Why is Outlook putting a gap in my email newsletter?

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A while ago I was constructing an email newsletter for a client. The email looked fine in every mail client except for Microsoft Outlook 2007, where there was a big gap in my email for no reason. I found that by moving content blocks around, the size of the gap would change but not disappear.

Here is an example of an email template when viewed in a web browser.

outlook-rendering-issue-1

There is nothing out of the ordinary and the email renders correctly, but have a look what happens as we scroll down the email in Outlook 2007.

outlook-rendering-issue

In Outlook the email renders incorrectly. Outlook has added a gap in the left hand column.

Why is Outlook causing rendering issues?

The Outlook rendering issue occurs when your emails have a multi column layout and those columns have a lot of content in them. As you may well know, Outlook uses Microsoft Word to render HTML. This means your email is effectively laid out in pages when viewed in Outlook 2007/2010.  In the example of the above email, one of the side banners has overlapped a Microsoft Word page line. It therefore moves the banner down to the start of the next page and creates the annoying gap.

Whilst there is no particular “fix” for this rendering issue, you can solve this problem by just altering the way your emails are set up. If your emails do contain multiple columns, with lots of content, try breaking the email up into more than one section:

[html] <table width=”100%”>
<tr>
<td><table width=”600″>
<tr>
<td valign=”top”>row one, column one</td>
<td valign=”top”>row one, column two</td>
</tr>
</table></td>
</tr>
</table>
<table width=”100%”>
<tr>
<td><table width=”600″>
<tr>
<td valign=”top”>row two, column one extension</td>
<td valign=”top”>row two, column two extension</td>
</tr>
</table></td>
</tr>
</table> [/html]

Simon Says

This approach may require you to tweak your email content slightly to make sure it fits, but at least this is within your control. Outlook seems to reset the page layout process at the start of a new table so the above approach should eliminate that pesky gap and ensure your emails render correctly in Outlook 2007/2010.

If you would like to speak with one of our email marketing experts in regards to this or any other email issue you are having, get in touch online or call us on 01327 811884.

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