Outlook for Mac 2016 15.22 HTML Email Signature Issue [RESOLVED]
If you've recently updated your Outlook Mac 2016 software to the latest version (15.22), and you had an email signature installed, you've probably noticed that it's broken. Here's why and how to fix it.
A little bit of history about the issue
Before the 15.22 update, Outlook Mac 2016 used the Webkit rendering engine to compose emails, which is great because that's the standard these days for best cross-compatibility with other email clients.
In other words, email clients that use Webkit to compose emails, play much nicer with all other major email clients, because the code is similar to how a browser would render the code, and less like how email client's render the code.
In the 15.22 update to Outlook Mac 2016, the geniuses over at Microsoft decided to change from the Webkit rendering engine, to their Word rendering engine, using the excuse that people wanted to be able to insert tables into email messages and that the Word rendering engine is better equipped to handle that task. Tsk tsk Microsoft.
Update: July 28th, 2016
Outlook Mac 2016 15.22+ now uses the Word Rendering Engine and no longer uses Webkit to render emails and it looks like that's here to stay. So what can we do to fix the HTML email signature formatting and rendering issues?
Well, first, you could roll-back to a version previous to 15.22 - see the bottom of this article to a link to download Outlook Mac 2016 version 15.19. But Microsoft probably won't be changing back to Webkit any time soon, so if you're waiting for that to happen, you will be stuck using an outdated version of Outlook for a while.
Or you can use our HTML email signature templates that are still the best templates to work in Outlook Mac 2016, regardless of the affects of the Outlook Mac 2016 15.22 update.
You see, we have already fixed many of the annoying formatting and rendering issues that occurred when Outlook 2007 on Windows changed to the Word Rendering Engine too.
There are a few noticeable differences if you compare the original HTML email signature, to when it has been sent by Outlook Mac 2016 to different email clients, but as you can see in the images below, the signatures are still nicely formatted and we think that's a pretty big win in this case.
In conclusion, we have not given up on fixing these nagging left over problems caused by the Outlook Mac 2016 15.22 update, the simple fact is that right now, no one can overcome this issue to make email signatures work perfectly again in Outlook Mac 2016, other than Microsoft. (See the end of this article for more information about why our installer app won't work either).
What we can do is assure you that our HTML email signature templates are still the best templates available and have a majority of the formatting issues resolved.
What does Microsoft have to say about this?
Most of these behavior changes are due to changing the editor to be based on Word vs. WebKit. This switch was made to accommodate highly requested functionality such as inserting tables, resizing images, etc. Due to differences between Word and WebKit, changing the editor did have some impact on previous behavior.
- JohnWang_MSFT Support - Read the article on the Microsoft forums here.
Not the first time
Microsoft has never played by the rules when it comes to email clients. This isn't the first time Microsoft have made the decision to use Word over Webkit. The Webkit rendering engine was used originally in Outlook 2003 (in Windows) and Microsoft changed to the the Word rendering engine for the Outlook 2007 release, citing the same reasons (works better with our products like Word, Excel... but will break in almost any other email client).
Ask any HTML email developer out there about the headaches this caused with rendering pixel perfect HTML email designs. The Word rendering engine, inserts it's own code, that only Outlook products can interpret and display, upon sending your email. So if any other email client, other than Outlook receives your email, it's likely it won't look the same as when you sent it.
The good news is, we've already spent a long time working on these issues with the Word rendering engine and email signatures to fix problems in Windows versions of Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013 and our custom developed HTML email signature code will fix these issues with fomatting email signatures for Outlook Mac 2016 too.
The bad news is, we're still working on how to install the email signatures to override the Word rendering engine's code with our HTML code. We can do this for Windows, but Mac's are proving a little more difficult. Read on to find out what we're doing to fix this.
What happens to my email signature in Outlook Mac 2016 15.22
Why does your email signature break in the latest update you ask? Because Outlook Mac 2016 now operates very similarly to it's other products on Windows, like Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013.
With the latest update to 15.22 and the introduction of the Word rendering engine, instead of just sending your HTML as you composed it, Word's own HTML is inserted all throughout your clean HTML, messing it up when viewed on other email clients. Along with this, images that were previously fetched from a web server and served correctly in the HTML, are now saved and embedded into your email message on send, making images appear as attachments in other email programs. Thanks Microsoft!
To fix this, we're going to need to directly access and edit the HTML file where your email signature is saved and override Word's created code, to change it back to the original HTML code that it should be. Which is unfortunately a lot easier said than done. So far when we've tried editing the HTML and saving it, but this deletes the email signature's HTML file completely. We're still working on it.
How do I fix my Outlook Mac 2016 15.22 from breaking my email signatures
We're currently working on a free HTML email signature installer for Outlook Mac 2016, for all our members, to fix this issue for you, so you don't have to go into your files, find HTML files to edit and it's looking to be like the only solution.
Also, much like we were able to fix the HTML code to send from Outlook 2007, Outlook 2010 and Outlook 2013, our custom developed HTML code is already able to play nicely sending from all versions of Outlook to any other major email client.
Update July 26th, 2016: Unfortunately, it's not possible to edit the HTML signature files in Outlook Mac 2016, we have tested and tested but the software sees this as a breach of security and forces the edited HTML file to be deleted from the hard drive. Therefore the only real solution for now is to use our template code, which has fixed many of the formatting issues, but there will still be some minor issues.
So essentially, unless you are using our HTML code (that we have spent years perfecting sending from the Word rendering engine), you might have issues, even if you can install the HTML.
Best Recommendation For An Immediate Fix
For now, our best recommendation would be to roll-back your Outlook Mac 2016 software to a previous version before 15.22. This will fix the issue, until we have our installer built. Download version 15.19.1 here.