Default editor in Outlook 2007 is Word?

I’ve just been reading an interesting newsletter from Kevin Yank at sitepoint called Microsoft Breaks HTML Email Rendering in Outlook 2007.

And, according to Kevin:

While the IE team was soothing the tortured souls of web developers everywhere with the new, more compliant Internet Explorer 7, the Office team pulled a fast one, ripping out the IE-based rendering engine that Outlook has always used for email, and replacing it with … drum roll please … Microsoft Word.

That’s right. Instead of taking advantage of Internet Explorer 7, Outlook 2007 uses the very limited support for HTML and CSS that is built into Word 2007 to display HTML email messages.

Now, everyone who does any HTML editing knows that any programme within the Microsoft Office suite produces the most awful HTML code imaginable and nothing has been done in with Outlook HTML rendering for years.

The newsletter talks about many areas of incompatibility but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at actually how much bloat these MS apps add to simple HTML code. So I created a Hello world! text in a single-celled table to compare. The results are shown below:

Simple html (92)

<table border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″>
<td>Hello world!</td>

Frontpage (187 – 103% bloat)

<table border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ style=”border-collapse: collapse” bordercolor=”#111111″>
<td width=”100%”><span lang=”en-gb”>Hello world!</span></td>

Word (517 – 461% bloat)

{border:1.0pt solid windowtext;
font-family:”Times New Roman”;
<p><span lang=”en-gb”>Word</span></p>
<table class=”MsoTableGrid” border=”1″ cellspacing=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ style=”border-collapse: collapse; border: medium none”>
<td width=”113″ valign=”top” style=”width: 3.0cm; border: 0.0pt solid windowtext; padding-left: 5.4pt; padding-right: 5.4pt; padding-top: 0cm; padding-bottom: 0cm”>
<p class=”MsoNormal”>Hello world!</td>

Excel (572 – 521% bloat)

<table x:str border=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″ width=”64″ style=”border-collapse:
<col width=”64″ style=”width:48pt”>
<tr height=”17″ style=”height:12.75pt”>
<td height=”17″ width=”64″ style=”height: 12.75pt; width: 48pt; color: windowtext; font-size: 10.0pt; font-weight: 400; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; font-family: Arial; text-align: general; vertical-align: bottom; white-space: nowrap; border: medium none; padding-left: 1px; padding-right: 1px; padding-top: 1px”>
Hello world!</td>

Even I’m surprised about the 500+ bloat! with Excel. Personally I would never use Word as an HTML editor and I would certainly never use it as the default editor for Outlook – it’s the 5 minute load time as much as the awful HTML editing that bugs me!

If anyone has comments or solutions about this issue, pleaselet me know and I’ll pass it along.

8 Responses to Default editor in Outlook 2007 is Word?

  1. CaptainTact (less) says:

    I’m not as concerned about this feature as I am about the fact that I can’t turn it off.

    In prior versions of Outlook/Office, I could determine whether or not I wanted Word to be the default e-mail editor. From everything I can find, Word is now the ONLY e-mail editor you can use and there is no way to turn it off and go back to the IE rendering engine.


  2. Bill says:

    Microshafted again!!! Since going to 2007 I haven’t been able to get the animated gifs to work. I’ve checked within Word and verified that the “Provide feedback with animation” box is check and that Outlook is using html and not rich text. Not sure what else to look for. Any suggestions?

  3. T.R. says:

    My understanding, Bill, is that animated gifs no longer work with Outlook 2007 because the (I can’t believe I’m typing these next three words) Microsoft Word Engine does not support them. I don’t think there is any way to work around this (unless we all just stop buying Microsoft products). But, please let me know if you find a way.

    I think MS just did this so we would all find ourselves wishing for we had the IE engine for once. 🙂 “See, it could be worse”

  4. nick v says:

    What editor is used with Outlook 2007 if you only want to install Outlook and no other parts of office???
    At my site I have the default email format set to plain text, this allows our mail to get through the spam filters which manage to catch html code with too many repetitions of tags!
    Also, I like email (business/work related) to be short , succinct, compatibible with everything and small in size!!
    Bandwidth and storage space still cost money!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Here is a wrok around of sorts. I’ve tested it and it works.

  6. Patricia says:

    Microshafted again! Is that Bill from North Port, FL?! Never heard anyone use that term but him. Well this is truly a fnother fine new release from Microshaft Windblows. Not only can you not send/receive animated gifs but it also takes up to 45 seconds to open a word doc! Wasn’t that an issue way back? Good ‘ol Microshaft, can’t add old fixes to a new release., Dumb arse corporate executives pushed for this because it was SO easy to use,…lol…what a joke. Oh well give sus all job security that’s for sure. 🙂

    Good luck with Office 07 all, I’m downgrading to 03.

    Peace and happy computing!

  7. Sue says:

    The employees that do order input at my company have to word merge every order confirmation. Now they get a lovely message after every freaking email saying that they already have Word open – since Word is the only editor now in Outlook. They they have to close their email in order to send the next email, and sometimes it doesn’t close all the way so they have to ctrl + alt + del WinWord. Can you imagine how annoying and time consuming that is?! Damn Microsoft. And Vista is barely compatible with Outlook 07. Nothing but random annoying problems.


  8. Guy Fawkes says:

    T.R. has teh right idea. Instead of being bullied into using Microsoft’s choices for your work, just stop buying their products. Open Office, for example, can do everything MS Office (sans Outlook) can do, for free.

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