Q&A: Grey messages and tiny type

Q A few months ago I switched to Google’s mail service, and am getting used to its quirks. However, in the last few days, when I try to delete messages, they remain in my Inbox, but the message appears as a grey page in Mail. Additionally some messages arrive with a tiny font size. What is wrong?

A Messages are greyed out in Mail like this when it cannot render the formatted text in the message, which is usually either HTML or RTF. Several issues can cause that. If it happens to messages which you are trying to delete, then it is most likely to remain so until the server has removed the message: you might like to check your settings to ensure that is working properly, and that your server connection is fully functional.

Inappropriate font sizes in messages usually occur because of odd settings in the messages themselves. Although you can change your defaults in the Fonts & Colors section of Mail’s Preferences, if the formatted content of a message overrides those you may see odd results. This is most likely when messages are in HTML format, and the composer has set the font style for very small type.

The only workaround then is to save the message and open it in an editor appropriate to its format, so that you can manually alter the font size. These issues are more likely to result from Windows users wrestling with the vagaries of Outlook.