Formatting problems for emails in Outlook 2011

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by ianwasafiri, Oct 25, 2011.

  1. ianwasafiri macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Outlook 2011 is making random format changes to my emails as I edit them. Font sizes change randomly, and then refuse to get changed back. If I cut and paste, then the text will often appear on the line above rather than where I placed it. The spacing between lines of bulleted text is variable.

    All this makes it hard to ensure I am sending good looking emails. Any suggestions of what I am doing wrong?
  2. ianwasafiri thread starter macrumors newbie

    Oct 25, 2011
    Changes to formatting after sending emails

    To make matters worse, even if I do get my emails looking good, when they arrive in someone else's inbox, chunks of the formatting is changed in to different fonts and font sizes. Help me please!
  3. kawells924 macrumors newbie

    Dec 5, 2011
    Font problems in Outlook 2011

    I have the same problem. It is now unusable for me. My emails look unprofessional and ridiculous. And I am a VP. I now have to stop using Outlook for the Mac and use the web interface -- or I have to turn off HTML. Anyone with answers, please help. I am quite tech savvy and this is one of the most frustrating experiences.:(
  4. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    You are both on fool's errands. Outlook 2011 is an email client, not InDesign. It generates email, not the digital version of Seventeen magazine. Outlook's HMTL editing capability is severely limited--styled text, enumerated lists, that sort of thing. I presume that more complex HTML documents can be imported into your messages. It is just that Outlook can't create them and has limited ability to edit them.

    As for "professional," I cannot disagree with you more. HTML creates stylized email, not professional email. Professional email is about professional content. I would think that your time as vice president is a bit too valuable to waste it trying to make your email look like the web portal.
  5. Fatbwoy macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2012
    I think you are missing the point slightly, no one has said they are trying to do anything than send a straight html email, as is standard.

    I am having exactly the problem described in the above posts. I am not trying to do anything clever, and I am not copy/pasting from anywhere, just writing emails. Am I wrong to expect the font style and size to remain constant? Everything appears set up as it should be, and as I say, I am definitely not bringing formatting tags in from another program, site or anywhere else. Everything looks fine as I write and send the email, it is only when I see the email as received by the recipient that the problem becomes evident. This does not look good for any business.

    Anyone come up with any (useful) suggestions?
  6. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    Wrong as in "Is it wrong of people in Hell to want ice water?" No, it is not wrong. Like the people in Hell, however, you have no expectation of getting what you want. This is not how email works. If you want absolute assurance that your recipient will receive the message exactly as you end it, then convert the message to PDF with embedded fonts and send the PDF as an attachment. The display of email is controlled by at recipient's end. HTML markup codes may tell the recipient's email client how you would like the message to be displayed. However, the recipient's email client has the final say. With or without his knowledge, the recipient may have his email client to reinterpret all of your HTML formatting or ignore it altogether.

    If HTML mail is important to your business, then you should do what other businesses do. Post each message to a website. Within each message, include a link to the message and along with instructions to click the link if the message does not display properly.

    It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness.
  7. interrobang macrumors 6502

    May 25, 2011
    And the issue is that there is nothing standard about HTML mail.

    Well, not wrong, but very, very naive.

    Some guidelines:
    1. Never copy and paste into an HTML message, or even within the same message. If you must insert copied text, use the Paste and Match Style command instead of the regular Paste command.
    2. If you quote an HTML message, don't edit the quoted text, or break it up by inserting your own lines in between quoted lines.
    3. The fewer fancy things you do, the less likely they are to go wrong.
    4. To take the above further, when in doubt, turn off HTML and use plain ASCII. Yes, that means no £ signs and no bold text.
  8. rick.marshall macrumors newbie

    Sep 27, 2009
    Where's the Help for this Problem -- MS Office??

    ianwasafiri, I empathize with your plight. I have exactly the same type of problems: I copy/paste something out of MS Word into an Outlook mail and the formatting looks great; I then copy/paste a table out of MS Excel, and the paste action re-formats the text previously inserted.

