Formatting issue - email does not look like preview.

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Occasional Participant

Formatting issue - email does not look like preview.

I'm having major difficulties getting the format in my meeting invite correct.  I always spend too much time changing font sizes and adding spaces only to have them revert or change to something completely different a couple of saves down the line.  The text editor has a mind of its own!  However -  the big issue is the resulting email.  Once I get the email looking the way it should in the preview, I send out a test email and open it in Outlook and its all jacked up again. 


How do I fix this?  I can't send the current email out to colleagues without looking like a moron. 



Shelley Broyles

Marketing Advisor

Hi there, 

When using our Second Generation Editor (2GE) sometimes what you are designing may not be the same design and layout that gets sent out to your contacts.


Email programs and mobile devices have unique ways of displaying emails. So, the email design your contacts see may not exactly match what you see when you preview it in Constant Contact which I know can be frustrating. These issues typically arise when you are copying an email multiple times as the HTML code for all of your edits from previous versions may cause these display issues. We recommend creating a new email, in this case, to make sure that you are starting fresh. If you use the same layout for all of your emails you can use the Save as template feature so that your edits to the design of the email will be saved and you can still create a new email to help avoid any display issues. Here’s more info on that.


Please see this FAQ with these design tips and you can make your email look better in all email programs (Outlook, Gmail, Yahoo, etc.):

Always preview your email before sending whether you are using 2GE or 3GE.  I hope that helps! 



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575 REPLIES 575
Regular Participant

Thanks so much for that fix!


It looks like we're having a similar issue with the newsletter titled "Feb- March College Rep

I checked the blocks for erroneous "hspace"'s but couldn't find any.

Not quite sure what is making this one bug out in Outlook. :frown:

Hi FragD,

I am more than happy to help you out with this. I was not able to see the stretching on this email in my version of Outlook.  What version of Outlook are you using? Can also send us a screen shot of the formatting error? This way I can look into what is causing this to happen.

Deanne Perry
Regular Participant

One of the girls on our team fixed it herself last night. Thank you both for the help. :catembarrassed:

Fabulous! I'm glad you were able to get it sorted!  If you need any further assistance, don't hesitate to let us know!

Occasional Participant

I am having the same issue. i need to send the email out now so i will. But can you fix the "hspace" issue for me too? 
an exmaple of a fine working one is " copy of nov 2012". The current email that needs to be sent is "sept 2013 events".

Hi Michelle,


I created a copy in your account of your September email. I tried to find what was causing the stretching but I was unable to do so. I've escalated your case to one of our specialists. He will work on it and get back to you within 3-4 days.


Thank you for your patience!

Occasional Participant

Hi, i am also having some issues with Outlook.  I use the same template every month and usually the emails look better in hotmail, gmail, etc but there are always issues with Outlook (i use outlook 2010). Recently i sent an email labeled “Verdek EV News April 2013” and for the first time, the very top text box looks justified all the way to the right in outlook, but not in other email clients. Also there are spacing issues in between each block. Any help in how to resolve this issues?




Hi Julio,


I was able to fix your email with the help of one of my specialists. We found that we were able to correct the items you were having difficulty with.


Here are our suggestions when creating an email:


  • Try not to use tabs when working first in Word, as this will carry over to Outlook 2007 and higher
  • When making copies, always add new blocks. By copying content or even typing content into a copied block, this causes trouble more often than not by hidden coding behind the block.
  • Also, always send yourself test emails to all of your email clients prior to a live send to see how the email will look


We apologize for any inconvenience and the new email is titled "T2 sm test Copy of Verdek EV News April 2013".  Even though you already sent your original out, you can see how we made this one work.  We also cleaned up the footer images as well and put them in a table so that they were all having the same width".


Hope this helps!

Hi, I Am also facing the same problem with my outlook 2007. I am new to Constant contact and we created an HTMl Template named Introduction and email looks perfect in Gmail, Thunderbird & Yahoo, but in outlook everything was messed up. Please assist us to resolve the issue.



**Removed By Moderator**


Thanks for posting, I am sorry this was a problem for you. I had one of our specialists take a look at your email and we we noticed a couple things. First, there were no parameters set which is why the text was extending past the header. Also, some of the images you had inserted were put in as background images. Unfortunately Outlook does not read background images so the only way around this is to remove the from the background and put them as part of the email instead. Some of the styles as well as the hover links you've inserted in the code will not work either. For some more information on Outlook's restrictions, check out this FAQ.

