Firstly we want to make something clear that the sky is not falling in with the changes to Outlook 2007. Are they annoying for email marketers? Yes they are, but if you are following good email design practices then you will be having less problems than others.
So what has happened? Instead of taking advantage of Internet Explorer 7 to display html emails in Outlook 2007 Microsoft have used the very limited support for HTML and CSS that is built into Word 2007 to display HTML email messages. So previously in Outlook 2003 you would use IE to display your html emails, but in Outlook 2007 receivers view using Microsoft word. So effectively two people in one office could view your emails in two different formats.
Below are some of the limitations imposed by Word 2007:
- No support for background images (HTML or CSS)
- No support for forms
- No support for Flash, or other plugins
- No support for CSS floats
- No support for replacing bullets with images in unordered lists
- No support for CSS positioning
- No support for animated GIFs
With the release of Outlook 2007, Microsoft is effectively adding an entirely new rendering engine to the mix-one that designers producing HTML email will not be able to ignore.