The latest Outlook has shown challenges in rendering e-mails designed with elements like Cascading Style Sheets, background images and rich media like JavaScript, Flash and animation.

“The previous versions of Outlook rendered e-mail pretty well, because it used the same rendering engine as Internet Explorer, but the new one does not use the same rendering engine,” said Eric Boggs, product manager at Bronto, Durham, NC. “It’s like opening your HTML message in MS Word, so you’re not going to get the same consistency.”

Problems that mailers can expect to face when sending e-mail to Outlook 2007 addresses include rendering problems with background colors and images, too.

There could also be issues displaying Flash files such as video or audio, as well as with CSS-designed files – a format commonly used by designers to make short cuts.

From a design perspective, designers will still be able to use images. But they will have to resort to an older way of writing HTML, as was done more commonly in 2000.

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