I have two styles setup in Outlook for when I send emailed (first email in the thread). One is for quotes and one is for code. They look very similar to formatting on this site where

quoted text is indented and has a thick bare to the left (which is implemented with a border)

And code blocks are in monospace font except my code block has a 1.5 pt back border around it.

That all works out well and good in the first email but when I need to do these things in a reply all the formatting works except the borders do not show.

How can I get a style in Outlook to apply border formatting equally in replies as in the initial email?


My mail format is HTML When I create my first email (HTML) it looks like this

enter image description here

And the formatting tab looks like this

enter image description here

So far so good.

When I send that to myself it looks like this

enter image description here

and in the reply the styles look like this

enter image description here

Notice the borders are messed up.

And if I use those same styles to make another bit of code/quote it looks like this

enter image description here

Notice the borders are gone.

I see now that if I change my mail format to Rich Text none of this happens.

  • 1) You're saying it works if you create the original message but not if you're replying to someone else's message? 2) What about when you reply to someone's reply of your original message containing the formatting? 3) Is your formatting preserved in replies back to you? 4) Does the issue vary depending on the message you're replying to (works for some but not others)? 5) What settings are you using for the editor (HTML)? 6) What happens if you send yourself a message and try to reply? – fixer1234 Jun 22 '15 at 20:19
  • @fixer1234 see my update – Brad Jun 22 '15 at 20:32
  • So is the problem solved? The trouble with using RTF with Outlook is that any recipients who don't use Outlook will see a plain text version; the formatted version and all attachments will be in a win.dat file that most other email clients can't handle. It looks like the style sheet is being interpretted differently when replying. I'm wondering if the message format is affecting it. – fixer1234 Jun 22 '15 at 20:50
  • @fixer1234 yeah, I'd prefer to not send email as Rich Text. It seems to turn into a real headache real fast (even though it is doing this one thing right) – Brad Jun 22 '15 at 21:32

You cannot expect that round trip responses via other email systems will come back with the same formatting. It is hard to predict what the other system and/or client will do with any formatting and even hard to predict what Word (because that is the formatting engine that Outlook uses for HTML emails) will do to mess up HTML that might otherwise be recognised as useful formatted css/html.

You could try creating a template that embeds the CSS instead of trying to rely on Word's styles. This is what I do for my formatted email signatures. However, I still wouldn't be able to predict what will happen when your nicely formatted email goes through another email system into another email client and visa versa.

  • That was my thinking, also. However, it happens even sending a message to himself, and the style selection sheet is interpretted differently during reply. – fixer1234 Jun 22 '15 at 20:53
  • I can't say I'm surprised honestly. Outlook is an appalling piece of junk quite frankly. There are also still far too many people who think HTML email is the devils spawn and so there seems little incentive for email clients to improve. – Julian Knight Jun 22 '15 at 20:57
  • I wouldn't call it an appalling piece of junk. I'd compare it to certain British sports cars -- an amazing, overly complicated wonder that's always in the shop. :-) – fixer1234 Jun 22 '15 at 21:02
  • Ha ha, had an MD with an Aston Martin once, that was always in the shop - of course, he should have known better than to buy one second-hand off a footballer! BTW, I should mention I'm British so please watch what you say about our sports cars, we get rather defensive! Of course, you might want to try Maclaren, Lotus, etc. Pretty much all the F1 cars are designed and built here :) – Julian Knight Jun 22 '15 at 21:13
  • 90% of my email is internal. Can the CSS be used at the click of a button like a style can be? – Brad Jun 22 '15 at 21:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.