September 15th, 2009

The pain of sending HTML email with Outlook 2007

Recently it was time to re-look at our html emails working on some issues that had cropped up and general autumn cleaning.  This also coincided with Office 2007 deployed to the organisation sending the emails.  Office 2007 also means the fun of Outlook 2007.  Outlook 2007 had not been written when we last wrote our collection of html email so we also had to get them working in this fun email client.

The poor developer I put in charge had the fun of completing this project and coding like it was the 1990s.  It has already been widely reported how Office 2007 uses the Word html engine therefore ignoring all CSS.  You can join up to the http://fixoutlook.org/ campaign if you want to add your voice to try and stop this madness.

However, what has not been reported and what we found out is that when you send your test email from Outlook 2007 it has already changed the code.  This means that any testing and issues you find in any other mail client could be because you sent it with Outlook 2007 rather than the mail client you are looking in.  This caused all manner of bugs in the mail clients with no apparent cause.  This would occur even if you are sending to testing service such as Litmus (which I can recommend).

Therefore, when testing your HTML emails do not use Outlook 2007 to send you html emails for testing.


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