Personalizing the Mail App

by Eric Wyatt
(last updated November 1, 2021)


If you have used the Mail app in Windows 10, you know this email client is very minimalistic. It consists of three main areas referred to as panes: The left column is the Folder Pane, the middle column is the Inbox Pane, and the Reading Pane in the right column. The Mail app does offer an option not often found in many email clients—personalization. While it might have a minimalist workspace, the personalization option of the Mail app is a simple way to modify the interface of the app to suit your personal preferences.

To get started personalizing the Mail app follow these quick steps:

  1. With the Mail app open, click the Settings icon (it looks like a small gear) in the left most column. The Mail app displays the Settings menu on the right side of the Mail app.
  2. Click on Personalization. The Mail app displays the Personalization section of the Settings menu.
  3. Select the Personalization settings you desire (see below).
  4. When you are done, click anywhere outside of the Personalization section of the Settings menu to apply the settings you chose.

The Mail app has four areas which can be personalized in step 3: Colors, Mode, Folders and Messaging Spacing, and Background. (See Figure 1.)

Figure 1. Mail app showing the Personalization options


Mail provides, by default, ten colors you can choose from to personalize the app. You can also select the "Use My Windows Accent Color" option. This results in the Mail app using whatever color you have selected as your Windows color (covered under another tip).


Mail offers three mode options that alter the overall appearance of the app. No matter which option you choose, the Reading Pane will always use a white background and dark text.

  • Light Mode uses the Windows 10 light mode, overriding any display mode you have selected in your Windows settings. The left pane uses the color you have selected to tint the background image, while the Inbox Pane uses a white background with dark text.
  • Dark mode uses the Windows 10 dark mode for the app. When selected, the Folders Pane uses a dark background to tint the background image. The background of the Inbox Pane is black, while the text uses white and light colors. As stated above, the Reading Pane does not change.
  • Use My Windows Mode causes the Mail app to automatically apply whatever setting you apply globally in Window | Settings | Personalization | Colors.

Folders and Messaging Spacing

The Folders and Messaging Spacing section provides three options: Spacious, Medium, and Compact. These options determine the amount of spacing between items in the Folder and Inbox panes.


Mail, by default, has an image as the background of the app. This is a characteristic not normally found in email clients. When you are personalizing Mail the background section offers a few options to help customize the look and feel of the app.

  • Fill Entire Window Toggle fills the background image from the Folders Pane through the back of the Reading Pane when a message is not being displayed.
  • Background Image displays one of seven background images. The first option (which might be confused for an eighth background image) turns off the background image and uses whatever color you selected in the Colors section as the background for the Folder Pane and white for Reading Pane. If you do not want any of the default images you can choose your own image by clicking on the Browse button.

Once you have the Mail app personalized the way you want it, you will discover that this minimalist app offers a pleasant user experience. You may also find that it becomes your default email app.

 This tip (1192) applies to Windows 10.

Author Bio

Eric Wyatt

Eric Wyatt is a swell guy (or so his friends tell him). He is a formally trained designer and branding expert, bringing a wide range of skills to his Tips.Net articles. ...


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What is five minus 4?

2021-11-01 11:31:23

Eric Jay Toll

The Windows Mail App has amazing potential, especially for people with multiple email accounts, they can be linked and all display at one time.

In the Windows 10 version of the Mail app, it's even possible to create signatures using graphics and different fonts, font colors, bold, italic and other formatting features.

In Windows 11, all of those personalized enhancements are gone, so signatures look like they come from an iPhone and have no individuality. Blah! Another example of Microsoft taking a perfectly good product and downgrading it.

Microsoft To-do has been tweaked and is much better than before, and the Calendar is also updated nicely, but there is no sense of using either if you want to send or reply with professional-appearing or personalized email.

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