Couple Outlook 2007 Issues

Hi, I've coded my email really meticulously, using inline styles, tables, 'old-school HTML' techniques, etc. But Outlook 2007 is, of course, causing me some problems I need help fixing.

Here are the main issues I need help with:
1) The body of my email is a 600px wide with 3 columns. The outside columns are just to be 20px white 'margins' for the main middle content column. I tried applying a width to the TD tags (width="20"). I also added DIVs with a 'width: 20px;' applied. But in Outlook 2007 these side columns collapse to about 2px wide. I'm hesitant to use blank 'spacer' GIFs, as these can get flagged as spam in some instances.

How do you properly 'prop' these columns open for Outlook 2007???

2) Are there any tips/tricks to determining proper spacing around type when using larger line-height? I have one title as an h1 that is breaks into 3 lines and has pretty large line-height to control the line spacing. But it appears to apply a lot of space above the type, and generally render it differently than all other email clients. I have applied padding: 0; and margin: 0; to the type to make sure this isn't it.

3) No really cool workarounds to get background images in table cells are there????

THANKS!!!

Mathew Mathew, 7 years ago

It is hard to know what's happening without seeing the actual code - perhaps you can post it somewhere? Have you got actual content  in the columns that are collapsing?


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jethro, 7 years ago

Sorry, I'm not really able to post it. But here's some sample code if it helps. It's very straight forward. As you can see, I'm trying a number of things:


<table width="600" border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" style="font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; border-collapse: collapse;">
<tr>
  <td width="20" style="width: 20px;" valign="top"><div style="width: 20px;"></div>
    </td>
  <td width="560" align="left" valign="top" bgcolor="#000000">Body content goes in this column</td>
  <td width="20" style="width: 20px;" valign="top"><div style="width: 20px;"></div></td>
</tr>
<tr>


- Any ideas?

I thought about using a 10px white border on the DIV instead of declaring a width, but seems a bit hokey.

THANKS!

Mathew Mathew, 7 years ago

Your problem might be that the columns don't have any actual content - if you put some in there does the width get respected?


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fyredefyre fyredefyre, 7 years ago

From the code i can see, the code is fine. You shouldn't have to worry about adding all the extra div spacing/style spacing. If anything screwing up your email it's likely to be the contents inside the cells. Perhaps an image is too wide or you've styled your text in a funky way.

Either way, you'd probably get more help if you could show more of the code but I understand if it's confidential. Happy to discuss this offline if it's still giving you grief.


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BThies BThies, 7 years ago

and you've tried this, correct?

<tr>
  <td width="20" valign="top">&nbsp;</td>
  <td width="560" align="left" valign="top" bgcolor="#000000">Body content goes in this column</td>
  <td width="20" valign="top">&nbsp;</td>
</tr>

Without having a non-breaking space in your blank areas, columns and rows can collapse depending on the design.


Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
jethro, 7 years ago

Thanks for the help. I ran a test trying this (adding the non-breaking spaces in the empty columns):

  <td width="20" style="width: 20px;" valign="top"><div style="width: 20px;">&nbsp;</div>
    </td>
  <td width="560" align="left" valign="top" bgcolor="#000000">Body content goes in this column</td>
  <td width="20" style="width: 20px;" valign="top"><div style="width: 20px;">&nbsp;</div></td>

But still Outlook 2007 (and Word 2007 for that matter), collapse the margins. Every other browser & email client I've tried (a lot) respects the column width.

- What else can I try to keep those columns open??? What does Outlook/Word 2007 so desperately need?

- Could my extra styles defining a width actually be hurting it?? (I was initially having an issue with Firefox until I added the DIVs with a defined width).

- Does anyone know if the preview I get when I open my HTML file in Word 2007 are a very accurate representation of what Outlook 2007 will show? It's more difficult to run an actual test here in Outlook 2007, but we do have a copy of Word 2007 I can test with. Just wondering exactly how accurate this is.

THANKS!

BThies BThies, 7 years ago

I wouldn't use Word 2007 to test any e-mail.

Try removing the style="width:20px;" and remove the <div>'s.

If that doesn't work, then there has to be something within your code elsewhere that's causing the problem.

I'd need to see the entire code to help from there.


Brian Thies
Professional Email Developer
Thies Publishing
jethro, 7 years ago

Well, I was only using Word 2007 to get some sort of 'preview' of how the email will display in Outlook 2007, as that is the engine that Outlook 2007 uses to display HTML email. And for the most part, the email in Outlook 2007 does match the preview in Word 2007 (same issues show up in Word).

I did try removing the styles and DIVs, but still had the problem.

But I just tried removing the 'width: 20px;' from the DIVs in the top cells of the columns, and replaced with 'border: 8px solid #FFFFFF;'. The DIVs are still wrapping a non-breaking space, and everything else is the same as my original code. THIS actually appears to keep the columns open in Outlook 2007! And I don't see any negative impact on any other clients.

So, as I have spent WAY too much time on this already, I'll probably use this workaround for now. But it definitely feels a bit 'hokey'. Would still love to know a more 'proper' way to get Outlook 2007 to respect the widths of 'empty' columns.

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