Fine-grained font control & better defaults for Vista/7

I’ve very recently discovered - and am trialling - eM Client after being left increasingly in dismay by the direction Thunderbird has taken since version 3.0 and the state of ‘alternative’ desktop mail clients in general. Firstly, I’d like to say that this software is a breath of fresh air. I was immediately impressed by its coherent user interface, stellar IMAP performance and its Jabber/CalDAV support, allowing for straightforward integration with Google’s services. In an era where I find myself increasingly perplexed by the UI design decisions made by developers, it’s a testament to this application that there was very little I felt needed to be changed or tweaked.

That said, it does have a weakness which quickly developed into an irritation on my part. Under Tools > Settings Read > Preferred Style , there is only a single option for the “preferred font”. This is not sufficiently fine-grained. I prefer for plain text content to employ a fixed width font and was pleased to see that it was allowed for. However, I think it is very important that the user be allowed to set the preferred font for text/html and text/plain MIME parts independently. As it stands, the preferred font is respected for HTML content but it appears to be hard coded to Courier New for plain text content. Worse, the font size is asserted for both which leads to a visually jarring imbalance in the appearance of either.

Furthermore, the default font choices throughout the application appear to be optimized for Windows XP. In my opinion, the defaults could be improved for Windows Vista and Windows 7. Ergo, I would propose the following simple changes:

  • The existing opton is labelled as Preferred font for HTML messages and constrained to influrence only HTML parts

  • An additional option labelled Preferred font for plain text messages is added and that this particular font be enforced if the Use preferred font for fixed-width plain text messages option is enabled (as opposed to disabled, as it would no longer make sense)

  • If the application detects that it is running on Vista, Windows Server 2008 or newer, the default for HTML is set to Calibri, 12pt upon first loading

  • If the application detects that it is running on Vista, Windows Server 2008 or newer, the default for plain text is set to Consolas, 10pt upon first loading

On a similar note, I think that the choice of Microsoft Sans Serif for some UI elements makes sense in XP, but reduces the overally legibility in newer versions of Windows. Therefore, I would also propose these changes:

If the application detects that it is running on Vista, Windows Server 2008 or newer then, upon first load, it should:

  • Default to Segoe UI, 9pt under Appearance > Mail

  • Default to Segoe UI, 9pt under Appearance > Calendar

  • Default to Segoe UI, 9pt under Appearance > Tasks

  • Default to Segoe UI, 9pt under Appearance > Contacts

  • Default to Segoe UI, 9pt under Appearance > Sidebar

The Groups font preferences are of lesser importance and seem fine as they are. Making these changes is not only concordant with UI trends, it makes the application feel rather more at home in Windows 7 and more pleasant to use.

thank you for your analysis and suggestions. We will consider them in the future.


Milos Kovalcik.

+1 for this (except I’d go for 8pt Segoe UI personally)

(I was going to write a similar though less detailed idea - kerframil has done an excellent job so I don’t need to)

My thoughts exactly. I am making the switch from Outlook due to poor IMAP support. I was very happy to come across eM Client as an alternative. However the font issue was driving me crazy. It was just bugging my eyes out as the defaults didn’t look right (Windows 7). I kept trying to find the right font/size combination but was having a tough time with that also - which is why I did a search to see if anyone else was having this same issue. That’s how I came across this post.

kerframil - Thank you for the suggested setting. They are just what I was looking for.

eM Client - I would definitely try to get these settings defaulted in. They look much more natural than the current defaults.

+1 to this. The default font (at least under windows 7) for both the messages grid and the reading pane is really bad…hard to read, especially in the messages grid on unread (bolded) messages I switched it to Arial size 11 for both and it looks 300% better!

I feel comfortable with most fonts but definitely need an adjustable font size for task descriptions.

There are many problems using this mail client when your screen res is large and DPI is higher in your Windows settings. This program has many layout bugs with font size in this case that are currently not addressed. It is a shame because I can’t use this mail client until these are fixed properly.

Hi when using High-DPI settings some issues may arise, we recommend using a smaller DPI settings with High-Res display, however we understand that in most cases this is not a matter of choice. That’s why we’re already working on improvements for High-DPI settings.

Thank you for your input on this and thank you for your patience,