Font sometimes displays in Helvetica & sometimes Times in Outlook 2010

My client has informed me that her email newsletter occasionally switches to Times New Roman from Helvetica in Outlook 2010. When the email is first received it appears as it should - as Helvetica - but sometimes when you go back to the message it appears as Times New Roman. However, when you quit Outlook and then re-open it, it's back to Helvetica. This is the same client looking at the very same email.

What's going on? Anyone hear of this happening? And how can I fix it.

I've linked to the code here.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 5 years ago

Hey there kickpleat, this is a pretty unusual issue, but after looking at the code, it's likely that the email client is struggling with the fonts defined in font-family. The FaktNormal font and its variants aren't well supported, so could you try removing them and see if it still happens? By all means, contact our team if you still don't have any luck with this.

Thanks, kickpleat! Let us know how you go.

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kickpleat, 5 years ago

Yes, that was it! Problem solved, thank you!

NetDirect, 4 years ago


I'm getting this all the time now, with all of my campaigns.

They all use the template builder and are very basic, but the problem comes from the 'Lucida Grande' font in the template, I think.

If I leave the template as is, anyone who uses Outlook 2010 appears to have problems. Sometimes it looks ok at first glance, but then if you come back to the message later it loses all the fonts and just reverts to Times Roman.

You have to then restart Outlook to make it look ok again, but it is only temporary. It will go back to Times sooner or later. Which is very, very annoying and a bit weird.

I have downloaded the template, removed all references to the Lucida fonts (making no other changes at all) and uploaded the template back in to the system and now it is all ok.

So I think Outlook 2010 has some issues (well, lets be honest it has lots of issues, but specifically this one for now) with they way the fonts are called/referenced.

Do you think it could be the fact that 'lucida grande' is in quotes? I know this is normal most of the time, I'm just wondering if this is what is tripping Outlook over.



roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hey there Simon, my guess is that as Lucida Grande isn't usually an installed font on Windows machines, Outlook is struggling with the fallbacks (if you have any defined, other than Times). Could you try Tahoma or Verdana instead and see if they are better supported?

It could also be a kooky thing with quotes, so let us know if that fixes things, too :)

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NetDirect, 4 years ago


Yep, as I mentioned before, removing the lucida font sorted the problem. That just left verdana as the only option, which works fine.

Times was never included as a fallback, Outlook just decided to use that for some reason.

Don't forget I'm talking about your templates here, from the template builder. If you chose the fonts that you make available in the template builder that start with Lucida, and you send to recipients with Outlook 2010 installed, they will have this problem.

So it's a bug/compatibility problem with your template and OL2010. Maybe that needs to be fixed? Will be causing lots of your clients problems.....


roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi there Simon, this has been a tough issue to reproduce, unfortunately. We tested one of our templates in Outlook '10 and no font substitution occurred.

Here's the campaign webversion, for comparison.

We're going to keep an eye out for more reports of this and then by all means, we'll look at changing our templates if it's shown that it's impacting multiple email recipients. Thanks for the heads up, you may be on to something..!

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steve_jones20, 4 years ago


We're having the same issue as NetDirect, if you use the template builder and select 'Lucida Grande', Lucida, Verdana, sans-serif as the font base, viewing the email in Outlook 2010 defaults to Times.


roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi there Steve, we've compared this issue to other reports and it seems this happens very occasionally in Outlook and Thunderbird (for 'Helvetica Neue', mind) when an exact match can't be found on the recipient's machine for fonts specified in the stack. It's a very strange and rare issue that we haven't been able to reproduce in Outlook and Thunderbird in-house.

By all means, if we receive more reports of this, we may remove 'Lucida Grande' as a font option. I'll bring this up internally and let you know if it's something we change in the future. Thank you for reporting this!

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bramwillemse, 4 years ago

I have the same problem. It displays Times New Roman (or at least a serif font) in Outlook 2007/2010 while I'm using for example:

font-family: 'Calibri', Arial, sans-serif;

On another forum of a newsletter service I read their conversion of the quoted fonts went wrong. Could it be something like this? Or is the problem in Outlook not understanding the quotes? Maybe only double quotes? Or no quotes?

I'd really like to know what the exact problem is here..

Thanks for looking into it.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi Bram, this is something we really have to look into here. The quotes may well be an issue,  but so far, we haven't been able to reproduce the lack of font support. If you have any resources on this, we'd love to check them out.

As for the example above, the font name Calibri is one word, so you don't have to surround it in quote marks. Let us know if removing the quotes solves this issue :)

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arangas, 4 years ago

I can also reproduce this. I fiddled with single quotes, double quotes, spacing, tags, and changing the Lucida options to one I knew was installed: Lucida Sans. Nothing worked...

It seems that Outlook cannot handle a space (or quotes?) when specifying the font. When I changed the font-family to Lucida,Verdana,sans-serif everything was solved.

I agree this should be looked into - not cool that e-mails in Outlook appear so differently or as well as other clients when it's so popular.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Hi arrangas, this is such a strange issue, but yes, as a result, we are looking into having two-worded font names removed from our templates. Helvetica Neue in our templates has been a issue in particular.

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Redferret, 4 years ago

Just to clear up some confusion here, Outlook will default to Times on any block element where font-family isn't set, only inline elements like span will inherit the font of their container. I think some of you may have this issue and not one related to the font-stack itself

Gmail app apologist
nightjar nightjar, 4 years ago

Yep, seconding Redferret's comment here.

Also this can be fixed in a rather old-school fashion..

If you add (for example) <font face="'Open Sans', 'Lucida Grande', 'Helvetica Neue', Arial, sans-serif;"> before any text, it will work like a charm and Outlook will have no problems skipping over the fonts that it can't display (including webfonts), whether they are two words or not, in quotes or not.

It will fall back to the first font that it can display, as expected.

I think another reason that some people have this problem but others cannot reproduce it *might* be to do with the fact that Outlook renders using whatever version of IE is installed on the machine that it is running on. Just to make things more difficult. It doesn't really explain the fact that it can be intermittent though.

roshodgekiss roshodgekiss, 4 years ago

Thank you so much for your feedback on this one - we'll have to experiment a bit more with the use of <font> tags. I believe removing Helvetica Neue etc is still on the cards here, so we'll keep you posted as we go.

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grr, 2 years ago

Any progress on this? We still experience the same problem intermittently, trying to use a well-established (ie old) template for which the only usable Base Font is HeleveticaNeue, sans serif.
I'm reluctant to export, edit the template and reimport, as in previous experience the parser throws up all sorts of errors in the original html, which take ages to sort out!

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