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How can we improve your Desktop Outlook 2016 experience?

Improve Word HTML rendering in email

It's absolutely crazy that in Outlook 2016 we still can't use fundamental parts of the original CSS spec in HTML-based email templates. I'm specifically referring to float, padding, and background-image. It would also be nice to not have to build HTML emails using tables so that they can be responsive.

It's fine by me if Outlook continues to use Word to create/author HTML-based emails, because that's what Outlook users are used to using. However, the display of incoming HTML-based emails should be rendered by a real HTML engine, not Word, especially if those incoming emails weren't originally created in Outlook/Word, such as newsletters sent from MailChimp and similar services.

146 votes
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    Jordan Bradford shared this idea  ·   ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →

    37 comments

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      • Duncan Wright commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's very frustrating that the Windows Mail app - which you get for free - is superior at rendering HTML email to a licensed product which costs actual money!

      • Amber Steele commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Hi, we started experiencing this problem back in November of 2018. Microsoft has not yet been able to identify a fix, or the source of the problem. Curious if anyone has had any luck with Microsoft Support.

      • Keith commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Herr here! It's crazy that this problem still exists. This is much more important than changing the ribbon and minor fluff. How about fixing fundamental issues that should have been fixed years ago?

      • Rob Kraft commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        I got this response from MS: "I have checked that message with my Outlook 2016 in my lab, it doesn't show correctly either. In this situation, I guess the Outlook client doesn't support that HTML format based email. However, from your description, it worked before, so we need to confirm if that email is reformatted by the Exchange Online server as you mentioned the OWA also can't show it correctly. Thanks for your patience."
        Which implies that they are not going to fix it. The problem started occurring for us on November 2, 2018 following a Microsoft Office/Outlook update. The system generating the emails (Nunit) has not changed in 5+ years.

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        It's 2018 and this problem still exists!!! It also feels like a dead end when a representative from the Outlook In-App support Escalation Team instructed me to vote on this page without providing any real solution to the issue. Going as far as saying that “from a support perspective, Outlook / Word is working as intended.”

      • Jaemi Kehoe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        You used to use IE. You went through the trouble to build Edge, to catch up in the browser game, but your email platform is still using Word. Thus, your Mac users have superior email support. Why? Popularity is going to follow functionality, and right now, Outlook is still essentially bottom of the list in that regard.

      • Jaemi Kehoe commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Mac users get Outlook rendering with a browser, so why doesn't Windows? Is that not the main market?

      • Oliver commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        When designing Emails with HTML an CSS, Outlook is very special and extremely limited and old fashioned. Most of CSS does not work, and a lot of html-mails are virtually unreadable. Most work is for Outlook, because the rendering machine is 15 year old ****! Even 2013 was much better!

      • Anonymous commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Missing options for select scale factor, or just "fit sheet on one page/ fit all columns on one page" like Excel for example.

      • Francois Hamel commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This is really a pain when you need to generate reports and send them by email. Always hard to predict how it will render in Outlook and 99% of the time it is broken.

        Only good way is to attach HTML files to the email, which is NOT a proper way of doing things as it prevent users from easily browsing the content rapidly while going through lots of emails.

      • Greg Lombard commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Simply put, why does this work fine in web version of Outlook but not on the desktop licensed product? I am having emails sent from my web platform resolve my logo to huge proportions hiding the message and confusing any recipient using Outlook 2016 desktop version. I can't get support from the web platform provider since this isn't their fault, it is clearly MS refusing to resolve a known problem.

        Very disappointed on something that should have been resolved. Tells me that the lifecycle for desktop licenses is being phased out...

      • Fredrik Forséll commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Yes, word rendering of HTML emails is one of the most flabbergasting and just plain crazy workings of Office. And just to **** us off a bit more, when I "click here to view it in a web browser" it opens in Internet Explorer. That doesn't really help.

      • Gerry commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Can't get rid of a gap that appears below a table in Outlook 2016 on my PC, but that gap is nowhere to be seen in the Outlook app on my Android phone. With the loads of resources at Microsoft's disposal, it is unbelievable that HTML rendering progress in Outlook 2016 still lags like it's IE6. Can't the relevant Office teams work together to fix this? Thank you for listening.

      • Jon commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        This problem for all email designers is a living nightmare that never ends. I can spend 1 hour designing an email that works in all email clients except Outlook. I then spend another 4 hours working on all the fixes required to get the email to render properly in Outlook. Even then, its a compromised design because of this backwards rendering engine. You could fix this tomorrow. Why don't you?

      • VassilisM commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        A very simple HTML form was being displayed fine from within Outlook and from at least Outlook 2007 and to Outlook 2016 until version 1704 came along in which Drop-Down boxes within the HTML code stopped operating.
        We rely a lot on customizations working as HTML forms appearing within Outlook when setting the Home page for folders to a URL.
        A drop-down is a very elementary component of an HTML page and I cannot see any security implications from its use. I do not fathom why this has stopped working in the latest release of Outlook (Build 8067.2032 Click-to-run).
        Is there some new security-related switch that has to be used to restore the usual functionality in our HTML forms or is this is a newly-introduced bug?

      • Jimmy Goathim commented  ·   ·  Flag as inappropriate

        Better yet, they should give up on the Microsoft Word rendering engine and switch to webkit. As a web developer, the Word-based versions of Outlook give me nightmares. The IE versions were at least manageable. ANYTHING is better than Outlook 2016.

        There is something seriously wrong with Microsoft if they think this is OK. It's 2017 folks.

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