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

Published on April 24, 2016

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! 

Stay up today on the latest Tech and Digital Marketing Trends with our newsletter.