If you use outlook, you may have noticed that there is no default way to permanently and unilaterally change the zoom (font size) in the reading pane. If you click on a message, it will be defaulted to 100% every time. This can cause obvious problems if you like a high resolution screen for some reasons, but have trouble reading small text.

I've found a few solutions, but they are not optimal:

  1. Change DPI on the monitor - This is bad because it affects everything else on your computer too. In my personal case, all my desktop icons get bigger and arrange in a way that doesn't work for me.
  2. Purchase a third party add-on - It's not expensive, but it's very stupid that I should have to purchase anything for what should be a default accessibility feature.
  3. Hold control and use the scroll wheel - This works great ... if only it could be permanently set for all messages.

I don't know much about macros, but I understand programming just enough to get by, and I understand that you can do some pretty powerful things with them. It certainly seems that outlook supports them in a similar use case. And this post might be helpful if I understood what it said in the first place.

So a macro is a doable option, assuming it can autorun on startup.

A free add-on would be fine too. Or plug-in or whatever else might work.

  • @fredsbend: Since you asked: I would feel more comfortable about reopening this question if you had discussed why none of the answers to How can I set the zoom of the Outlook reading pane? work for you.  (In particular, mephi's answer looks promising.) – Scott Jul 15 '15 at 1:02
  • @scott Thank you for replying. Well, let's start with it being someone else's translation of an originally Russian post. Add to that, I have no idea what the first step is even saying to do. I did say "And this post might be helpful if I understood what it said in the first place." He also hasn't visited the site since 2012, so commenting is a waste of time. Showing promise is not the same thing as an answer. I can edit this in, if you think it's important of not obvious enough. – 287352 Jul 15 '15 at 2:07

Reading pane text size is determined by the sender in the same way web page design and layout is determined by the creator of the web page.

Size and format of text is set by the email sender and coded into the email by HTML.

The only way to permanently adjust the size of the text in the reading pane is to adjust the display scaling or zooming the reading pane.

There is no way to set a permanent zoom level in the Outlook reading pane.

  • 1
    "There is no way to set a permanent zoom level in the Outlook reading pane." Sadly, I've come believe that is true. No answer to this question anywhere I've looked. Seems a major accessibility failure. Take a common browser for example. It remembers my zoom level from the last session. That makes sense, as most websites I would want at about the same zoom level. – 287352 Sep 11 '17 at 23:37
  • I've used and supported Outlook professionally since Office 2003 and it has never had such a feature. Unfortunately, I think this has quite a bit to do with Uncle Charlie's use of size 26 Comic Sans, and the guaranteed insanity that would cause when viewed at an automatic 150% scaling. – music2myear Sep 11 '17 at 23:43
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    My Uncle Charlie's emails are filtered direct to trash. – 287352 Sep 11 '17 at 23:45
  • Please look at the answer from @Inigo Flores below. That works permanently. – leo4jc Apr 23 at 21:35

Not sure when this was added to Outlook, but I found a way to make the zoom setting permanent.

In Outlook, below the reading pane, click where it says 100%.

Outlook Window

Change the setting to whatever suits your needs and click on the Remember my preference checkbox.

Zoom Popup

This should make the change permanent.

  • Thank you! This works – leo4jc Apr 23 at 21:33

You may need to set the scaling for Outlook if you are using a high DPI display on Win 10.

Step 1) Use file explorer to find out where the outlook.exe file is actually located and navigate to that folder.

Step 2) RIGHT click on the outlook.exe; a menu will pop up on the left - select 'Properties' at the bottom of the menu; this will pop up a new window; select the 'Compatibility' tab at the top of the window; at the bottom of that window select 'Change high DPI settings'; at the bottom of the new window enable 'Override high DPI scaling behavior'; use the drop-down list below that to select ,System (Enhanced)'; select OK; select Apply.

Step 3) Run Outlook and it should open with the correct scaling. (You must close and reopen Outlook for this to take effect.)

This process will work for almost any program with small fonts on high DPI displays using Windows 10.

  • 1
    Hello Buster. Thank you for the response. I've had mixed success with the DPI scaling on other apps (with very poor results on Adobe products), but haven't tried on Outlook because the icons and menus are already the correct size. It is only the text in the reading pane that I wish to adjust, and even seems to need an adjustment. In RTF, email text font and size is set by the sender, then rendered on the readers machine, much like HTML in a browser. If only senders would bumb their 11 point Calibri to a 13 or 14, I'd be good to go. I'll try the DPI in a bit and get back to you. – 287352 May 13 '20 at 18:55

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