Although our powerful drag & drop email builder is designed to render emails as best and as widely-compatible as possible, understand that there will be compromises when dealing with an email client that does not follow common web standards & guidelines as set out by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). One such email client is Microsoft Outlook.
Many versions of Microsoft Outlook use the Microsoft Word engine (which is designed for printing) to process and display emails. This can make for some rather unique issues in email formatting!
In any case, we always recommend adding a link to the online version at the top of your email with some accompanying text. This ensures your recipients always have an easy way to experience your email the way it was intended.
In this article, we've compiled a list of common issues experienced when using Microsoft Outlook to view emails and, in some cases, we'll link to applicable fixes where possible.
Common Outlook Issues
Background Images Not Appearing
Microsoft Outlook does not support background images. As such, we don't recommend using background images to convey important information - such as a image banner with text on it.
Buttons Rendering Differently
Buttons in Microsoft Outlook can get clipped (cut off) when lots of text is used. We recommend keeping your CTA's (button text) to three words or fewer, so that they remain on a single line.
Furthermore, due to Microsoft Outlook compatibility issues, our system renders separate buttons for contacts viewing your email in Outlook. As a result, the Click Map Report will not display visual click data for any Outlook users that clicked on buttons - as there is nothing visual to attach the heatmap spots to.
Click data is, however, counted in the various other relevant reporting statistics.
Columns Not Stacking on Mobile
Normally, an email design that makes use of a multi-column layout will automatically adjust when viewing on a mobile. In other words, any side-by-side column layouts will stack on top of one another in order to make best use of the limited horizontal viewing area on a mobile screen.
However, older versions of Microsoft Outlook for mobile do not support this. They will instead squish all of your columns next to one another on a mobile. As such, if your email reports indicate that you have a lot of contacts using older versions of Outlook, it may be best to stick to single column email designs.
GIFs Not Animating
Older versions of Microsoft Outlook will not show .GIF animations. Instead, these clients will only show the first frame of your GIF animation. As such, ensure that your call-to-action (if any) is included in that first frame.
Line Spacing Issues
Although our email builder lets you set the text spacing / line height, some versions of Microsoft Outlook do not support this. As such, all text will use the default line height when viewing or inbox preview testing your email in certain versions of Microsoft Outlook.
Margins Being Ignored
Some email clients, such as Microsoft Outlook, do not support margins. As such, you may wish to add a spacer component above and / or below your content to pad it out as desired.
We do not recommend using a spacer to the left or right of another component. It is not designed for this and will cause issues with column widths as well as for those viewing your email on a mobile.
As mentioned above, some reporting data will not be visible for buttons (when clicked by Microsoft Outlook users). This only affects the email click map report, not other reporting stats.
Microsoft Outlook does not support rounded corners on components. In Outlook, corners will be a standard right-angle.
White Space, White Lines or White Gaps Appearing
On occasions, small white lines or gaps may appear under or above a section in your email. This can sometimes be solved by adjusting the column colour in your email - however, it can also be caused by a section of your email being too long or tall.
Many versions of Microsoft Outlook use the Microsoft Word engine (which is designed for printing) to render emails. As such, tall sections of your email may contain additional spacing because Microsoft Word is formatting the email for print and will add these gaps where a page (ie. a piece of paper) would normally end.
We've provided some additional tips, tricks and fixes to try in our related article, linked below.