Why Does Printer Print Emails Smaller Than Original Size?

by Amanda Kondolojy

Although an email may look nice on your screen, complete with HTML formatting, pictures, and plenty of emoticons, trying to print it out may make it a little less pretty. Depending on your operating system, printer and printer drivers, you may lose words, pictures may disappear or the whole thing may shrink. If your problem is the latter, several factors may be the culprit, and several steps can be taken to remedy the situation.

An Email

Screen Resolution Does Not Match Printer Resolution

If the printer does not match the resolution of the email on screen, it may print out smaller. This is particularly true if you are using webmail, as providers such as Yahoo and Gmail are optimized for a widescreen display. However, this can be rectified if you use your webmail's "print this email" function, which removes widescreen elements from the screen and lowers the resolution to a baseline standard.

Drivers Do Not Automatically Resize Emails

Although printer drivers have come a long way in terms of becoming "smarter," few have the ability to detect document size and automatically adjust to the paper size. If this is the case, you will have to resize the email yourself by either using the email printing function described above or pasting the email into a word processing document.

Images Interfering with Text Size

If you are trying to print an email with lots of pasted images, then printing it may be a problem, especially if the images are irregular size. In an effort to accommodate the images, text size may be reduced to fit everything onto one page. To combat this, try resizing the images in the email or using the "print email" function.

Making Room for Other Page Elements

If you have an email with lots of rich text or HTML formatting, along with the borders of a webmail client, the text can become marginalized during print. The text can also be changed to fit with other formatting elements. To combat this, you can paste the text into a word processing document.

Font Is Too Small

Although 10 point font can look big on your computer screen, it may end up being too small to read on a printed page. If the font is too small, you can use your email service's text editor to resize the font. Many have a scalable font system that allows you to change the font based on a sliding scale that goes from smallest to largest. You can also paste the text into a word processing document and resize the text from there.