Are You Sure Your Email Displays Correctly in Outlook 2007?


HTML email has become an integral part of email marketing. We use a HTML format to make our email newsletters, sales and promotional messages more appealing, inviting and prompting the reader to take the desired action.

HTML email templates are the best choice for every email marketer who would like to send professionally looking and eye catching email newsletters. Email templates are designed in compliance with email and HTML standards and are rendered properly by email clients and web-based email services. So, if you create a newsletter on the basis of a pre-made HTML email template, you can be sure that almost all your recipients will get it in the right way. Only a part of your recipients – those who use MS Outlook 2007 – are likely to face some difficulties with viewing your email.

Recently released Outlook 2007 creates some inconveniences for email designers and marketers. If you were using Outlook 2007 you probably noticed that some HTML emails didn't display in the way they should. The reason for this "particularity" is the rendering engine in Outlook 2007.

In the earlier versions of Outlook MS Word was used to compose outgoing emails and Internet Explorer to display received messages. Outlook 2007 uses Word 2007 for both composing and displaying HTML emails. As a result, Outlook 2007 has limited capabilities for supporting HTML and CSS.

Here is a list of several HTML features that are NOT supported by Outlook 2007:

– Background images (You can still use background colors within cells, but not within entire tables)

– Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), embedded or linked (All styles must be coded, at each instance of the styled text, into SPAN or FONT tags in the body of the email.)

– CSS positioning or floats (Outlook 2007 offers limited support for CSS. That's why consider using tables instead of CSS for your email structure. The attributes such as position – absolute, float or relative – don't work. List-style tags don't work either, so you'll have to use the old-fashioned, plain old bullet points.)

– Forms (Outlook 2007 replaces the form fields with [brackets] and makes the form submissions blocked. It's recommended that you include a link to your online form into your email.)

– Animated GIFs (The first frame is loaded but the animation does not move. If you still want to use an animated gif, be sure to design it with the final image as the first frame. Outlook 2007 will show the animated gif as a static gif of the first frame.)

– Alt tags (If the image tags in the HTML code include empty Alt tags, the images come as attachments in Outlook 2007.)

– Replacing bullets with images in unordered lists

– Flash, or other plug-ins

– Frames

– Applets


However, Outlook 2007 continue supporting:

– Rowspan attributes in tables

– Colspan attributes in tables


Since Outlook has a market share of approximately 75%, it's important for the email marketers to ensure that their email newsletter is compatible with Outlook 2007 limited features. This means they need to code their messages for another inferior HTML rendering engine while almost all other email clients and browsers are not using it anymore.

Don't forget to test your email design by sending it to someone from your friends or colleagues who use Outlook 2007. They will be able to tell you which parts of your HTML email you need to edit. In addition, take time to prepare a text version of your newsletter just in case if your readers want to switch to plain text email in Outlook 2007.

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