Fixing the blurry fonts in Outlook 2007

(do you have fuzzy text in Outlook 2007? hard to read fonts? System settings for fonts broken in Office 2007? Help is at hand…).

You have to do a couple of things to fix the one bug, and I had to find all the different parts of the solution in different places, so I put them all together into one post here.



If you find yourself with Outlook 2007 (or any other office 2007), there’s unfortunately a bug (“feature”) where it overrides all your OS font settings.

This is, officially, a deliberate feature from MS, designed to “show you what it would be like if you were using Vista”. Ahem.

This is pretty nasty, since it forces the use of ugly ClearType rendering (NB: if you’ve got an expensive LCD monitor, and good eyesight, these things can harm your wellbeing – your eyes will constantly try to focus on them, even though it’s impossible, leading to headaches etc)

It’s also extremely difficult to turn off, as the option to turn it off is (allegedly) easy to find in Vista, but for XP it is hidden deep inside a page inside a dialog inside a button that replaces a menu item from previous versions of outlook inside a tab inside a dialog inside a menu item.

Oh, and the button that it’s hidden inside has nothing to do with viewing, rendering, fonts, etc – it’s for formatting your emails. So, the chances of you finding it are pretty small :). (NB: there is another way. But it requires you to create a new blank email to get access to the dialog. WTF? Microsoft’s usability people are smokin some serious illicit substances!)

But here’s the official MS post on how to do it:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/926705

Now, once you do that, you’ll find that Office 2007 is hardcoded to use a font that doesn’t work properly if you’ve turned off cleartype. Now things still look bad (although it’s no longer messing with your eyesight and inducing headaches, at least).

A friend (Rob Walsh) found this link to explain how to reset all the fonts back to the normal ones you’ve been using for years in Outlook:

http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA101209011033.aspx

But, apart from that, I’ve noticed 3 bugfixes already in 2007 which will help slightly reduce the pain of day to day life :). So, Outlook 2007 rocks!

12 Replies to “Fixing the blurry fonts in Outlook 2007”

  1. Thanks that helps a lot!
    Now is there anyway to change the fonts for the menu options, etc? those are still in blur-type.

  2. Thank you soo much! I just switched over the 2007 and have spent all afternoon changing settings on my own trying to fix it. I even went into view in outlook but who the hell would think it would be under “arrange by”?? Seriously, Microsoft must take pleasure in driving people absolutely crazy!

  3. You said, “…if you’ve got an expensive LCD monitor, and good eyesight, these things can harm your wellbeing – your eyes will constantly try to focus on them, even though it’s impossible, leading to headaches etc…” This, coming from the very guy who uses GRAY text on white background! ;-) Also, you are dead wrong about one point: Outlook doesn’t “rock”. It sucks. Hard. That’s not fanboy-trash-talk, that is due to a very long list of very specific and nasty, nasty grievances about this piece of s***t product that Microsoft has refused to fix since the Windows 3.1 days, that annoyingly persist to this day. I’m talking about fundamental usability issues, as well as egregious data integrity issues.

  4. This people of Microsoft in my opinion are unbelievable idiots spending too little time to really use their products and functionalities, but rather to implement the most unuseful things such this annoying blurry fonts (I could not even recognize a * symbol) and those tabs instead of menus, and they are just making the life of those that can use a PC so difficult. Why they can not understand this?
    And can you believe that with Outlook 2007 I just send a message to myself (in cc with the other recipients) and it was classified as spam??? So I had to add myself to the safe-senders list, but the message was not automatically moved back, I had to move it manually…
    Anyhow, thanks so much to all those like you whose help of incredible value in resolving all the issues in reasonable time frames.

  5. Awesome! Thank you guys so much! I just installed Office 2007 and thought I had to die a slow death by unreadable font!

  6. Hi,

    Thanks a lot for your help..
    fist i assumed it to be a virus..formatted my system thrice…
    Searched a lot for antivirus and all and have to amke a presentation tomo morning…
    I very heart filled thanks

  7. Yeah, same old Microsoft sh*t. Tried deleting the Segoe UI fonts…but it isn’t allowed, even though I am logged on as admin.

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