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How to Optimize Your Emails for Outlook

How to optimize your emails for Outlook

Microsoft Outlook is still one of the most popular email clients today. Whilst more and more users choose to read email on their smartphones, Outlook currently has a market share of about 6%. Seeing as Outlook uses its own technologies to display HTML emails, it can be especially challenging for marketers to optimize their emails for Outlook. In this blog post, we show you how you can avoid the most common Outlook email rendering issues.

Special features of Microsoft Outlook

Up until Outlook 2003, the Internet Explore layout engine Trident was used to display emails. Since Outlook 2007, however, the Microsoft Word Word rendering engine has been used. This change can lead to display problems: for example, if your recipient has an older version of Outlook, your newsletter may be displayed differently, or even incorrectly.

When designing a newsletter for Outlook, you should bear in mind that it is unable to recognize background images. As a work-around, you can use a colored background and integrate your chosen images somewhere else.

Many CSS specifications are not supported by Outlook. Thus, it’s often necessary to use outdated HTML attributes for newsletter optimization. Specifications such as float, margin or padding are somewhat limited. This means that frames, among others, cannot be displayed correctly. It’s also important to note that any fonts that are not available in the system cannot be used at all. An overview of available fonts can be found here.

There are various steps you can take to optimize your emails for Outlook:

Newsletter design tips

1. Include a link to the web version

Insert the full link to the web version of your email. This way, if the email content doesn’t display correctly in the recipient’s email client, they can view your newsletter in their browser instead.

2. Provide a text version

It’s also advisable to include a text-only version of your newsletter. This overcomes the issue of faulty display, enabling the recipient to still read your email.

3. Use responsive design

It’s no secret that more and more users are reading their emails via smartphone or tablet. It is therefore crucial to optimize for all end devices – not just desktop. When creating a newsletter, be sure to use responsive design. This will help to avoid email rendering issues in Outlook.

4. Furnish all images with alt-text

In many cases, images are not displayed because email clients block them. If an image can’t be displayed for this or any other reason (browser issues, poor internet connection), an alt-text describes the image to the user so they know what should have been displayed.

5. Set a specific width and flexible height

Another way to optimize your emails for Outlook is to set a specific width and a flexible height. In most cases, a width of 500 to 600px is recommended, which can be easily scaled down on smartphones.

Optimizing your emails for Outlook with Newsletter2Go

If you want to design flawless emails for Outlook, Newsletter2Go offers newsletter-compliant HTMLs which are also optimized for different versions of Outlook. What’s more, with the help of our drag-and-drop editor, you can easily create professional newsletters – with or without special programming knowledge! Simply create your emails visually and our software automatically takes care of the HTML.

Before sending your newsletter, make sure you check that it displays how you want it to. Use our client testing feature to see how your newsletter will look in different email clients. This way, you can correct any display issues before sending to your subscribers.

We can also create custom premium templates which are tested for display in more than 30 email clients. Of course, we program these templates in such a way that they are also displayed correctly in Outlook.

About the Author

Emily Stevens

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  1. joe -

    Is there a limit on the number of recipients for a single mass email?

    1. Mara Taylor -

      Hi Joe,
      When sending with our software, there’s no limit to the number of recipients you send one mailing to. But if you’re sending over 1,000 individual emails per month (e.g., 1 email to 1,000 contacts or 2 emails to 500), you’ll have to use one of our paid plans.

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