Outlook 2010 Email Test Results Are In


Microsoft Not Playing Nice with Office 2010

It doesn’t appear that Microsoft is going to play nice with HTML rendering in Office 2010. They are continuing down the ’07 path by using Word to render HTML. Are you surprised? Honestly, we aren’t.  We have recently received a beta version of Outlook 2010 and through our email tests we have noted the same rendering problems from Outlook 07.

Outlook Preview, Outlook Email TestingWhy are they so stubborn? Microsoft’s reasoning behind using Word to render HTML is that emails composed in Outlook 07+ will look consistent when viewed by other Outlook 07+ recipients. They also claim that using the Word engine alows users to easily cut and paste from Microsoft office products directly into their email.

The problem is that not everyone uses Outlook and to assume that recipients will see an email the way that it is composed in Outlook 07+ is a common mistake. In actuality, Outlook has a very small market share in the ever-expanding world of email clients. To assume that they are the only provider is par for the course for Microsoft, therefore it is not a big surprise that they are headed in the same direction for Outlook 2010.

In the end, in order to create a consistent layout in the most popular email clients, developers will continue to be limited to basic HTML with minimal CSS (in-line or embedded) support. Unfortunately, this has been, and will continue to be extremely frustrating for designers and publishers alike. Not only do they have to use basic html but it limits what they can do in their design especially considering that table background images are not supported.

One would think that if Microsoft where to continue to use the Word engine to display HTML in Outlook that they would fix some of the rendering issues in the Office suite. Unfortunately, from our testing, this doesn’t appear to be the case. Either they should revert back to the Outlook 2003 (Internet Explorer) engine for rendering HTML or fix Word so it displays HTML correctly.

As annoying as it is that Microsoft appears to have closed the door on HTML rendering for Outlook 2010, the fight is not over. They are still in beta testing and there is a slight chance that they could change it before the public release. Your voice can be heard. Some nice folks over at fixoutlook.org are in pursuit to influence Microsoft to change Outlook. We invite you to join the cause and let Microsoft read your thoughts.

Needless to say, which ever direction Microsoft decides to go we plan to include Outlook 2010 in our Acid Test result as soon as it is released.  Stay tuned…

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