Home » The Blog » Changing Text Color in Replies

Changing Text Color in Replies

Using colors in email replies.

Does anyone you communicate with change the text of their reply to a different color? If so, have you wondered why, or maybe wanted to do the same but weren’t sure if that was a good idea?

Folks do this so that their replies are apparent. However, you don’t need to do that when communicating directly with me because I use a medium grey for my email text (not the default black). So if someone were to reply and their text is the default black, with my grey, you know at a glance who typed what.

Why Change Reply Colors?

I’ve done that forever. But not in the way you may think. When I reply, I have my email program configured to change the Sender’s text to a different color. In my case, a warm blue. So, in essence, the Sender’s content is “hi-lighted” by being a different color, and my replies are obvious below the text I’m replying to (down-editing).

Another reason I do this is that I discovered early on that folk’s scan. The same goes for your website content. So to make it easier for those I am providing advice, I down-edit with my reply below what I am responding to — which is in a different color than my standard text. Question (in blue), my answer (grey), statement (in blue), my reply (grey), etc.

Pretty much all email programs have the built-in ability to change text colors. This is something you would like to setup and are on Outlook here’s a step-by-step.

I use PostBox — don’t know how I would survive without it. Much more feature-rich than Outlook and also more control of the offered options as far as organizational tools. If you find your email program limiting or want more tools to be more organized — definitely check PostBox out.

Changing Reply Text Color is Okay

There is no problem with changing colors for your reply text. Nor is doing so an Email Etiquette “faux pas”. I’m writing about this because several folks have emailed asking if there were an ulterior motive for doing so.

These onliners have intimated to me that they don’t like it. It bugs them. Either the color choice is annoying, or it simply gets under their skin.

Not sure why. The color choice I get — colors have meaning. That’s why you wouldn’t use an aggressive color like red for your reply text. Because of this, I use a medium grey for my email text and warm blue for the sender’s reply text. Neither will instill any emotion or unintended tone and are easy to read.

My recommendation? Keep your text always the same color — black or greys are fine. Then, configure your email program to change the color of the content you are replying to only.

And most importantly, be careful of your color choices. (Always choose colors wisely.)

Get the word out...