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Subject:

Re: HTML rendering in Outlook 2007

From:

Jani M Kumpula <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

EmailRules Community <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Wed, 20 Jun 2007 00:02:11 +0200

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text/plain (48 lines)

HTML and CSS support in email clients has always lagged behind Web browsers.
As someone who has worked with creating HTML mail templates, the only way to
learn what works is hours of trial-and-error and testing. Eventually you get
an understanding of which tags and techniques work and stick to those, while
avoiding others that aren't widely supported. And as time goes by and email
clients become more sophisticated, you can add new techniques to your safe list.

Of course, this all goes out the window when a new version is released and
HTML and CSS support actually goes backwards, which is what happened in
Outlook 2007. Instead of using Internet Explorer's HTML rendering engine as
it always has, Outlook 2007 now uses the much more limited rendering engine
of Word 2007.

The main limitations for HTML newsletters include:

* No more support for background images (HTML or CSS-based)
* No more support for forms of any kind
* No more support for CSS floats
* No more support for CSS positioning

Microsoft has put out a document that describes in detail the HTML and CSS
that is (and isn't) supported:
http://msdn2.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa338201.aspx

In a nutshell, we're now stuck using table-based layouts for all HTML
newsletters as CSS floats and positioning are no longer supported. However,
I think the biggest adjustment is the lack of support for background images.
As a subscriber to many HTML newsletters, I notice how widespread their
usage is, and there really is no good workaround. You can create a more
complex table, slice your images differently, but as long as you have any
kind of content inside the table or cell, you're now limited to
solid-colored backgrounds.

As much as this stinks, if we want to keep reaching Outlook 2007 users with
decent looking HTML newsletters, we can grumble, but in the end there isn't
much we can do except adjust our HTML templates ... and hope that Microsoft
will come to their senses for the next Outlook.


Jani Kumpula
Senior Webmaster/User Interface Designer
L-Soft

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