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Is it possible to make Gmail display messages with only text/plain content using a constant width font? To clarify, I'd still prefer multipart/alternative messages with an HTML part to be shown in HTML mode. (In other words, just like Thunderbird does it.)

I receive some plain text messages with table-like formatting, which obviously depends on constant-width font. Gmail breaks the formatting like this:

alt text

I would want something like this, of course:

alt text

(Showing messages matching a certain filter (or tagged with certain label) in fixed width would be an equally good solution here, so if that's possible, please let me know!)

I looked around Gmail settings, but couldn't easily find anything related. The "Show original" option is a work-around, but it's rather clumsy if you always have to do that.

This is a repost of an old (unresolved) Super User question (Google cache). I would have rather migrated it to Webapps, but that's not possible as it seems delete-happy SU moderators have recently removed it altogether for some reason.

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5 Answers 5

Ok, you have to try Gmail Fixed Font userscript

// ==UserScript==
// @name           Gmail Fixed Font
// @namespace      http://www.indelible.org/
// @description    Fixed-font message bodies for Gmail
// @author         Jon Parise, James Tunnicliffe
// @version        1.3
// @include        http://mail.google.com/*
// @include        https://mail.google.com/*
// @include        http://*.mail.google.com/*
// @include        https://*.mail.google.com/*
// @grant          GM_addStyle
// ==/UserScript==

// Plain-text Message Body
var css = ".ii, .Ak { font: medium monospace !important; }";
// Compose Interface
css += ".editable { font: medium monospace !important; }";

if (typeof GM_addStyle != "undefined") {
} else if (typeof addStyle != "undefined") {
} else {
    var heads = document.getElementsByTagName("head");
    if (heads.length > 0) {
        var node = document.createElement("style");
        node.type = "text/css";
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If you are using Chrome, the Gmail Fixed Width Text extension takes care of it:


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+1, good to know, even if this doesn't do exactly what I want (it uses fixed width also for multipart messages that do contain a HTML part) –  Jonik Jan 5 '11 at 14:30
This doesn't seem to work with the new Gmail compose. –  C-S Feb 17 '14 at 16:38

Next you can choose "Reply" or "Forward" and change Font to Courier New.

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Frankly, this seems clumsy. Even the "show original" workaround (mentioned in the question) is handier, and what I'm looking for is something automatic... –  Jonik Jan 5 '11 at 14:33

disclosure: extension author.

If you are using chrome, you can use: https://github.com/dnozay/gmail-fixed-width-chrome-extension

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You can try Show original in right dropdown list (from ▼ right to Reply in message box header).

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Uh, thanks, but did you read the question? It said: the "Show original" option is a work-around, but it's rather clumsy if you always have to do that. –  Jonik Oct 2 '10 at 10:49
I prefer the “Message text garbled?” option because it preserves non-ASCII characters (which appear in “Show original” as quoted-printable, e.g. =C3=A9 instead of é) –  törzsmókus Oct 6 '12 at 12:28
And that one really doesn't work if the email was base64-encoded, sadly. –  me_and Jan 14 '14 at 12:43

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