Designing HTML Emails for Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express
We’ve had a few members ask us about Outlook 2003 recently so we decided to dive deeper into the topic of rendering engines, particularly with respect to Outlook 2003 and Outlook Express. As you probably know, both of these older versions of MS Outlook used the Internet Explorer(IE) rendering engine for displaying HTML emails. The question is: What version of IE do they use?
After numerous installs and uninstalls, we concluded that when Outlook 2003 is installed for the first time, it uses the version of IE that is installed on that particular OS as it’s rendering engine. From there, if IE6 is upgraded to IE7, Outlook will still use the original version of IE (in this case IE6).
This means that there are ten possible variations effecting the way an email might render in these two email clients:
Currently, we provide screen captures for Outlook 2003/IE8 and Outlook Express/IE8. However, from my recent research, Outlook 2003 was released on October 21, 2003 with MS Office 2003. IE6 was released on August 27, 2001 and IE7 was released on October 18, 2006. That said, we have discussed the possibility of adding an Outlook2003/IE6 configuration because that was the most popular browser during the time of its release. Interestingly, Outlook Express was released back in 1999 at which time IE5 would have been the most popular version of IE.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on this subject! Let us know which configurations you would like us to add next. Feel free to post a comment (below) or speak your mind on Twitter: @emailonacid.