The Ofer report on Outlook 2007

There is a certain person… who will go unnamed… that when he emails a short email to a certain listserve, a certain corporate domain flags his email as spam.  Due to the fact that he too, is like Ofer and agrees that having a ‘tag’ line on his emails is “good business”, he runs the risk these days of bouncing emails. 


There’s even a program to help you design a mail signature… http://www.symprex.com/products/msm/ but folks… don’t use too much HTML stationary in an email…. don’t go overboard on the signature line…. don’t make your emails so noticable that spam folders bounce you……


But these days you can tell who is running Outlook 2007 and who isn’t… all those font emails we get…


But without further ado… today’s Ofer report…. on Outlook 2007  


My Weekend with Office 2007 – Rendering Engine in Outlook 2007 (!)


I took the plunge last weekend and deployed Office 2007 on my machine at my office. On an INTEL 3.2 GHz P4 with 1.00 GB of RAM and SATA RAPTOR hard drives with Windows XP Professional machine I followed my own Best Practices and:


  • Disconnected my machine from the network
  • Logged in as local Administrator of that machine
  • Turned OFF my Symantec Corporate Antivirus 10.1.5
  • Uninstalled Office 2003 Professional and all other Office 2003 software from Add/Remove Programs
  • Rebooted and ran the OFFCLN.EXE application to further remove ANY vestiges of Microsoft Office in the system and registry
  • Uninstalled ACROBAT Professional 7.0.9 , defragged the machine and rebooted
  • Installed Office 2007 Enterprise and all the other Office programs that I had (i.e. Visio, Project, Expressions Web etc)
  • Updated Office 2007 from the Microsoft Update site
  • Rebooted and installed the Microsoft SAVE AS PDF add-in
  • Reinstalled ACROBAT Professional 7.00 and patched through 7.0.9 (Adobe forces you to reboot between each patch – 4 of them – very annoying)
  • Turned ON Symantec Corporate Antivirus 10.1.5
  • Reconnected to the network


Overall the installation experience went smoothly except very ambiguous and confusing procedure when installing Microsoft Project 2007 Professional.


Then I proceeded to open all the Office programs and was in awe for most of the changes and productivity enhancements. As a database developer I am familiar with MANY of the menu items in the Office Suite because I programmatically automate many features in the database applications that I write using COM objects in other Office programs – but because many of the features were in the previous drop-down menu structure I venture to guess that most users never saw the full breadth of options available to them.


With Office 2007 it is VERY intuitive and I am impressed with the level of detail and though that went into it.


Then I proceeded to set up Outlook 2007 – VERY intuitive and compelling interface. After looking around and setting up all of my email accounts I decided to, as I usually do, to personalize my settings.


I admit – I definitely DO use stationary and include my company logo, Microsoft MCP logo and SB specialist logo – all comingled in a 8k GIF – its GOOD BUSINESS.


So as I usually do when I deploy Office software and specifically Outlook, I went looking for the settings that allows me to use OUTLOOK as the default editor and use HTML and NOT Word – well, much to my surprise, it is not there – as in it is NOT available. Microsoft Word 2007 is now the DEFAULT editor for Outlook 2007.


I went searching for that and found http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA100926831033.aspx  


Bloated I thought, but OK – I will try that.


So after all my settings changes, stationary, logo, spelling, Deleted Items…etc…etc…etc were complete (or so I thought), I proceeded to start USING the new slick interface. I began emailing and replying like I normally do – like we ALL normally do.


Well, it was about 4 hours into it that I realized that my clients are NOT responding to my emails. MMMMmmmm – So I called some of them. Did you get my email I inquired? What email they replied – how about YOU, did YOU get my email – NO was the answer.


So I checked and double checked my settings, SMTP settings, IP, PTR, reverse DNS …etc…etc…etc – all look normal and EXACTLY what it was PRIOR to the Office 2007 installation.


I tried emailing again, this time to some dummy accounts I set up on a couple of client servers – NOTHING – not one email from me.


WOW ! – No non-delivery and no error emails coming back to me


So after some introspective thought I decided to change the IMF settings on these servers (set to 6 and 6) from DELETE to ARCHIVE. I restarted the SMTP service on those servers and tested again hoping that MAYBE my emails were being tagged as SPAM.


Well, using IMFCompanion, to my SHOCK – there were my emails in IMF – with a value of 8.125 !!! – it’s not like there was VIAGRA or STOCKS attachments to my email – just the usual email with stationary and logo in my signature.


 So I went back to my signature and formatted all my outgoing messages as TEXT and resent – email got there fine – no logo, no stationary and plain text.


 OK I thought – let’s bring this up a notch:


          RTF with no logo – emails went and received fine


         RTF with logo – received fine but logo was an attachment (!!!!) and not in the body of the email


         HTML without logo – emails went and received fine


         HTML with logo – FAILED – stuck in IMF


         HTML with GLACIER stationary with logo – FAILED – stuck in IMF


More research into this yielded information about a new feature in the Junk Mail settings of on Outlook 2007 called E-mail Postmarking (last check-box):



Looking into this new feature I encountered this tidbit from Microsoft called How Outlook E-mail Postmarking helps reduce spam:


http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook/HA100625921033.aspx


Since I had several of my client servers already exposing the spam in IMF as a test I decided to test the difference that checking that last checkbox would impact.


So I proceeded to test the consequences – sending my email:


   With POSTMARK box checked, WITH stationary WITH logo in signature elicited a WHOPPING value for the SCL of 8.125


   With POSTMARK box un-checked, WITH stationary WITH logo in signature elicited a lesser, but still WHOPPING value for the SCL of 7.931


So at this point my options are remote in to ALL my server installations and WHITELIST my domain and call it a day – WAIT I thought, what about the emails that I am sending to OTHER clients or prospects that will NEVER get there and I will NEVER know !!!


Time for more research. I read the following:


http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=229  


http://www.sitepoint.com/blogs/2007/01/10/microsoft-breaks-html-email-rendering-in-outlook/  


Not good. It looks like Outlook 2007 needs help on REDUCING spam – postmarking or no postmarking.


I tried EMBEDDING my 8k GIF logo in my HTML signature using the new Microsoft Expressions Web – SAME result. Quite frustrating – so for now my “workaround” is HTML, Verdana font text signature, NO stationary and NO logo – BAD BUSINESS but pretty interface.


 I am wondering if SP1 of Office 2007 will address this and if not, what workarounds exist besides the ones that I have already contemplated – should I go back to Outlook 2003, Outlook Express?!!@#@!?


Ofer follows up with…


After endlessly playing with the email settings in Outlook 2007, and SERIOUSLY considering going back to Outlook 2003, I have decided to forego my logo (8k GIF) an leave my outgoing emails in HTML and with just text – if I try changing everything to RTF, the recipient gets everything in the signature DOUBLE SPACED and it looks funny, and when they reply I get the signature back in QUADRUPLE spaced…


 

One Thought on “The Ofer report on Outlook 2007

  1. I’m testing vista this weekend on a brand new box and running into problem after problem. I can’t fathom the non-techies and what they will run into…

    Office 2007: Can’t go to it. We already migrated to a DMS because Microsoft hasn’t offered a real DMS option for years. And now the DMS doesn’t work with Vista OR Office 2007.

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