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Email Development

Android Gmail App and Inbox App Still Increasing Font Size

Email On Acid

When it comes to email campaigns, we hate surprises. That's why we were worried when we got a tweet with a messed up version of our holiday newsletter and the hashtag #EPICFAIL. Oh no! You can see how the email looked, below. For some reason, Gmail also prevented our Mozify table from being replaced by the actual image, which is why the gingerbread man in the left image looks "pixelated." Of course we had to find out how we had missed this in our testing.

Before the fix. After the nowrap fix.

It quickly became obvious to us that the font size changes that others have reported in the iOS Gmail app are still affecting users of the Android Gmail app and the Gmail Inbox app. This is probably because the Android Gmail app has to be updated through the Google Play store, whereas the iOS Gmail app is essentially just a web browser built to access their service. This means that it can get "live updates" as soon as Gmail makes an update.

FreshInbox came up with this clever fix that will prevent Gmail from resizing your text. Gmail can apparently detect if its text size increase will make the text element wider than the viewing window. If this is going to happen, it chooses not to apply the text size increase. The fix uses a "nowrap" set of characters that are hidden on non-Gmail clients. This is because Gmail ignores the "display: none;" style. Their super simple fix is below.

<div style="display:none; white-space:nowrap; font:15px courier; color:#ffffff;">
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
</div>

Make sure to put the snippet in a section that is the full width of the email. You'll also want to change the color of the text in this div to match the color of the section of your email that it's in. In the example, the text is set to white.

When testing on multiple Android phones in the office, we found that the fix worked on some phones but not others. After a bit of sleuthing, we found that this was actually caused by how the user had the app configured. The fix above works for users who link to a Gmail account directly in their app configuration. However, it does NOT work for accounts that are linked using POP/IMAP.

Hope your holiday email campaigns go off without a hitch! To help prevent problems and embarrassing tweets, we recommend testing your email before you send! Email testing is a critical step in any successful email campaign.

About the Author

Geoff Phillips

Geoff Phillips

Half writer, half email builder/fixer and half customer support, Geoff is living his dream in a role that combines his many diverse interests. Code problem or tricky client got you down? Geoff's your man.

Join the Discussion

Seems like more of a hack for this specific problem than an overall fix especially if it only worked on a few phones. Do the testing apps reflect this text treatment too?
Dave
I just made a test, and i don't see this issue. Please confirm this problem still exist.
Vlad
Vlad,
This problem will not affect all emails. It really depends on your code, and the dimensions of the email. If it tests okay, it probably is okay!
Geoff Phillips
Well if it's probably ok in the tests, is it ok if I probably pay you smile
SquareBalloonEoin
Hey, I've tried this method (dashes/other characters, with and without display:none) and had no luck. also tried adding a spacer image with 700px length and still it doesn't work. tried !important on the font sizes, no hope there. what am I missing? did gmail changed the behaviour again?

BTW, that behaviour (gmail messing with text sizes etc) is not consistent - sometimes it does and sometime it doesn't - using the exact same email. The only thing I know is that it never happens on the first message on a thread (conversation) - only on following messages. Also, if I forward a messed up message, it suddenly looks alright.

Help ? smile
David
I've actually got the opposite problem - for some reason the app isn't increasing the text in my emails so it's very hard to read... Anyone know how I can trigger the gmail app to increase the font? (Emails are being sent via ActiveCampaign)
Dale

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