I’m kind of surprised how few people know about this – it always seems to surprise clients when I tell them why their email is breaking in Outlook. To be fair, it makes no goddamn sense, and I can go months without encountering it, and then it’ll happen 6 times in a week, all to different clients. So actually, maybe I shouldn’t be surprised.
So this is a fun little bug that only occurs in the versions of Outlook that use Word as their rendering agent for displaying HTML emails. If you want a very detailed description, take a look at Email on Acid’s article from 2011 – obviously Outlook 2013 has come along since it was written. But for a very short explanation;
Word sticks in page breaks to your emails. Most of the time this doesn’t cause an issue. But if an image lies over a particular pixel, then you’ll get a gap in your email. Depending where that gap is, you might not notice it, but when you do notice it, it’s a pain in the backside. Especially when you have to explain to your client why your email suddenly looks like crap. And the more skeptical clients really don’t want to accept that a) it’s not your fault and b) there’s nothing that can be done about it. Every time I have to explain this bug I feel like an amateur trying to wriggle out of an almighty fuck-up.
If you scour the internet there are some suggestions of fixes, but I have yet to find one that actually works consistently. As far as I am aware there is no catch-all to fix this. I would love to be proven wrong in the comments below…
So I’ve written it down here, so that hopefully it doesn’t just sound like an excuse – I can hold it up and point at it and say “Look it’s a thing”.
And I can make a pointless plea to Microsoft to sort their shit out, and to stop putting page breaks in emails!!!