Outlook 2007 downgrades CSS support

Microsoft’s new Outlook 2007 upgrade no longer supports CSS rendering

Unfortunately, Microsoft have decided to scale back CSS support in Outlook 2007 which is bad news for templates built with Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).

On 30th January 2007, Microsoft launched Office 2007 and Vista, their new operating system. Microsoft Office 2007 has a new look interface, with increased usability.

The new 2007 version of Microsoft’s Outlook email tool no longer uses the engine in Internet Explorer to display HTML email.

Instead, it uses the somewhat simpler HTML rendering engine built into Word 2007.

This means that Outlook 2007 will not display video email, Flash-based email and animated GIFs.

Now there is also a lack of high-end Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) features like float and position, as well as the ability to fine-tune padding and margins in table cells.

dotMailer has always recommended that CSS is NOT used to create HTML emails. The reason for this is quite simple – lots of email clients do not fully support it.

Outlook 2007 restricts background images, forms, images bullets in unordered lists, CSS positioning, animated gifs, javascript or rollover status, and alt tags in email templates.

This can cause blank spaces in emails and alter your layout and positioning.

So if you use CSS, you must accept that some of your emails will not appear as you intend.

To ensure that your email templates are Outlook 2007 compliant, your templates may have to be redesigned or rebuilt to guarantee a consistent and undiluted brand presence.

Contact our Design team to test and rebuild or redesign your template.

Hopefully the impact on the world of email marketing will be minimal.

The fact is, a huge subset of HTML emails do not use any of the features being removed.

Additionally, Outlook 2007 is part of the Microsoft Office Suite and as such is not as widely used by consumers.

If you need to use CSS, the advice is the same as ever – test it in a number of email clients.

From now on, one of these should be Outlook 2007 – especially if your lists consist of predominantly company addresses rather than home addresses.