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This morning we became aware of a Twitter campaign run from the website http://fixoutlook.org. This campaign is intended to provide Microsoft with feedback about our decision to continue to use Microsoft Word for composing and displaying e-mail in the upcoming release of Microsoft Outlook 2010. The Email Standards Project, which developed the website that promotes the current Twitter campaign, is backed by the maker of “email marketing campaign” software.
First, while we don’t yet have a broadly-available beta version of Microsoft Office 2010, we can confirm that Outlook 2010 does use Word 2010 for composing and displaying e-mail, just as it did in Office 2007. We’ve made the decision to continue to use Word for creating e-mail messages because we believe it’s the best e-mail authoring experience around, with rich tools that our Word customers have enjoyed for over 25 years. Our customers enjoy using a familiar and powerful tool for creating e-mail, just as they do for creating documents. Word enables Outlook customers to write professional-looking and visually stunning e-mail messages. You can read more about this in our whitepaper, outlining the benefits and the reason behind using Word as Outlook’s e-mail editor.
Drawing and Charting tools
Table and Formatting tools
Mini Toolbar for formatting
Word has always done a great job of displaying the HTML which is commonly found in e-mails around the world. We have always made information available about what HTML we support in Outlook; for example, you can find our latest information for our Office 2007 products here. For e-mail viewing, Word also provides security benefits that are not available in a browser: Word cannot run web script or other active content that may threaten the security and safety of our customers.
We are focused on creating a great e-mail experience for the end user, and we support any standard that makes this better. To that end, Microsoft welcomes the development of broadly-adopted e-mail standards. We understand that e-mail is about interoperability among various e-mail programs, and we believe that Outlook provides a good mix of a rich user experience and solid interoperability with a wide variety of other e-mail programs. There is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability. The “Email Standards Project” does not represent a sanctioned standard or an industry consensus in this area. Should such a consensus arise, we will of course work with other e-mail vendors to provide rich support in our products. We are constantly working to improve our products and the experience that they give to our customers.
As usual, we appreciate the feedback from our customers, via Twitter or on our Outlook team blog.
-- William Kennedy Corporate Vice President, Office Communications and Forms Team Microsoft Corporation
I hope MS not forget that not all other users on the world without Outlook and sorry NO, this new OOXML file format will not fix the problems. Receive EMail written in Word2003 was sometimes a hopeless thing, when you use another eMail program.
This post makes it look like Word is the only way to author e-mail posts in Outlook 2010. Of course, those of us who limit our authoring of e-mails to plain-text and only view arriving HTML-formatted e-mail don't have to worry about whether Word is used for editing rich-formatted e-mail. Right?
But what happens when someone sends me one of these rich emails if I have an email client other than Outlook/Word? Will it be compatible?
Our issue and by our, i do not mean "creators of email marketing software", I mean web developers, is that you are using words RENDERING engine to DISPLAY the email in the client. It Matters not to us how how you create the emails, jsut how you display them and others created using Standards. I assume that HTML created in Words will display correctly in IE? Then why not use IE rendering engine for the DISPLAY of all HTML formatted emails???
Hey guys, Thanks for commenting on this. I would like to ask one question though, when you say "there is no widely-recognized consensus in the industry about what subset of HTML is appropriate for use in e-mail for interoperability", while I suppose is *technically* accurate, I think I can speak on behalf of the worlds web developers and say making it simply standards compliant is all we're after. We're not looking for anything special, unique or far fetched. Just let us design our HTML emails the same way we design our HTML websites. You let us do that and you've done your job, so we can do ours. Thanks again, I really hope you guys will consider improving Outlook's rendering capabilities.
Just because Word formats the email doesn't mean the email is sent as a Word document. It gets converted to HTML. The lack of CSS support may mean poorer designs (tables and the like) but it in no way means that other email viewers will have any more problems with it than web browsers would.
If it's the same as 2007, where I can turn off using Word for the editor, that makes me happy.
Good job ignoring this MARKETING CAMPAIGN by Campaign Monitor, as that's all it is.
25 year experience! In that case rock on with table based layouts
I read you response with joy and sadness. Joy that you have recognised a very powerful message sent by the users of Twitter today, but sadness that you do not seem to understand what the problems here are. I disagree with the comment about there being no widely-recognised consensus about what is appropriate HTML for displaying HTML emails. HTML is the standard - why should there be a different standard for emails? Outlook is the only client that seems to purposely cripple industry-recognized HTML standards in order to allow Word (a Word Processor NOT an email message composer!) to build emails of a poor standard and limited by yesterdays technolgoies. And before some misguided argument about ensuring a safe experience for the user - the rendering engine should be no different to a web browser which also gives the user the same security preferences and lets them make an informed choice. What I and thousands of developers want to know is - why should Outlook go against what all other email clients are doing and make our lives a living hell?!
Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! Fix it! That is all at this time. The intertubes have spoken.
I have lead a webdesign agency that, among other things, builds e-mail marketing campaigns. Outlook was always an issue because of Word's poor rendering of standard HTML. It is just sad that Word does not have the ability to properly render CSS, which is a de-facto standard to position elements in HTML today. It's not all about e-mail marketing either. These days I am at MSFT and even our PA can't get the formatting of e-mails to wish co-workers a happy birthday come out correctly. There is no reason to use Word as rendering engine. To use it for mail creation is fine, but please use IE or a standards compliant rendering engine for display. Thanks.
So keep the Word authoring tools, but fix the HTML that it outputs to you can use a browser to render it, just like everyone else. And the email standards project might not be anything official, but it is an attempt to establish some consensus, while you just do what you want.
"The 'Email Standards Project' does not represent a sanctioned standard or an industry consensus in this area. Should such a consensus arise, we will of course work with other e-mail vendors to provide rich support in our products" I think this campaign just showed you that such a consensus has arisen. Or is the support of 18,000+ Twitter users not enough?
Peter: E-mail written with the Word editor is just e-mail; has nothing to do with the new Office OpenXML document format. It's just an HTML, RTF or Plain Text e-mail and any e-mail client in the world that supports those formats will be able to read it fine. Dennis: Yes, as of Outlook 2007 Word is the *ONLY* editor in Outlook so you are using Word to create plain text or Rich Text (RTF) e-mails as well. -Ben-