The most annoying bug in Outlook 2016
Microsoft is the most annoying pest that overtook our planet: the amount of bugs in their Office suite is appalling. Here you have a description of the most outrageous bug in Outlook 2016.
Until recently, whenever I wrote an e-mail using Outlook 2016 and the recipient was reading it in a browser instead of Outlook or another MUA that removes the spurious empty lines, here’s how the recipient was seeing my e-mail:
Why the double spacing? When I wrote the message, it looked like this in my Outlook:
The problem is that I made it look this way either by pressing ENTER twice (thus effectively inserting an empty paragraph), or by pressing SHIFT-ENTER twice (thus entering two line breaks without ending the paragraph). The second method leads to better results at the receiving end, but I can’t rely on it, as a few people reported issues in some browsers; this is because technically the entire email is a huge paragraph with plenty of <br />, and when the e-mail gets very long…
How should I have written my e-mails in order to have them correctly displayed at the receiving end? Well, like this:
This is just ridiculous, this way I can’t read what I’m writing! But the reason is simple: Outlook 2016 defaults to zero spacing between paragraphs in the composing window; once I format an e-mail to have spaced paragraphs…
…the result looks like this as I compose the e-mail, and reasonably similar at the recipient (we’ll get to this later):
So far, the first idiocy from Microsoft is to have shipped a NormalEmail.dotm that has zero-spaced paragraphs.
The second idiocy is that no matter what you do under Format Text, Paragraph and what the application claims to have done, changes to NormalEmail.dotm are not saved, so basically you have to reformat each and every e-mail! Or maybe not…
…because there is a catch about that. Changes can be saved, but there is another bug that prevents this to happen.
I’ve accidentally found the fix: you first have to change the default font globally under File, Options, Mail, Stationery and Fonts; change the font from “+Body” (which translates to Calibri 11pt) to an actual font name, such as Arial:
Do it three times (for everything):
Now, when you’re in an e-mail paragraph and you go to Format Text, Paragraph, Spacing, the changes you make will magically get saved into NormalEmail.dotm after you hit “Set As Default”! Go figure.
Note that under File, Options, Mail, Stationery and Fonts you cannot change the paragraph spacing, but only the character spacing, which is absurd: what is this, a DTP program?
But this is not the end of the ordeal. With paragraph spacing set to 6pt after a paragraph, what I get when I write a message and what the recipient can read if they use Outlook 2013/2016 looks indeed like this:
But the results in a browser are still different and inconsistent! Using Chrome…
❶ GMail displays the message correctly, just as Outlook 2016 does:
❷ Outlook.com (Live.com, Hotmail.com) displays it like this–a Microsoft product can’t understand Microsoft’s own formatting:
❸ Yahoo Mail shows it like this, discarding the paragraph spacing:
We’re in 2016 and sending an e-mail to be received as intended is impossible! What should we send instead, PDF files? LaTeX? Plain text?
If such an elementary issue can’t be fixed, how are we expecting “them” to fix the horrendous bugs that exist in much more complex applications?
> If such an elementary issue can’t be fixed, how are we expecting “them” to fix the horrendous bugs that exist in much more complex applications?
We can not. This is Microsoft ‘pur jus’, typique. But they are not alone…
Just maybe re-try Thunderbird. It has not this problem, I guess…?
Thunderbird is better at formatting, but I’m now too much into Outlook and too lazy to try anything else.