Mac Mail Hint: Email Handwriting Fonts


A new blog reader Nancy asked a question in a comment on my Mac Mail Hint: Include Images in Email Reply post. My response was rather lengthy so I thought I would create a separate post so everyone can learn. 😉

Nancy wrote:

Stef, I frequently send eMail using Mac Mail stationery – some that I have designed, or just one of theirs. I frequently want the font to be a handwritten one. I center the lines sometimes if it is an announcement type thing or an invitation. I like to use “Bradley Hand” or “Handwriting-Dakota”, or most frequently ” Lucida Handwriting”. For more formal notes I use “Lucida Caligraphy”.

The notes always look so nice as I send them but I notice when the recipient replies to me and leaves my note in the returned reply, the font is sometimes converted to something printed and quite unattractive and unlike the effect of the script message I had sent. Is there any chart online that would tell me which Mac fonts to use to avoid them being converted from the classy handwritten or formal calligraphy to everyday print on the PCs?


Unfortunately, Nancy, fonts in emails are displayed by the fonts on the computer on which they are read. So if your email recipient has the font installed, then they will see the same as what you sent. If they don’t have the same font, then it will be automatically converted to a default fault. 🙁

For people I send frequent emails, I suggest they download and install my favorite fonts on their computer.

Now, if you aren’t sure if they will have a font, then there are a couple of ways around getting handwriting fonts into an email, but it’s not the same as writing the email:

1) You can create a transparent picture/image and embed it, not just attach it – that’s how my signature on my blog is done (shown to the right). Make sure you send the email in Rich Text. If you convert it to Plain Text it will become an attachment.

2) You can write the email message in a word processing tool and then save the message to a PDF file. Then send the PDF attachment.

Downside to either of these is that if the recipient wants to “copy” and “paste” part of the message in a reply, they have to include the original message or retype it. Also, it makes more work for you as the sender… this is why I encourage my friends/family to download the fonts I used. 😉

I also will embed an image or attache a PDF file if I want to be sure they receive the message exactly the way I want them to see it.

I also have Bradley Hand and Donnys Hand, but I have all the fonts from ”Font for Peas” (see my right sidebar towards the top for “Free handwriting fonts”). Amanda creates custom handwriting fonts for free; catch is she shares them with the world. 😀 Some people create doodle fonts, too. I use her fonts for almost all my “signs” (like at the top of this post, Wordless Wednesday, Laughter, etc.). The Cool Beans and Smiley Sun in the sign at the top of this post are both actually letters typed in doodle fonts. 🙂

UPDATE: There are two sets of fonts. Fonts for Peas and Scrapbook fonts. To download the fonts, from the link above, click on “Fonts for Peas”, on the page that comes up look for the “Download All” image and click on it. On the “Scrapbook fonts” page, look for the “Download All” image and click on it. To submit handwriting, look on the right of the “Fonts for Peas” page for the just above the “Get Fonts” image for the link. When she posts new ones, you click on “Download New”. She also has an RSS feed so you know when she posts new ones and will include links so you can download individual or all updates.

If you want to know more about “safe fonts” (none are handwriting) for Macs and PCs see Common fonts to all versions of Windows & Mac equivalents.

I hope this helps. If not, please let me know.