Writer and Outlook 2003

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This page summarizes user experiences made in office environments in miscellaneous places. Hopefully this information is useful for other users as well. This applies to windows systems (maybe wine/corss over office systems as well) that have Outlook 2003 as Email client and as office suite.

Creating a new Email in Outlook 2003 based on a Writer Document


Outlook 2003 and maybe other Microsoft Outlook versions do provide some functionality to tight-bound-integrate the Microsoft Office Word processor "MS Word" so that a user can simple copy & paste text with formattings (formatted text) from a word document into a Email composed / created inside Outlook 2003. In fact, MS Word can be used as Editor for Emails in Outlook 2003. Emails are written in Word then.


Microsoft Outlook 2003 lacks of the functionality to integrate Writer as an Editor for Emails as well. Emails can not be written in Writer in the same way then. Clipboard import in Outlook 2003 seems to be somewhat different as well. Overall this can lead to a loss of format and integrating Outlook 2003 with can look somewhat complicated.


The following considerations should be made and users can be taught with one or more of the following:

  • HTML Emails is considered bad practice. Text only emails should be favored[1] instead. This can be configured in Outlook 2003 options.
  • Formatted Texts including images and fonts should be attached as PDF file. That way you can ensure that the receiver can print out (and read) the document as it was intended, designed and written - with all the fonts etc. needed. Sending a HTML Email, an attached document like .doc or .odt can lead to a loss of graphics and fonts and therefore might destroy the whole appereance of the document.
  • If the user explicitly want to use HTML email, teach the basics of HTML first. That ensures the user can successfully use HTML based email in her/his communication. Teaching might include:
    • Differences of a break and paragraph.
    • Explain why using the default font makes sense.
    • How Images are handeled in HTML.
  • HTML based emails are fully supported with Outlook 2003 and Just copy a documents portion in Writer and paste it into the email-document in Outlook 2003. Keep an eye on what kind of HTML Outlook 2003 supports and write your documents that way:
    • Tables are supported. Including table borders.
      • Table sizes are supported. Standard tables are exported in percent and therefore relative sizing values. The table then spans the complete width of the Email. Just set the table size and it is exported then.
    • Tabs are not supported (as with any HTML document, even Outlook 2003 HTML Emails). You might want to use tables instead for tabular data.
    • Paragraphs are supported.
      • You can align them left (default), right or center them.
    • Lists are supported.
    • Fonts are supported. You only need to set them in Writer once explicitly (Let's say Baltimore Desastre Fraktur 10, but keep in mind that the receiving party must have the exact same font as well!)
    • Formatted paragraphs are supported as well. Just ensure that you set the format once explicitly. Therefore it is a must that it differs from the Standard setting. For example a leading and proceeding space of 0.01 cm instead of 0.00 cm. Otherwise Outlook 2003 will apply it's standard paragraph formatting.


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