    Although I admit that MisterMe is right about HTML having limitations, the problem here is not HTML -- it's Microsoft. In Windows, Outlook uses the MS Word engine as the default editor for e-mail. Because of this, you get very nice integration between Outlook and the various Office apps. This has lulled us all into a nice sense of security that we don't have to worry about the HTML formatting nonsense MisterMe points out -- we simply let Office handle it.

    The question then, is why did Microsoft fail to create this same integration on the Mac version of the tool suite?

    As to the question of wanting professional looking e-mails. C'mon everyone, it is 2012. We are allowed to expect more out of our O/S than ASCII. That's so 1987...
  9. Ccrew macrumors 68020

    Feb 28, 2011
    Since you're tech savvy, you know that a lot of enterprises kill HTML tags at the gateway.

    And if you change fonts/sizes/formatting you have no clue whatsoever if the end recipient will support any of it in which case it'll be substituted.

    But you're tech savvy so you know that :p You could however do like others and blame the evil Microsoft. Apple Mail would never do a thing like that...heh

    Interrobang said it all. "And the issue is that there is nothing standard about HTML mail."
  10. takeshi74 macrumors 601

    Feb 9, 2011
    What does the OS have to do with it?
  11. entropyfl macrumors regular

    Oct 12, 2009
    I use to have a terrible time with this when using Mac mail as it would really mess up my outgoing mail and make it look very unprofessional.

    Since using outlook i've not really had a problem and i just have mine set to Calibri 14.

    I do occasionally get the issue but that seems to be with people who are using old windows system/early versions of office.

    my biggest gripe is copying excel data into an email. sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. any ideas on that?
  12. cybrhippy macrumors newbie

    Jan 27, 2012
    All my emails are plain text (or I attempt too) but I have the issues described as above. There are no formatting options for me. I can use things like elm/pine/mail(x). And to add to the list of issues I have found, don't ever try to put ... in an email either. 3 dots get converted tome funky symbol when sent, Even if you are sending it as plain text.

    I think the issue stems from the fact that Outlook is a "Proof of Concept" for micro$oft and purely uses the OWA web-based interface instead of the old mapi.dll and its later ilk.

    Since M$ competes directly w/ Apple/OSX, they really don't care if their apps work well, Just enough to tease people.

    Odds are everyone's best bet is to find out who runs their Exchange servers, Take them out for Lunch or beers after work and ask them kindly to enable IMAP w/ SSL so you can start using a real email client. If they set it up and even use a Valid SSL cert, Buy them a really nice diner.
  13. dgalvan123 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 16, 2008
    I gather from the comments in this thread that use of HTML in e-mail is problematic, though I do not appreciate the condescending tone. Several posters in this thread, myself included, are genuinely annoyed/inconvenienced by this behavior in our e-mail clients, and we came here seeking advice, not derision. Also, as far as I can tell no one has actually provided a useful suggestion as to how to overcome the problem.

    My particular problem is that often when I copy-paste some text from one e-mail into a new e-mail, I cannot insert the text into the precise location I want. Instead, the pasted text always appears a line above where I want it, usually at the beginning of the paragraph. This behavior occurs whether I am using Outlook 2011 OR Apple Mail. It also occurs whether I am using my company's e-mail account (an exchange server) OR my personal e-mail account (gmail imap), in either client (Outlook or Mail). Shutting off HTML formatting is a successful workaround, but means I cannot embed clickable links which make my messages more convenient for the recipients. I am running Lion 10.7.4.

    I have used HTML-enabled e-mail for many years and have never experienced this annoyance before. I only encountered these problems after switching jobs to a new company, and also switching from Snow Leopard to Lion. Up until finding this thread, I didn't know whether the different behavior was due to my new company or the upgraded OS. I use Mail on my home mac (Snow Leopard) and don't have these problems. I use both Mail and Outlook on my company work mac (using the same e-mail accounts) and DO have these problems (Lion).

