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Emails Keep Breaking in Outlook? Here's What to Do

Emails Breaking in Outlook? Here's What To Do

You’ve spent hours crafting the perfect email newsletter template. You’ve sweated over your text, your margins, and your alignment and you’re finally as happy as a clam. All that’s left is to send it to your client and await their glowing feedback!

But what happens when their response isn’t as sunny as you’d like? In fact, your client is complaining that the photos are out of alignment or totally missing, the text is too poorly-formatted to read, and the whole thing looks like an unfinished, jumbled-up mess.

If your boss or clients are using Outlook, you’ve probably been on the receiving end of this before, helplessly watching on as the free mail service changes the look of your entire email thanks to its major rendering differences.

So what can you do to make sure Outlook doesn’t garble up any of your future email masterpieces? With our thanks to this great article at Hubspot, here are five tips to help ensure your emails are ready for Outlook:

1.) Make Use of Tables

As Hubspot puts it, “in the world of Outlook, tables are single-handedly the most important instrument in your toolbox.”

While many seasoned website developers and coders avoid them, tables are an effective way to ensure that your email will render consistently across inboxes, particularly in Outlook, which tends to strip away styles, including positioning, leaving your text and images floating in space.

With tables in place, you’ll have a firmer control of your email’s layout, able to lock down your copy and images in place and keep them from drifting. What’s more, tables can also help ensure equal padding and spacing, which Outlook tends to strip away.

2.) Specify Line Height, Font Size, and Color

If you don’t define your settings for line height, color, and font size, Outlook will probably make choices for you – and we’re going to bet you won’t like the design that comes with its default settings.

3.) Break Up Your Text

Because text doesn’t automatically break in Outlook, your copy could easily run long, stretch out, or otherwise exceed the recommended email width of 600 pixels – which could “break” your email’s responsive design.

Instead, add styling to your table and put in word wrapping. This will keep your content easy to read and help ensure that your design remains effective and responsive, even in Outlook.

4.) Use Center Tags

We’ll let Hubspot explain again:

“Since Outlook doesn’t honor alignment that is written as an attribute of a tag (align=””), it will need to be specified in a style=””.” 

In English, that simply means that Outlook won’t recognize alignments that end in an alignment tag – instead, you need to add a style tag and then instruct Outlook to align to center for a clean-looking email. You can do this quite simply, by adding this little bit of HTML to the tag you are targeting: style=”text-align: center;”.

5.) Add ALT Text to Images

Outlook has a tendency to block images in HTML emails, which means your gorgeous visuals won’t appear in your client’s opened message; because of this, it is important to include ALT text, which will render in the place of your image.

With that said, images should display in Outlook if your subscriber knows you are a trusted sender. Images should display automatically if your email address is in your client’s address book, or if your recipient includes your email domain as part of their “safe senders” list in their Outlook settings.

Sound daunting? That’s where we come in! Our talented team of writers and designers is here to make your email marketing campaign the best it can be. Drop Geek a line today for all of your email marketing, social media marketing, and web development needs! 

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Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).