Formatting, fonts, and colors

Whether you want to add color to your greetings, emphasize key points, make your words bold, or even all three, the first step is to click the Formatting options icon Gmail Compose Formatting options icon at the bottom of the compose window.

Summary

Gmail Compose Formatting Options

Click the A icon to bring up the formatting toolbar.


Gmail Compose Formatting toolbar screenshot

Your formatting options will stay visible while you compose your message.


Gmail Compose Insert Options screenshot

Gmail Compose Insert options expanded screenshot

Hover over the + icon to bring up options to add links, images, emoticons and more.


Formatting options and keyboard shortcuts

Some formatting options can be invoked by the keyboard. You don't need to turn on Gmail's keyboard shortcuts setting in order to use them.

Tip: If you ever need to know what an icon means, or if there’s a keyboard shortcut for it, simply hover over the icon.
Icon Description Shortcut
Gmail Compose Size icon Size - change the font size of all or some text no shortcut
Gmail Compose Bold icon Bold - bold all or some of your message Crtl + b
Mac: + b
Gmail Compose Italic icon Italic - italicize all or some of your message Crtl + i
Mac: + i
Gmail Compose Underline icon Underline - underline all or some of your message Crtl + u
Mac: + u
Gmail Compose Text Color icon Text Color - change the color of all or some text, or of the text's background no shortcut
Gmail Compose Numbered list icon Numbered List - create a numbered list in your message Crtl + Shift + 7
Mac: + Shift + 7
Gmail Compose Bulleted List icon Bulleted List - create a bulleted list in your message Crtl + Shift + 8
Mac: + Shift + 8
Gmail Compose Align icon Align - click for text alignment options no shortcut
Gmail Compose Align Left icon Align Left - align text along the left side of the page. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + L
Mac: + Shift + L
Gmail Compose Align Center icon Align Center - align text in the center of the page. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + E
Mac: + Shift + E
Gmail Compose Align Right icon Align Right - align text along the right side of the page. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + R
Mac: + Shift + R
Gmail Compose Indent less icon Indent Less - move text closer to the left of the page. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + [
Mac: + Shift + [
Gmail Compose Indent more icon Indent More - indent text further to the right of the page. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + ]
Mac: + Shift + ]
Gmail Compose Quote Icon Quote - format a block of text as a quote. Click the Align icon to find this option. Crtl + Shift + 9
Mac: + Shift + 9
Gmail Compose Right to left icon Right to left* - changes the directionality of text composing no shortcut
Gmail Compose Left to right icon Left to right* - changes the directionality of text composing no shortcut
Gmail Compose Remove Formatting icon Remove Formatting - remove formatting from selected text no shortcut
Gmail Compose Insert link icon Insert link - hyperlink the selected text Crtl + k
Mac: + k

* Directionality controls are only available in the Arabic and Hebrew interfaces.


Default text style

Choose your own default text style for your outgoing messages.

  1. Click the gear in the top right and select Settings.
  2. Find the "Default text style" section in the General tab.
  3. Choose your text style using the icons above the text "This is what your body text will look like."
  4. Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page.

The Remove Formatting icon Gmail Compose Remove Formatting icon will reset the default text style.

Default text style setting