HTML Emails: Time to drop Outlook support?

I realise this won’t effect many, as not a lot here do much in the way of email marketing, either for themselves or others. I do, 59k sent out already today, and after an update to Windows and I think Outlook overnight, HTML templates that last weeked rendered fine on my test machine (latest Windows & latest Outlook) are now messed up in Outlook. Again.

The latest stats I can find is Outlook usages is around 9%, with almost all of it corporate.

I can make beautiful HTML emails for clients and myself, that when they get opened in Outlook then need a ton of changes made, often ruining the genera look, to get them to look right.

Pretty much every other email client renders even complex HTML emails perfectly, but Outlook seems to be positively going backwards.

I’m now at the point of considering removing compatibility from Outlook, except perhaps for my corporate clients, for whom perhaps I need to start creating super simple newsletters, if they want to retain Outlook compatibility (they all do).

Anyone else in the same place, having the same thoughts?

If 9% of users are using Outlook than that’s over 5000 emails you sent out are messed up for those users.

Why not create simpler email layouts that work with Outlook? I think that people who build web sites tend to build overly complex looking emails that try to look like mini web sites with columns, web fonts, hero images, etc… We all fall into this trap.

Make them 1 image and text and you should be able to communicate your message in this basic format better than a messed up Outlook layout that you have no control over and never will have.


That’s a huge over-simplification of the problem and solution.

I gave up the HTML email side of my business purely because Outlook was so crap and such a PITA to work-around. The problem is tons of big companies still use it. In fact quite a few seem to be still using Windows 7 etc. Apparently Outlook uses the render engine from Word, so not even trying to match web standards.

Outlook and IE are pieces of S**T and best avoided at all costs. My argument to clients now is that if their email or site looks bad in either of those then it’s their own stupid fault.

Life is so much easier now that I don’t do them. I feel for you!


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The Word render machine is nuts, but my understanding of it is that it’s all down to some anti-competitive rules put in place years ago. If MS use the IE machine to render emails in Outlook, it’s giving Outlook an unfair advantage, so they didn’t use it. Or summit like that.

That was from someone within MS, but it was years ago when i first discovered the Word rendering thing, and it might just be BS.

Mailshot Monkey: makes up about 14% of my turnover, so I can’t just walk away from it. I am considering dropping Outlook support though, which I reckon, given that I don’t really do the corporate thing so have very few “big” clients, will mean I for sure lose three clients, maybe five. So it’s not the end of the world.

For now though, I’m just ignoring the issue ;-)

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