A tip for Office 365

A strange bug that we found, was that if you don’y have a ‘real’ link in between the quotes in href=“” then your rendering will be shot to pieces in Outlook 365. It might make a random bit of text (that’s nowhere near the offending a-tag) bold, or in capitals, or underlined. It might make a completely different link NOT be underlined. It might change the colour of some text. It might put some white space before an image. It might do any one of a number of seemingly random things. But if you have any kind of randomness in your Office 360 test, check your links!

So what counts as a ‘real’ link? Anything that starts with “http://”, “https://”, “mailto:” or “tel:”. Now you may be thinking “why on earth would you NOT want all your links to start with one of these?”. and in most cases you’d be right – in fact it helped us to find that we’d copied and pasted one particular link provided by a client without checking it.. .and it started “www.” – so yes, in some case it’s helpful. However we have two valid reasons for NOT having ‘real’ links in places:

1) We work with templates and have placeholder copy when we’re testing these templates. So we want to code in a link, but we don’t have a URL yet. We have to put fake links in now during testing

2) ESP codes – especially for unsub and view online links – eg Exact Target view online link is <a href=“%%view_email_url%%”. So while we’re doing initial render testing and pasting into Litmus (and yes, Litmus seems to accurately reflect the randomness of Office 365) rather than sending we have to change these code to fake links.

Thanks Microsoft, just one more thing we have to combat in your products!

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