What’s wrong with Outlook? – Tatham Oddie

It has been an interesting few weeks in the world of web standards for email. The boys from Campaign Monitor executed a successful awareness campaign in the form of fixoutlook.org which rapidly racked up over 24,000 Tweets and overtook the Iran Election in Twitter’s trending topics. Unfortunately for all of us, it has been a case of message received – but not understood. via What’s wrong with Outlook? – Tatham Oddie.

I build quite a few emails at work for a variety of clients, and time and time again I have to do some creative image slicing, and then build with nested tables in nested tables in nested tables, etc. just to get emails to work in Outlook 2007.

Building emails should be as easy as building a simple HTML page with some standard HTML and CSS. Since outlook 2007 uses the Microsoft Word rendering engine, email developers are now forced to write bad, bloated code to make sure that emails work correctly. Not only do we need to adjust our code, we need to adjust the designs as well, because guess what, Outlook 2007 (or rather the Microsoft Word rendering engine) has no support for background images.

There is a campaign over at fixoutlook.org – if you’re on Twitter, you can send a tweet to your account from there to help send a message to Microsoft.


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  1. #1 by Robocopy Log Scanner on September 7, 2009 - 21:01

    I havent started sending ‘pretty’ coded emails yet… (lots of \n in mine) but it seems like a minefield. Why can’t it be standardised? Emails have been around for longer than HTML, and that’s finally got the attention it needed…

  2. #2 by hotel nottingham on September 9, 2010 - 00:17

    Didn’t know that Outlook 2007 has no support for background images, that’s quite unbelievable. Thanks for the info shared, I’ll take a look at fixoutlook.org for more information on that.

  3. #3 by Copywriting Nottingham on July 8, 2011 - 05:58

    I think Outlook is a bit outdated. Thunderbird is the new Outlook from what I have heard. It would be nice to fix all these issues and have a proper Outlook.

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