but as a reference it´s OK.


The main content of the above site, is this table:

enter image description here

  • Edited as you suggested, thanks. That's a good reference, although it's imcomplete, for the mere fact of the existance of so many distributions of Linux out there. For example, in Ubuntu 16.04 LTS, Arial is not included by default, but according to this table, in Ubuntu 11.10, it is. – WesternGun Sep 21 '16 at 11:40

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