    I gather from one of the comments here that different companies somehow apply different standards for HTML e-mail on their installed e-mail clients? Is this true? Is there any reason to think this is somehow related to Snow Leopard vs. Lion?
  14. Ken Masters macrumors member

    Nov 30, 2006
    I'm having similar issues. Outlook 2011 for Mac is a total POS. Having gone from the Windows XP version (no problems or complaints) to the Mac 2011 version, the difference in quality and features is significant. Hardly surprising but you'd at least hope them to get the basics right :confused: ? Not sure if it's a Lion-specific issue as I've only ever used Outlook with Lion.

    The main annoyance is when copying and pasting text from other emails / sources. "Paste and match style" just doesn't work. But what's worse is that it appears to work on my screen but then when I send it, the formatting goes weird for the receiver. Even if I manually highlight the whole email, change the font size to the same number and then send.

    Super annoying and it looks really unprofessional. I've submitted numerous feedback bits and pieces to Microsoft but I bet that just goes straight into a black hole.
  15. MisterMe macrumors G4


    Jul 17, 2002
    I won't address the question of whether no not Outlook 2011 is a POS. Even if it is, that is not your "problem." With Outlook:win, you are pasting content from a proprietary Microsoft application running on a proprietary Microsoft operating system into a proprietary Microsoft email client. Your recipients may also use the same or similar combination of proprietary Microsoft products exclusively.

    Your lament that Microsoft didn't get the basics right with Outlook 2011 is diametrically opposite the facts. Internet email is supposed to be cross-platform. To transform it into a collection of proprietary technologies is anything but "basic."

    Reread my post above about the nature of professional email. The features that you are trying to use in Outlook 2011 are proprietary Windows technologies and cannot work on other platforms like MacOS X and Linux. You have a choice. Continue to use them and be frustrated with the results or use only published standards technologies and get on with your life.
  16. video5233 macrumors newbie

    May 8, 2012
    It is only after the recent MacOffice 2011 updates to Outlook that the issue arose (sometime after February 2012). As mentioned by others, one could open the HTML text in a browser then copy/paste into Mac Outlook 2011. That methodology does not work anymore. Any suggested workarounds for cutting/pasting HTML text?
  17. avalonnyc macrumors newbie

    Mar 14, 2012
    Formatting messed up in Outlook calendar & contact notes too

    Ok, maybe it is not unreasonable for Microsoft to screw up pasting into HTML emails, though this will kill Outlook 2011 for them, since most Mac users will reasonably expect it to work like any other editor and users new to the Mac (likely most Outlook 2011 users) will expect it to work like it does on the PC, IOW, flawlessly.

    But do they have to screw up formatting in Outlook Contact notes and Calendar Notes too? Why are they even using HTML for Contacts notes? I can almost NEVER tell where something I paste into a contact note is going to end up. Maybe on the preceding line, maybe on the following line, maybe 10 lines above.

    This is not brain surgery. If the user places the insertion point between two characters, and your code displays the insertion point between those two characters, insert the d*mned text between those two characters!
  18. plinke macrumors newbie

    Jul 20, 2011
    MAC Formatting Problem

    Just my quick contribution here. First of all, while not being a fan or Microsoft AT ALL I actually think this is a MAC problem. For example, Macmail cannot send an email that keeps formatting that you choose. If you send it to another MAC it will turn out fine, if it goes to a PC then whatever you picked gets changed to TimesRoman 12 (even if the PC has exactly the same font that you picked installed). The only formatting that is kept properly is what is in the signature. Some people solve this problem by leaving a blank line on the top of their signature file and then typing their email from there (so really your email has no body, just one big long signature file. This will keep all the correct formats, but is a pain and doesn't work right when forwarding or replying. There are also 3rd party workarounds that are just as clunky. If you want to send professional looking emails you can forget Macmail. What is interesting is that since the signature block keeps all the correct formatting all the time, it's clearly possible to send and keep formatting.

