Email server/gateway stripping out all CSS - Formatting without CSS


I recently experienced a client's email server seeming to strip out all CSS including inline CSS. Only the HTML elements we rendered.

I sent a test mail to two different email addresses both using Outlook 2010 as the email client. One rendered perfectly with all CSS styles and padding etc. The other was a mess and had ignored all CSS. All the CSS with inline as well so it's not a case of the head being stripped out.

I'm reasonably experienced in coding HTML emails so am aware of the usual pitfalls of coding for Outlook.

I can only assume that they have some extreme security policy and their mail server is stripping all CSS.

To get round it I had to create the email with complex nested tables to achieve padding and use <font> tags to get some sort of styling. This worked OK but was not a patch on the version using CSS.

I was wondering if anyone else has experienced this and how common it is?

It's made me think that perhaps I should build as much as possible using just HTML, get it looking acceptable, then override and enhance using CSS. This is more work though and ads another level of complexity to a simple email.

How common is this approach?

I though I could forget about such things. Unfortunately a large number of our clients, and their subscribers, are corporates and large companies that are more likely to be using ancient systems.

Saw this post that sounded like the same thing to me.


Alex I., 4 years ago

Had an issue just like this with a client. Was having to use <font> tags all over the show. Horrible, horrible stuff.

We just did it until their security people fixed up their email filters!

Redferret, 4 years ago

Outlook should have a "view source" option somwhere, (in 2007 its under actions>other options) that'll let you see the code as Outlook recieved it, that should shed light on exactly whats happening to the HTML.

Gmail app apologist
davecoleman, 4 years ago

Thanks redferret. I've had a look at the forwarded email but I'll see if the client can try this and send it to me.

Redferret, 4 years ago

you'll need it forwarded as an attachment to see it raw

Gmail app apologist

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