In order to resolve the font change I had to open a case to our second level of support. A specialist will sit down and work on the email for you in order to resolve it moving forward and they will contact you directly. The turnaround time for this is 3-4 business days. In the meantime, please take a look at the email in your account called "TestIntroduction" to see the re-aligned text.

To check the status of this case, please log into your account and click the "Help" option. On the left, please choose "My Support History" and then "View All My Open Cases" from the drop-down menu.


Thanks for your patience,

Hannah M.
Community and Social Media Support

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Occasional Participant

Thank you very much for your help!! 

I have another similar email that I have not sent yet but also have issues with. (Verdek CNG News May 2013).

One of the problems is that in CTCT the sponsor block on the left and the article block on the right they both seem to have the same length. However when I see it in outlook, the article block on the right is much longer and the spaces between articles get wider. Would you mind letting me know why and how to fix it? How can i keep both sides to end at the same level? Thanks!! 

Hi Guy,


Outlook uses Internet Explorer to view your email. If you look at your email using IE, you will see that the email is much longer in the right column.  Both Firefox and Chrome auto-correct the discrepancies.


I've spoken to my specialists and I'm creating a case for you so that they can clean this email up. It will take 3-4 business days and someone will reach back out to you.


Thank you!

You'll find that if you begin using the New Mobile Friendly templates, most of your Outlook issues will no longer exist.


Frankly, you should switch your emails to either Mobile Friendly or at least to a one column format as mobile email use is growing exponentially in every demographic as more people are switching to SmartPhones.


Try viewing some of your past emails on your SmartPhone, then try previewing a one column and then a mobile friendly template. You will be surprised how well the phones automatically format the text into single column.


By the same token, make sure you have made your website mobile friendly. Try for an enlightening experience!


Good luck!




Thank you for your valuable post!!!  Great information!


Remember, if you have any questions, or if you just need some help, please feel free to respond here with the details, or call our Support Team directly at (866) 289-2101. Our hours are Monday-Thursday 7am-11pm EST, Friday 7am-9pm EST,  Saturday & Sunday 10am-8pm EST.


Thank you for your time.




Troy Sparks

Customer Engagement Specialist


Troy S.
Community & Social Media Support

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Occasional Participant


I have  modified the 'Entertainment  Promotion' template for an internal department newsletter.

The CTCT preview looks great and the email displays in gmail and aol fine.


In outlook 2010 the right column is expanded, whichs creates a white margin on each side of the header.

I've attached a visual.


Unfortunately, ALL users that would receive the newsletter are on outlook 2010.  I may not be able to conitnue to product subscription if I can't get the formatting to play nice.  


Any help is appreciated.


HR Flash.jpg

Hi Brad.


This is a problem that does crop up from time to time, caused by Outlook's somewhat literal interpretation of the HTML. In this case, the two images in the right-hand column have their alignment set to the right, which is forcing the text up next to them on the left. I have put an email on your account that has fixed this issue. Please feel free to use it.


If you have any questions, let us know and we'll be happy to help you out.

Jeff Gilson
Community & Social Media Support

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Occasional Participant

Thank you - much improved.

Is there any addiitonal adjustments you can make?

See attachment where there's still some spacing issues.



HR Flash v2.jpg

I've checked into these last few issues and made a new email for you. There was a space after the header image that was forcing the rest out of alignment.


I've noticed that you are testing the email by scheduling it to send to a small testing list. I'm not sure if you are aware, but there is a test email function within the email editor. Check out our FAQ article on previewing and testing your email.

Jeff Gilson
Community & Social Media Support

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Regular Participant

I am also having outlook issues. I am using one of the provided templates and everything looks fine when I preview it. But when I sent myself a test email, the format widths are different, causing the email to look funny. Is there a way to resolve this?

HI Dean,

It's hard to say exactly what is happening without looking at the email. Outlook renders emails differently from other email clients so it can be a little tricky.


If you are working in Outlook 2007 or 2010 we've got an FAQ with some common issues. 


Can you let me know the name of the email you are working on and that we have permission to take a look? Don't worry, any edits will be made in a copy so your original will be untouched. Also, do you know the version of Outlook you are using?

Hannah M.
Community and Social Media Support

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Regular Participant

I would appreciate you looking at it. It is the most current one on my email list. Thank you for your assistance!