How can I control the reformatting which occurs when I reply to an email?

Hello When I receive and read an email it looks one way and when I reply it gets reformatted in ways that do not match the original, messes up the format and makes it more difficult to read. I have added before and after screen captures.

What can I do to make Apple Mail create a reply which does not behave like this?
Screenshot 2023-08-14 at 4.51.18 PM
Screenshot 2023-08-14 at 4.51.28 PM

This may depend on the mail application you are using but, in (Ventura):

Settings > Composing > Responding > Use the same message format as the original message

perhaps. Also, under Fonts & Colours, you have options to choose the colour of quoted text.

In Outlook, there is a similar setting in the Composing preferences.

This doesn’t look like Mail’s default settings so I think you’ve changed something at some point and forgotten about it (easily done!). @Wrothnie has posted the solution, and it’s worth looking at your other settings while you’re in there too as there might be other things you fancy changing (e.g. I’ve disabled the function that only includes highlighted text in replies as I find it annoying).

I’d say this:
You use a font that the reciever don’t have on his or hers computer. That computer must then substitute your unrecognized font to something else.

Ie: What happens on the recievers end is uncontrollable by you.

By that reason, always use fonts that do exist on all platforms. Or no special fonts at all, that may be the easiest.

Excellent point. Correcting the settings on OP’s device will not stop the recipient’s device from rendering replies how they want them… and given that most Apple users are probably just using Apple Mail’s default settings, it does make most sense to just match that?

Thank you all for your replies and comments. Which are the most compatible fonts?

@Wrothnie Editing those settings made the difference I was looking for. Cheers!

As the original post was about replies being reformatted on the device of the person sending the reply, I don’t think you want to change any fonts - otherwise you will be changing the formatting.

I think in your example above the navy serif font is what you see when you write an email, is that right? Apple Mail sets the reading font IIRC and it’s a standard black sans-serif font, so I think we’re looking at writing mode.

Assuming I’m looking at your example correctly, that isn’t the standard font or colour for outbound emails in Apple Mail so you’ve changed it at some point. In Settings > Fonts & Colours, it’s the setting labelled “Message font”. I personally use Helvetica 16, but I doubt it matters. As mentioned, Apple Mail standardises the emails you see in reading mode in their app anyway - note how all the emails you receive have the same font and size - it’s because the app is setting them that way. You can set your writing font to whatever you like, but it doesn’t mean your recipient will see it that way. It depends what app they’re using.

Now that you’ve ticked the box to retain message formatting when you reply that should preserve some of the settings of the original email (though obviously when the sender replies again their device might not do the same so you could still end up with weird formatting in the emails).

Just saying. Normally when I reply I “snip” all text of trailing messages but keep a small extract of the relevant point from the topmost message to which I am commenting. I put a notice at the bottom of the email to document I “snipped”.

This stops leakage of information buried in the email trail that was usually never written to withstand being propagated to so many others. This can help avoid embarrassment of uninvolved people in the future too.

More often than preferred people initiate new message tails by reply-all with all trailing threads simply as they seem to not be bothered to look up an email address and star fresh.

Most email clues can discern threads to some exten and if people wish to have their threads intact it is their job to keep them intact.

Email hygiene is important … to me. It may be nearly 30 years old but Netiquette Guidelines IETF RFC 1855 (aka FYI 28) still holds as far as I am concerned. The document has not been superceded nor cancelled and the few errata are entirely typograhic in nature.

Most important is that the fonts suits me. I have Mears-Erlan syndrome so issues of readability are paramount. If a correspondent uses a font that affects me I will change it to something I can read no matter what when I respond. This especially so when they also make glaring colour choices. I use a font for my messages that suits me; if the receiver has MES too then they can adjust their copy accordingly. In the extreme I will switch the entire response to Plain Text.

Following on from the readabillity issue for comprehension I hate top-posting. I use this should anyone object.

A: Because it messes up the order in which people read text.
Q: Why is it such a bad thing?
A: Top-posting.
Q: What is the most annoying thing on USENET and in e-mail?

Following RFC 1855 I expunge all nested and irrelevant quotes from other messages in the same exchange.

When replying to a message, include enough original material to be understood but no more. It is extremely bad form to simply reply to a message by including all the previous: edit out all the irrelevant material.

And then I put my comments immediately after this snipped quote. If necessary I will adjust the Quote Level accordingly.

I applied copious seasoning of … in the quoted material.

To that end I would delete the first two paragraphs of the original and reply with something akin to

> … Google Document … work together with.
> … please confirm … 

That document looks okay but there are parts I think need to be reworded/reworked.

>  … August 15th. As part of you:

Noted and added to my diary.

Should the need every arise when the entire chain is need that is what the In-Reply-To: header is for.

And as I said in the extreme will convert the reply to plain text.