Building emails that will render well for users of Microsoft Outlook has always been a challenge. Outlook rendering issues arise due to versions of Outlook using Microsoft Word to render HTML content in an email - this affects Outlook 2007 onwards. As Microsoft Word functions as a print medium it attempts to render HTML as it would look in a print preview. This may cause the display to look different from what was designed and tested for in an email composer. While Revinate can provide some suggested workarounds, it is important to understand that there are some inherent rendering issues with Outlook that cannot be corrected for
We’ve analyzed delivery data from our global customer base and can conclude that Outlook represents a small percentage of overall delivery rates.
In the “Preview & Test” section of the Campaign Builder, you can see how your campaign will render in various email clients by selecting the “specific email software” option. This will show how the email renders in various desktop and web versions of Outlook. Please note, it is also a good practice to test your campaign by sending an email and opening it using a different Outlook version.
Most desktop Outlook users are represented by corporate domains. Outlook (and corporate mailboxes in general) are setup for the purpose of optimizing peer and peer messaging. As a result, promotional messaging from any sender will often encounter problems conforming to corporate mailboxes. Some examples include white space removal, images being disabled and suppressed CSS. Because of these limitations, there isn’t a single solution that can ever correctly address all the unique rendering issues. Business to Business (B2B) marketing tends to represent a smaller number of overall sends, however for email marketers trying to optimize message delivery to corporate mailboxes, it is most important that you keep your email design simple with clear messaging. A few examples include high text to image ratio, short email lengths, and alt text for images.
Common rendering issues that may arise in Outlook include (see below for more details):
- Images may be clipped, rescaled, not loading or are of the incorrect size
- Background images not supported
- GIFs not supported
- Additional White Space
- Padding around images
- Issues with DPI scaling
An image is being clipped, rescaled, or doesn’t load
When a long image is inserted into a campaign you may see the image as clipped, rescaled or not loading. The limit for image length is approximately 1728px tall. For images taller than 1728px, Outlook will cut the excess off the top.
Decreasing the size of your image to under 1728px tall should help. An alternative is to break up the image into separate images. Then you can use the drag-and-drop module editor within Revinate’s campaign builder to add multiple image modules and upload each part of the image.
Images are not in the correct size
If you use HTML to resize an image that has been uploaded to a campaign, Outlook may display the original size. Outlook does not recognize HTML code that constrains images. The solution here would be to resize images before uploading.
Background images are not showing
Unfortunately, Outlook 2007-2013 does not support full body backgrounds, pattern backgrounds, graphic backgrounds, or section-wide backgrounds.
Animation in GIF Files is Not Loading
GIF files are not supported on Outlook and will only display the first frame in the animation. We recommend that when building campaigns using GIFs to make sure the first frame of the GIF contains all the information a viewer would need.
There is excess white space
Due to Outlook displaying as a Word document, it will see pages of a certain length as two separate pages and will create extra space to force content onto the second page. Correcting this issue requires re-organization of the email content. Re-organize your content by determining where Outlook is creating the page break in your email campaign. Creating a copy of your email campaign and working off the copy will allow you to make the necessary changes without losing your original content.
Fixed padding and margins around images are ignored by Outlook making ‘wrapped’ text appear pushed into the images. A suggested work around is to edit images prior to uploading them. By editing your image to include a border with the same color as your campaign background, Outlook will not be able to ignore this border as the padding is a part of the image.
Secondly, to overcome the limitations around image padding, it is best to extend large images to the template limit (600px) for an optimal Outlook rendering. This reduces the change of the image being aligned to incorrectly.