Ugly emails in desktop Outlook


(Christopher Kampmeier) #1

Is there a means for a forums site admin to set the font used in notification emails sent by Discourse?

We’re facing the problem where emails generated by Discourse when rendered in the desktop form of Outlook look frumpy because they use a Times-like font vs a more modern font. This outdated look and feel conflicts with the much more modern experience when using the Discourse web UI.

Digging into this issue on the Outlook side, it appears that MS Word is used to render content in Outlook and that when an email does not include a font setting, Word uses its default. Which in our case is a Times or Times-like font.

Of course we can ask users to change the default font via a convoluted series of interactions with MS Word, but we’d rather address the issue on the Discourse side if feasible. The following instruction can be applied to Word 2013 to change the default font:

BTW, the Outlook Web App does a decent job of using a more modern font.


(Jeff Atwood) #2

It seems this is an Outlook issue, not particular to us.


(Christopher Kampmeier) #3

Understood. Is there a means to customize the email content on the Discourse side or, if not, are you guys open to supporting a pull request to enable customization of stock email content?


(Christopher Kampmeier) #4

@codinghorror, since most enterprises depend on the desktop Outlook app and Discourse generated emails look so bad on that platform, are you open to considering a pull request along the following lines to include font-family settings for elements that aren’t already receiving them? (I see that some elements are already receiving such styles).

https://github.com/ckamps/discourse/commit/115924e0fba2188aa3497759e4f58c92f5107b13

After this change, emails are more presentable when viewed via the desktop Outlook app:

vs before:

Based on the multitude of posts on the web dealing with formatting emails to work around limitations of Outlook, it’s clear that many projects and product teams bite the bullet to make the UX a bit better for users of Outlook.


(Sam Saffron) #5

Sure, provided it does not break anything


(T) #6

Any news on when this one is likely to get folded into the delicious cake that is Discourse? Them Outlook Desktop emails sure is dang uggerly!


(Jeff Atwood) #7

I know @Simon_Cossar worked on this a fair bit?


(Simon Cossar) #8

I can make a pull request to set the font and the max-width on the emails. The other issue I was seeing was huge images on Outlook. That is fixable if it’s still a problem.


(Sam Saffron) #9

Please do, and include some before / after screenshots if you can


(Christoph) #10

Any news on this?

See also: