Microsoft Outlook and Outlook Express
Netscape and Eudora

Microsoft has two new email programs.  Outlook is for sale and Outlook Express ("Express" is MS's euphemism for "Lite") comes free with Windows 98.  Therefore, they are programs to watch--and, perhaps, to be wary of.

Both programs can send and receive email containing HTML enhancements.

They both appear to display received standard HTML email messages correctly.

However, they embed non-standard codes in messages that they SEND.  Some of these codes are insidious, in that they appear to display properly in Netscape and Eudora Pro 4, but cause peculiar problems, especially when you quote an Outlook message in a reply.

In Netscape, for example, quoted Outlook messages are displayed in screwy colors and odd line lengths.  Also, it is all but impossible to interrupt the quotation to insert your own text.  The quotation displays a blank line, but any text you insert into that line looks like part of the quotation.  When you save a draft of your Netscape message with an Outlook quatation, the line breaks will almost certainly get screwed up:  paragraphs run together.

UPDATE:  Outlook messages that are quoted in Netscape Messenger look fine--until you send them or save them.  Then they get reformatted into one single paragraph.  Why?  Because Outlook uses a non-standard method to format paragraphs.  Netscape recognizes the code, but doesn't use it--so the original Outlook paragraphs collapse into one.  WORKAROUND:  Before sending or saving a Netscape message with an Outlook quotation, go through the quotation, adding hard returns between the quoted paragraphs.  Then Save your message.  That will show you how it will look when it's sent, and you can make any other changes that are needed.

This is typical of Microsoft's applications: they are evidently designed to frustrate users of competing software.

The only way to get around this Outlook subversion when quoting is to edit the HTML code directly in Netscape.

Outlook messages appear correctly in Eudora Pro 4.  There's no problem replying to them, even with quotations, because Eudora strips out ALL enhancements when quoting--italics, bold, and all.  That's either a strength or a weakness, depending on how you use email.

Please send corrections, suggestions, and comments to 
(Sorry--I've been getting a lot of SPAM lately. 
Please type it into the "To:" line of an email message.

Back to Email Format and Style Enhancements

Home Page