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Why some email messages look odd in Outlook

Here's something I just ran across that is worth documenting and sharing.

Outlook (we use it, we love it) will occasionally “help” you by removing extra line breaks in the email messages. This is normally a good thing because it makes emails with many line breaks (or “carriage returns” for the older crowd) easier to read and more compact. However, it sometimes guesses wrong and combines lines that shouldn't be combined. This particularly happens when the lines have no period at the end of that line.
In the scenario that befuddled me, our PanatrackerGP software has a nifty feature whereby we can automatically send out an email that contains the diagnostic details if a problem occurs when submitting a transaction to DynamicsGP. As many of our transactions use Microsoft's eConnect for these submissions, we will on rare occasion get a failure returned from eConnect with the cause of the rejection. Here's text of one of these eConnect errors as we are supposed to see it:

Error Number = 569 Stored Procedure=somethingInteresting Error Description = A funny thing happened on my way to work
Node Identifier Parameters: taWhoops
APFRDCTY = 8
APFRDCNM = CRAAK000109
APTODCTY = 1
APTODCNM = MSOAAL000131
BLAH BLAH BLAH

Here's what Outlook does to it:

Error Number = 569 Stored Procedure=somethingInteresting Error Description = A funny thing happened on my way to work Node Identifier Parameters: taWhoops APFRDCTY = 8 APFRDCNM = CRAAK000109 APTODCTY = 1 APTODCNM = MSOAAL000131 BLAH BLAH BLAH
That's not easy to read.

Fortunately, this “feature” is controlled by a simple setting in Outlook.

  1. Open Outlook.
  2. On the Tools menu, click Options.
  3. On the Preferences tab, click the E-mail Options button.
  4. Click to clear the Remove extra line breaks in plain text messages check box.

Your version of Outlook might have slightly different steps, but you get the idea.

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