Office 365 - Emails with HTML formatting do not always display as expected
This document explains why some emails with HTML formatting do not always display as expected in desktop Outlook clients such as Outlook 2013 and 2016 for Windows, and Outlook 2011 and Outlook 2016 for Mac for OSX.
Outlook and Word HTML
Starting with Outlook 2007, Outlook has been only using the Word engine to display and create HTML-formatted emails. This does create some display issues, but now Outlook only has to support a single HTML engine (email editor), which makes developing easier and allows for more consistent behavior across your email experience. You do not need to have Microsoft Word installed for Outlook to use the Word HTML engine.
What doesn't always display correctly?
Some noticeable display issues are:
- GIF images don't animate
- Flash objects display as a red "X"
- "Advanced" CSS formatting support
- HTML accessibility support
Why aren't all HTML and CSS standards supported?
Most features that aren't supported fall under two categories:
- The feature could pose a security risk
- The feature isn't relevant to reading mail
You can contact Microsoft directly to make a case for supporting a specific feature in Office 365, by submitting your idea to Microsoft's User Voice site at https://office365.uservoice.com/.
How to work around
If you open an email message and its contents are displaying incorrectly, Outlook will give you the option to open the message in a web browser.
If you are creating an email message, here are a few tips to make sure it displays correctly:
- Since only the first frame of a GIF animation loads, make sure it communicates the main message of the graphic.
- Make sure that the design's integrity doesn't rely solely on CSS to work.
- Specify an increased amount of leading (space between lines of text).
- Avoid using list items, because Outlook does not support them. Instead, use the bullet symbol.