    Entrourage always did it correctly. It kept all the formats regardless of the email client or operating system of the recipient. Outlook for MAC also worked until Lion was released and now there seem to be random formatting changes that happen for the recipient. All this is very annoying because sometimes when people reply to my email and include the original mail, it looks like it was written by a 5 year old (all kinds of different fonts and sizes, although the original was written in Ariel 12 - hardly an exotic font even for Windows PCs).

    The other posters are correct that this problem never happens if using Outlook on the PC, and sadly I have had to install Parallels, Windows and Windows Outlook on my MAC which I now use for emails. Altogether a $600 solution, and I have to say I find it disappointing that Apple which invented desktop publishing is not able to make an email program that can keep basic formatting. And to be clear - basic formatting is nothing more than picking a font (e.g. Ariel 12) and having the recipient end up with the same thing.
  19. 99thpercentile macrumors newbie

    Jul 18, 2011
    Vicksburg, MS, USA
    I have been having this same sequence of problems with no resolution after long discussions with both Microsoft and Apple. I want all of my emails to be plain text and always avoid HTML, but I still have these issues. I end up having the same weird formatting and line skipping problems in Evernote occasionally when copying something from an email in Outlook 2011.

    To reiterate, I have all of my email settings in Outlook 2011 set to plain text and I still have the issues with information being pasted a line above where I want it to go. I also have the issue with pasted text jumping up above several lines of text when I delete a line break.
  20. sillyrabbitt macrumors 6502

    Jan 28, 2009
    count me in with the same problem! it really sux i must look like a real freak to some of my clients. its embarrassing. it adds in weird characters sometimes as well. i really hate it. nobody has said anything to me about it yet but i now BCC myself to see how it comes out and sometimes it comes out fine and sometime a wreck. i have also tried going into word re-crafting an email and then pasting it into outlook and that works as well. paste style match works but not 100%
  21. magpen macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2012
    I know this forum is old, but I could not pass without saying that you should not be here responding in such a mean way. If someone wants to be neat using HTML message to send, so be it. You are probably one of those lazy ones that don't care for presentation. I don't want to imagine your résumé or your personal appearance. Out of here that you are not helping!!!
  22. magpen macrumors newbie

    Dec 6, 2012

    I was a heavy user of Microsoft as my Email editor in Outlook in Windows, but having happily switched to Mac, I only find faults with Microsoft Products for MAC. They did not care to do the same integration that they have in Windows, maybe as punishment to us for changing :(. And that's not the only feature they left out, but many more, all very useful, unfortunately.

    Solution: Create the message in Word, then go to File > Share > Email (As HTML). The message will open in Outlook with all the formatting, including animated gifs that become static when inserted into Outlook directly.

    I just wish Apple perfected their products for this purpose so that we can forget about Microsoft.
  23. Wayfaringemu macrumors newbie

    Jan 24, 2013

    So... glad you are 'slightly' grasping the issue. Users are experiencing issues simple as indenting text and sending it, only to have the indent ignored, even in their OWN Sent Items. I think that shoots your "You have no control over other users' software' theory. Also, the formatting DOES look fine when reading it in Outlook for Mac's counterpart, Outlook for Windows. Please make sure that you have a vague understanding of the issue at hand before ripping people, and if not, perhaps you should go back to reading your Seventeen Magazine. Peace!
  24. MrsScarf macrumors newbie

    Feb 4, 2013
    A solution

    I know this is an old thread but I was enraged by the amount of trolls on here, and I think I have a solution.

    I have been having this problem for ages and finally decided to try everything under the sun to try to fix it. Finally something worked!

    Before sending any emails I cut and paste all of the text (event the signature as that can go do-lally too!) into TextEdit, check it still looks ok and then cut and paste it back again.

    Yes it's a pain, but it works! All my emails now go out looking nice and professional - I would say more like Vanity Fair then Just Seventeen though ;)

    How this helps people.


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