Template builder: what problems are you having

Hi all,

The CM template builder was a brilliant idea and worked really well for a while but we have been experiencing a number of issues recently which users are really suffering because of. Some of them CM already know about but not enough users have reported these issues to get them to the top of the fixes list.

So the purpose of this thread is to get anyone who has noticed issues to report them on here and maybe we can push this forward.

Only issues specifically related to the template builder should be added to keep the thread useful.

We will post our issues below to get the ball rolling.

Thanks for your help.

SelectMailer SelectMailer, 2 years ago

Font problems in Outlook

The default font set on the builder is "'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif", a number of our users have reported that in Outlook this does not work and defaults to Times New Roman. We have seen this on our own PC's too.

It was mentioned that this could have been a corrupted font issue but we simply don't accept that as too many users have the same problem.


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SelectMailer www.selectmailer.com
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JohnP JohnP, 2 years ago

@SelectMailer - allow me to offer some troubleshooting suggestions...

Check the output code in your email after it arrives in Outlook. If it has

font-family: "Helvetica Neue", Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif;

It should fallback to Arial (Helvetica and Geneva are rare on PC's as they are Mac fonts).

If this is there but not working, it is probably an issue of where it is declared. For me, I always use <font> tags. Try adding this <font> tag to your email code:

<font style="font-family: "Helvetica Neue", Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif;">Testing...</font>

If that works, but the rest doesn't then you know it is where the editor is declaring the font family. If the font tag doesn't show up as Arial, then it is on your end (you might not have Arial installed on your PC).

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 2 years ago

Hi Selectmailer, thank you for being so proactive here. Just a reminder that if you see something that you feel is genuinely a bug, please contact us directly. We treat bugs in a very different fashion from general feature requests and can often get app issues solved very rapidly.

Also, we have a new 'wish list' for this year that is actively responded to.

In regards to the Outlook font issue, we haven't been able to reproduce it successfully as yet on our end, so we suspect it's not so much caused by the editor, but occurs in specific Outlook installs. However, we're happy to continue testing if you get in touch with details and examples.


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jayc jayc, 2 years ago

I can confirm that I also have had this font issue. I used the template builder and sent myself some test emails, and was surprised to see the text display in Times New Roman.

However, I eventually realised that this behaviour wasn't consistent, because it would display correctly for the first few views, then in subsequent views it would change to Times New Roman, and then when I closed and restarted Outlook, it would revert back to normal again!

It was as if some bug with Outlook was triggered, and the only way to fix it was restart Outlook. But this would only last for a brief time before the bug was triggered again.

Having said that, the only time I have witnessed this behaviour was from this one template email from CM.

I was using Outlook 2010. Hope that helps!

JohnP JohnP, 2 years ago

The secret is in the code in Outlook, there has to be something extra or missing in there causing it to break.

At the very bottom of your email (between where the html part stops and the email view panel ends), right-click > view source. That is the quickest way to inspect the received code in Outlook.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 2 years ago

At the very bottom of your email (between where the html part stops and the email view panel ends), right-click > view source. That is the quickest way to inspect the received code in Outlook.

Next time this weirdness happens, could you kindly do this and see if anything is amiss? This inconsistent behaviour is what's totally throwing us out and I dare say, it's likely to happen regardless of what service you use to send your email newsletters.


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Jemiina Jemiina, 2 years ago

I'm having the same difficulty with Outlook 2007 & 2010 defaulting to Times New Roman. I already posted about it here too http://www.campaignmonitor.com/blog/post/3897/using-web-fonts-in-email.

So I'm using Open Sans through Google fonts with fallback fonts set as "Arial, sans-serif", and even with extra font tags added outside or inside multiline elements, like so:

<font face="'Open Sans', Arial, sans-serif"><multiline label="Description">Enter your description</multiline></font>

or

<multiline label="Description"><font face="'Open Sans', Arial, sans-serif">Enter your description</font></multiline>

Outlook still renders these editable multiline text areas as Times New Roman. However, I'm using the latter option, as my client informed me that it helped in some instances. Adding font tags right outside single-line editable elements (and other non-editable text) works for Outlook on those; it's only the multiline elements where the problem lies.

As per the suggestion above, I checked the source in Outlook 2010 and compared it to the source you get when viewing the sent email in a browser, and there was nothing different in them (except the 1x1px gif at the end in the Outlook version and meta declarations for robots and og:title in the browser version, but those will hardly have an effect on fonts).

