Off with its head! Outlook’s maximum height for images in email

This morning, we received an excellent question from one of our customers, which read: “I’ve got a really tall image in my email. Why is it clipping in Outlook?”.

As it turns out, email clients that use the Word 2007 rendering engine (ie. Outlook 2007 and Outlook 2010) have inherited the Word 2007 image height limit of 18 inches.

This is nice to know if you’re working in Word, but how about when you’re designing for email? We ran a test and found out that Outlook ‘07 and Outlook ‘10 truncate the upper portion of all images higher than 1728px from the top-down. So, if your image is 250px longer than the 1728px limit, 250px will get lopped off the top. Take a look at the screenshots below to see this in action:

Outlook 2003 (and all other major email clients)

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Outlook 2007 & Outlook 2010

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You may be wondering, “Who adds images larger than 1728px high to their emails?” Well, a few days ago, we linked back to an impressively long, image-only email that, despite its creativity, wouldn’t have made the cut in Outlook ‘07 and ‘10. So before you warm up your scrollbar, don’t forget that Outlook has its limits.

Many thanks to @sarahJ26 for tweeting this in. If you have a question or quirk you want to share, send us a tweet or visit our forums!

Posted by Ros Hodgekiss

8 Comments

  • Remy Bergsma
    16th April

    Life just got more interesting for folks like us. Nice insight Ros: kinda stupid that an email client inherits these kinds of mishaps from a Word processor. Oh well :)

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    16th April

    Thanks, Remy! Well, with Outlook 2010 just around the corner, there’s no looking back now. :)

  • Morley
    16th April

    In all fairness, I should point out that you can (and should) cut the image into smaller pieces so that the top part of the image will render before the bottom part. So you should rarely have to make a 2000px-high image.

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    16th April

    Totally agree with you Morley, emailing a 2000px high image isn’t the most desirable outcome. For the most part, we’re getting this information out there, as the waterslide email isn’t the first I’ve seen that’s played on the ‘really, really long email’ idea.

  • Twitch
    30th April

    The one big image would take much less to load than lots of smaller images (only have to load header information for 1 image)

  • maya
    30th April

    What about Body Background Images? Did you also test these?

  • Ros Hodgekiss
    30th April

    Hi maya, no, this wasn’t part of the test, although we may take a look at this in the future.

  • dekim
    1st May

    I had a similiar problem with an image being cropped. I tried to cut the image in 2 and stack it like the user mentioned above, but it created a 5px gap between the 2 stacked images that would not go away.

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