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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:


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:


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!

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