However, now as I got the chance to test the email myself in Outlook 2010 besides Campaign Monitor's testing and could view the email before images were downloaded, I was surprised to see that multiline areas were actually all nicely Arial. And they were Arial also in all the previous test emails sent to that inbox from the same campaign. So in this case it only goes wrong after you agree to download images. And once you've downloaded the images, and the multiline areas come out as Times, Outlook applied the same Times New Roman on all the other previous email tests too, even without agreeing to download images on them. And if I closed Outlook and sent another test email, I'd again see Arial before downloading images. This was with a Windows 7 + Outlook 2010 setup.

Maybe you could add an option to the multiline editor that you could force those oldie font-tags around every paragraph ;)?

JohnP JohnP, 2 years ago

It may be the font face="" - I have never used it myself. Try declaring all fonts inside font tags using CSS:

<font style="font-family: 'Open Sans', Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; color: #770000;">Try this</font>

You could then wrap your multiline or singleline tags inside the font tags.

Jemiina Jemiina, 2 years ago

Thank you for the suggestion, I tried it just now, replacing face to style, but unfortunately the results were worse: now all the text was Times New Roman. So font face=".." works as long as you can put it around every text element you have, whereas font style=".." seems to have no effect (again testing on Outlook 2010).

JohnP JohnP, 2 years ago

That is strange. I've been solely using the font tag technique for years without any problems and Outlook 2010 is the first place I preview my emails. My main day job doesn't use CM however. Not sure what the x factor is...

I'd suggest checking out the Outlook code as mentioned above. There surely has to be something getting added or stripped...

Also try a different font family to see if it is isolated to that.

SelectMailer SelectMailer, 2 years ago

This font issue has occurred on multiple PC's in our office and several clients so is not isolated.

We have sent through several other Template Builder issues in the last few months and dare I suggest that maybe CM need to relook at this as it is causing us major headaches and our clients are getting cross with us!

We know how to code round many of the problems but we have built our pricing structure around clients building their own. As soon as we tamper with the code the client can no longer edit it in the Template Builder editor which defeats the whole purpose of it.

We love CM and, as you can see in our account, put a fair bit of business through it but these issues are causing us to look at alternative options.


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SelectMailer www.selectmailer.com
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roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 2 years ago

Hi SelectMailer, I can understand how disruptive this font issue must be to you and your clients - it's a really tricky one because as we mentioned earlier, it's proving to be difficult to reproduce! However, we really do want to make our template builder templates as bulletproof as possible and would love your help with this.

As per the conversation above, Jemiina mentioned that the following seems to work:

<font face="'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif"><multiline>Some text here</multiline></font>

Would it be possible for you to confirm if this indeed solves the issue for you? Let us know and we'll certainly throw our weight behind looking at this as something we can potentially add to the template builder.

Sorry for the trouble here, SelectMailer - we've really appreciated having you and your clients around for the longest time and really hope we can get to the bottom of this Outlook issue.


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SteVader SteVader, 2 years ago

I have run into this exact problem myself today. A template created using the template builder, with the "Helvetica Neue, Arial, Helvetica, Geneva, sans-serif" option selected in the 'Base font' drop down menu. When messages are opened in Outlook 2010 and 2013 all fonts are displayed incorrectly as Times New Roman.

I have fixed this problem by exporting the template and replacing all occurences of:

font-family: 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

with:

font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif;

All of the e-mails now render correctly. As noted elsewhere it seems most likely that it is the quoted font name that is the root of this problem.

Hope that helps someone out and possibly leads to their removal from the template builder.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 2 years ago

Hi everyone, just an update that our team are looking at getting Helvetica Neue removed from the template builder, given the issues that have been reported on Windows machines. While we don't have a timeline just yet, we'll be sure to keep you updated on this. Sorry for the hassle here!


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roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 1 year ago

Hi again everyone, I'm just updating this thread to let you know that we've fixed the issues with Helvetica Neue in our template builder. In essence, the font stack has been updated to "HelveticaNeue, sans-serif;", which seems to work really well in Outlook 2007+.

If you do continue to have issues with Helvetica Neue in your newly-minted template builder templates, please get in touch with us. We're keen to wrap up font stack issues, post haste.


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