Hi, this is Greg Shields and I am going to show you how to use Group Policy Preferences to configure Outlook Fonts and Themes. If you are in an organization where different people might be using different fonts or different themes for sending email you know that sometimes not everyone has the same creative bent as everyone else. Having a consistent experience in the email infrastructure across all your people in your organization really makes communication that much easier. Enforcing certain fonts and certain themes can ensure that everyone has that same consistent experience.

You will see here in Outlook I have taken a look at the Outlook Options screen here by clicking on File and Options and I am taking a look at the Mail node. Down here under Stationary and Fonts as you can see, is the location where I can adjust the Theme and also the Fonts for different types of email messages I may be working with. There are different themes that Outlook provides. If I click the list of themes here you can see I can choose one of the different themes that are available. Now admittedly not all of these are pretty, in fact many of them are anything but. But if you have a certain theme you may want to implement for the different users in your organization then this is the location where you would do so.

Now if I chose a theme here this is going to select that theme for just this specific user. As you well know, trying to tell users to select a theme probably means you are not going to get the response you hoped for. What is probably preferable is to use something like Group Policy Preference. Now you will see here I have the Group Policy Management Editor here. I am looking at a Group Policy Object that I created called Configure Outlook 2010. Under User Configurations are Group Policy Preferences and specifically a Registry preference here that I am going to need to create here in a second.

The problem with these registry settings is that trying to figure out exactly what the correct registry setting that you need to set can be sometimes very difficult. It depends on the application that you are trying to change. One of the ways you can about actually figuring out what those registry settings should be is with a little trick. Let's take a look here at the registry location where those setting are actually configured. This is in HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/14.0/Common/MailSetttings. Now I have found this location because I have done a little bit of searching around the Internet and I have discovered that this is probably the location where these settings are being stored.

You will notice here I have a couple of setting here for MarkCommentWith. If I double click this it says Greg Shields here in hexadecimal. But the other two settings are empty right now. What I want to do is actually set the theme for this specific user, meaning myself, and then use those settings in my Group Policy Preference. I will start by going back to Outlook. Here back in Outlook let's say I want to use the Quadrant theme. I click OK to apply the Quadrant theme and it sets my font for new mail messages and for replying or forwarding. If I want to compose and read plain text messages I can change the font here as well. Maybe instead of Calibri I want Californian, but chose OK and OK here again.

I go back to the Registry Editor, I hit F5 to Refresh and you will notice some of the registry information here is actually changed. I now have under NewTheme I have Quad 011 and I have two REG_BINARY settings here for TextFontComplex and TextFontSimple. Double clicking either of these and you can see that these hexadecimal values actually correspond to some sort of information here on the right. Now it is really not that important for me to understand what that information here is on the right. I just know that by having changed that setting in Outlook that if I capture that into a Group Policy Preference then I can deploy that out to other people in my organization.

Let's just be aware that this is the location where those setting are kept. Let me bring back up that Group Policy Preference and this time I am going to create a New Registry Item in HKEY_CURRENT_USER and I am going to navigate to the key path HKEY_CURRENT_USER/Software/Microsoft/Office/14.0/Common/MailSettings. You will see here this is just another view of the registry and in fact here is my new theme, Quad 011, TextFontComplex and TextFontSimple. If I want I can click NewTheme here and chose Select and you can see that it populates this New Registry Item with all the information that I need. If I hit OK that completes adding that Group Policy Preference. Do this two more times for the two other settings I am looking for and now I have the ability to enforce Outlook 2010 settings onto all the users in my organization.