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Limitations of Microsoft Outlook for Windows
Limitations of Microsoft Outlook for Windows

Limitations and unsupported features when displaying email campaigns in Microsoft Outlook.

Gareth Burroughes avatar
Written by Gareth Burroughes
Updated this week

Fonts

Web fonts, such as Google fonts, are not supported. Therefore, you must include an email-safe fallback font.

Microsoft Outlook can behave unpredictably when using non-email-safe fonts. For example, text can default to Times New Roman even when you include a fallback font in the CSS. To prevent this, add Microsoft Outlook-specific styles to the head of your campaign's HTML code.

Learn more in Add web fonts to email.

Forwarding emails from Outlook

Forwarding emails from Outlook on Windows can cause the appearance of the email to change. As soon as the email is forwarded, Outlook rewrites the HTML and CSS code, which can cause unwanted issues such as gaps, misalignment and changes to line height. It also causes any blocks which have been set to display only on mobile to also display on desktop. Unfortunately there is nothing that can be done to prevent this happening, as we have no control over the code at the point of forwarding. We'd recommend avoiding using blocks that display only on mobile if you are aware that your contacts forward emails from Outlook on Windows.

Background images

Background images don't display on Microsoft Outlook for Windows. Therefore, you must include a fallback background colour for displays where the image does not load.

When using background images in email design, it's best to reserve them for simple textures or patterns that won't matter if they're not visible. Never add background images that include text or essential visual information as it might get lost.

CSS

Many CSS techniques used in modern web design, such as overlapping content or rounded corners, are not supported by Microsoft Outlook for Windows.

You can still use these techniques in email design, but it's essential to test on Microsoft Outlook for Windows to ensure that your design still looks great when CSS is not supported.

Kinetic / interactive content

Interactive email content uses code not currently supported by Microsoft Outlook for Windows. Therefore, you must create static fallback content.

If you have many contacts opening your campaigns in Microsoft Outlook for Windows, you should focus on other ways to make your content more engaging.

Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs are now widely supported in Outlook on Windows. However, older versions of Outlook might display only the first frame or loop the animation a few times.

Therefore, it's essential to make sure the first frame of the GIF contains any vital content in case the animation does not play.

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