5 Tips for Designing Emails for Outlook
Are you sick and tired of coding emails for Outlook? Sorry to break it to you, but Outlook isn't going anywhere. That means you need to be able to design and code emails for Outlook just as well as you would for any other email client.
It's true that Outlook can be frustrating and hard to work around. Any email developer knows that, but there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Use these tips for designing and coding emails in Outlook and you'll be a pro in no time.
1. Use Tables to Save Time
If you're familiar with Outlook, you already know that tables can be your best friend when it comes to laying out a new email. Because Outlook doesn’t handle divs well, tables will ensure your content renders across all email clients. Tables solve a lot of common issues in Outlook, including lists, floating images, text wrapping and spacing inconsistencies. Use tables for everything … seriously, everything … and your email will look better and make a lot more sense to the user. Plus, it will save you a headache or two along the way.
2. Don't Get Too Wide
"This message is too wide to fit your screen … "
That's a notification we've all probably seen and cringed over too many times to count. Avoid Outlook's "wide load" sticker by keeping all of your emails under 630px in width. Why? Because if your email exceeds the reader's browser window, minus 370px, your email will get cut off along the right side and instead, a yellow notification box will appear. Keeping your emails around this width is also good practice for mobile optimization. Which brings us to your next tip …
3. Think Mobile
Adopting a mobile-responsive design is only one piece of the puzzle when we're talking about Outlook. To keep things as mobile-friendly as possible, you need to design your email with a mobile user in mind. That means taking advantage of things like large buttons and text, a single-column layout and easy to read fonts. Giving your subscribers a quality experience every time they open their email, no matter how they decide to read it, is an email best practice no brand can afford to give up.
4. Use Alt Text
While it might seem unfair, Outlook is known to block images. Use alt text with your images so that the description of the image renders. The best way to combat this image blocking is to get your email subscribers to add you to their address book or to the safe senders list in their Outlook settings. Once you're recognized as a trusted sender, your images will render in the email.
5. Test Your Emails Like a Crazy Person
If you're not sending your emails through multiple rounds of quality assurance (QA), you're doing it wrong. Run your emails through multiple testing platforms that allow you to simulate how the email will render in different clients. However, don't forget the basic importance of device testing. Check how your emails look on a desktop, tablet and smartphone before you hit send.
Follow these helpful tips to ensure your subscribers are getting a quality experience every time they open your emails, even if they're opening them in Outlook. And if you need a little more help with Outlook, don't worry, there's more where that came from. We built a detailed guide. (Opens as a PDF)
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