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Why do my newsletters look "odd" in Outlook?

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The newsletters we create and distribute for clients are typically built using HTML code and inline CSS.

Most modern email clients, like Gmail and Apple mail use "rendering engines" that can read and interpret this code and CSS just like a modern browser, so what you see in your email client more or less matches the version you see when you click the "Web Version" link.

Unfortunately, for reasons it's not worth getting into here, Microsoft Outlook doesn't. It uses a rendering engine built for Microsoft Word! Moreover, there are loads of different versions of Outlook out there and in use, and each uses a slightly modified version of the rendering engine.

What all this techno-jargon means is that HTML newsletters can look a bit odd in Outlook, even when they look 100% perfect in all other email clients.

We cannot influence the way that Microsoft Outlook or other email clients render HTML emails. We test in most versions of Outlook and try to get things as close to perfect as possible, but on some machines, with specific setups, things won't look right.

While your emails may look fantastic in Gmail, they may sometimes appear irregular when in Outlook.

Known issues include;

  • Buttons
  • Centre-aligned images
  • Embedded fonts
  • Padding/spacing
  • Line-height
  • Link colours
  • Coloured lines at the bottom of some content areas

When designing and creating HTML newsletters we do our absolute best to ensure they look right for everyone, but ultimately we're left with two choices;

  1. Make newsletters that work in almost all email clients but might look odd in Outlook.
  2. Make newsletters that should look right in Outlook but will almost certainly look odd in all others.

In 2019 Outlook accounted for less than 6% of email client use, and almost all of that was corporate users.

For this reason, unless otherwise instructed, we always go for option 1.

If Outlook rendering is essential to you, please inform us, and we'll opt for option 2.

REMEMBER: At the top of all newsletters is a "WEB VERSION" link, so everyone can see a correctly rendered version in their browser if they wish.

Why do my newsletters look "odd" in Outlook?

The newsletters we create and distribute for clients are typically built using HTML code and inline CSS.

Most modern email clients, like Gmail and Apple mail use "rendering engines" that can read and interpret this code and CSS just like a modern browser, so what you see in your email client more or less matches the version you see when you click the "Web Version" link.

Unfortunately, for reasons it's not worth getting into here, Microsoft Outlook doesn't. It uses a rendering engine built for Microsoft Word! Moreover, there are loads of different versions of Outlook out there and in use, and each uses a slightly modified version of the rendering engine.

What all this techno-jargon means is that HTML newsletters can look a bit odd in Outlook, even when they look 100% perfect in all other email clients.

We cannot influence the way that Microsoft Outlook or other email clients render HTML emails. We test in most versions of Outlook and try to get things as close to perfect as possible, but on some machines, with specific setups, things won't look right.

While your emails may look fantastic in Gmail, they may sometimes appear irregular when in Outlook.

Known issues include;

  • Buttons
  • Centre-aligned images
  • Embedded fonts
  • Padding/spacing
  • Line-height
  • Link colours
  • Coloured lines at the bottom of some content areas

When designing and creating HTML newsletters we do our absolute best to ensure they look right for everyone, but ultimately we're left with two choices;

  1. Make newsletters that work in almost all email clients but might look odd in Outlook.
  2. Make newsletters that should look right in Outlook but will almost certainly look odd in all others.

In 2019 Outlook accounted for less than 6% of email client use, and almost all of that was corporate users.

For this reason, unless otherwise instructed, we always go for option 1.

If Outlook rendering is essential to you, please inform us, and we'll opt for option 2.

REMEMBER: At the top of all newsletters is a "WEB VERSION" link, so everyone can see a correctly rendered version in their browser if they wish.

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