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Originally published Friday, March 1, 2013 at 12:00 PM

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PDF a better bet than email fonts

Special to The Seattle Times

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Q. Using Microsoft Outlook, I often prepare lengthy emails and typed reports. When these are sent from my computer, I’m quite satisfied with their appearance. They have nice-sized, legible type, each line of text is only 10 or 15 words long and easy to read. Any paragraphs or such that I have indented or centered on the page are right where I’d wanted them to be.

However, when my emails arrive at their destination (and as seen also in my bcc), the type size has become very small, the lines of text have become intolerably long and difficult to read, and the centered items are often strewn all over the page.

Please, is there any way that I can correct this problem so that I don’t have to constantly apologize to my recipients?

— Al Schlottman, Whidbey Island

A. Unfortunately, you can’t control what happens with fonts in recipients’ email clients.

For starters, if you’re sending messages in HTML format and the recipients don’t have the same font installed on their computer as you are using, their computer will automatically substitute a different font.

If you compose your messages in Plain Text format, you stand a better chance of not having fonts substituted. But even then, each user can configure settings for displaying Plain Text in specified fonts and sizes. (To configure this feature, go to File tab and then select Options. Next select Mail, and then Stationary and Fonts.)

One way to control the appearance of your lengthy messages and reports would be to send them as attached PDF files.

Q. Since I got my new computer with Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9, I can’t seem to add items to the Favorites list. I select the star icon (Favorites) and then “Add to Favorites.” A box comes up with the current Web page name, and I select the folder to put it in and click “Add.” The Web page doesn’t show up on the Favorites list.

The same thing happens if I use the Favorites tab at the top of the page. But if I select “Add to Favorites Bar,” it shows up on the bar and I can open the page. I can see that I will quickly fill the Favorites bar. What am I doing wrong?

— Jack Hadfield, Enumclaw

A. Rather than send you into the Windows registry file, which is where I suspect the problem is, I’d try uninstalling and then reinstalling Internet Explorer. That should get everything properly reconfigured.

By the way, the quickest way to add to Favorites — when the browser is working properly, of course — is to simply right-click on the page you want to add and select “Add to Favorites.”

Q. We have a number of recipe files in Microsoft Word (2007) documents on our HP PC running Windows 7. We would like to also save them to cloud storage ( or iCloud) so that they can be accessible portably to our iPad 2 in the kitchen while cooking.

Do you know if this is possible? Or are we trying to stretch the limits of computers and their compatibility too far?

We have looked for a solution to this via Google searches, but have not found anything that answers the basic question or whether it is possible. (I admit that I do not have the patience to check beyond the third page of responses.)

— Tom Jensen

A. I don’t see any reason why this wouldn’t be easy to accomplish. If you just want to read those files, the Apple iOS can display them without the need of any other software.

If you want to edit the documents, you’ll need to buy some software, but it’s not expensive. Apple’s Pages application costs $10. Just be forewarned that none of the Word editing applications for the iPad support all of Word’s features. But it sounds like they should be able to do what you need.

Questions for Patrick Marshall may be sent by email to or, or by mail at Q&A/Technology, The Seattle Times, P.O. Box 70, Seattle, WA 98111. More columns at


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