When integrating HTML support into Outlook 2007, MSFT chose to use the Word 2007 HTML rendering engine instead of the much more logical choice of IE7. As a result, Outlook 2007 can render only a small subset of the HTML standard.
Gone are the halcyon days of practical div support, background images, and many, many other mainstays of standards-compliant markup. Instead, we have to rely on the older and less elegant table-based layouts of old just to get our emails to look pretty.
There is an in-depth article published on the MSDN site, including a list of supported tags and a somewhat helpful Dreaweaver validator for Word 2007:
- MSDN Article: Word 2007 HTML and CSS Rendering Capabilities in Outlook 2007 (Part 1 of 2)
- MSDN Article: Word 2007 HTML and CSS Rendering Capabilities in Outlook 2007 (Part 2 of 2)
- 2007 Office System Tool: Outlook HTML and CSS Validator
Of course, the validator comes as an MSI (Microsoft Software Installer), which means that if you’re developing in Dreamweaver on the Mac, you’re SOL (Shit Out of Luck). There’s no reason for this other than corporate arrogance; the installer simply dumps two text files into a destination directory.
Which leads me to the work-around tip. If you have Parallels or VMWare (or any access to a PC), do the following:
- Open a Windows VM (or otherwise use a PC)
- Download the installer for the Macromedia validator (“WordMailSupportMacromedia.msi”)
- Run the installer, but for convenience, have it dump the files in a temporary directory instead of the deeply nested default.
- Now get the two recently “installed” files over onto to your Mac (“Word2007.txt” and “Word2007_CSS.xml”).
- Paste them into ~/Applications/Adobe Dreamweaver CS3/configuration/BrowserProfiles
- Restart Dreamweaver
- (Back in Windows, run the installer again to uninstall the files and clean up the registry)
The Word 2007 validation profiles will now be available for use.
Have loads of fun with this one.