Exchange & Outlook UPDATE--Outlook Edition

Outlook 2007: HTML Forms Are "Out;" CSS Is "In"

------| Exchange & Outlook UPDATE--Outlook Edition |------

IN THIS ISSUE *Commentary: Outlook 2007: HTML Forms Are "Out;" CSS Is "In" *From the Community: FAQ: How can I configure Microsoft Office Outlook 2003 for digital signatures and encryption? *New and Improved: Send Email From Within Microsoft Office Applications



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***COMMENTARY: Outlook 2007: HTML Forms Are "Out;" CSS Is "In"
by by Sue Mosher, News Editor, [email protected]

Even though Microsoft Office 2007 isn't due for release for several months (late 2006 to volume license customers; early 2007 for retail and OEM customers), Microsoft is already documenting key changes to the product to help with the transition. The latest effort is a detailed description of which HTML elements and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) features Outlook 2007 will support in email messages. The two-part MSDN article "Word 2007 HTML and CSS Rendering Capabilities in Outlook 2007" (see the URLs below) is must reading for any organization that sends newsletters or other standard or automated messages in HTML format. It tells you what you need to know to ensure that the messages look good in Outlook 2007, which has better CSS support than any earlier version.

In addition, Microsoft has released a validation tool to check HTML and CSS files in Visual Studio 2005, Office SharePoint Designer 2007, Expression Web Designer 2007, Macromedia Dreamweaver MX 2004, and Dreamweaver 8 for conformance with Outlook 2007's rendering capabilities. Organizations that use any of those applications to generate HTML content to send in messages (e.g., a newsletter) can use this new utility to help determine how that HTML will appear in Outlook 2007. You can download the tool, called Outlook HTML and CSS Validator at .

What makes this effort both possible and necessary is that Outlook 2007's HTML rendering no longer depends on Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE). In earlier versions, the appearance of an HTML message in Outlook depended in part on which version of IE was installed on the system. Starting with Outlook 2007, the IE dependency goes away. Instead, just as Outlook 2007 uses Office Word 2007 as the sole editor for all types of Outlook items, it also uses Word 2007's rendering engine to display HTML messages. Thus, for the first time, it's possible to determine in advance precisely how Outlook will render an HTML message, regardless of what IE version the system has.

This lack of dependency on IE also shows itself in another way that security-conscious administrators will like. In earlier versions, Outlook had a View, View in Internet Zone command on its toolbar to allow a user to render an HTML message in the less secure Internet zone, for example, when the message contained a script. The

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