Shortly after upgrading to Outlook 2013 from Outlook 2010, one of my users complained that some of his emails were showing up with invisible text in the message body. He knew there was text there, because he could highlight the invisible text and copy & paste it into Word.
I quickly determined that it was only plain text emails that were affected (rather than those with HTML or Rich Text formatting), which led me to investigate the font options. Sure enough, somehow the font option for reading and composing plain text emails had been set to a white font.
You find this option by going to File > Options > Mail > Stationery and Fonts, then clicking the Font button under Composing and reading plain text messages.
The font colour should normally be set to Automatic, and in our case it was inexplicably set to white. Setting it back to Automatic immediately solved the problem.
Bizarrely, even though the Font color was set to white (as shown in the above screenshot), you can see that this was not reflected in the preview on either the Font dialog or the preceding Signatures and Stationery dialog. I’m also 99% sure the user didn’t change this himself, since the aggravation it was causing him far outweighed the value of doing it to wind me up.
One of the more interesting new features that was introduced in Outlook 2010 was the Outlook Social Connector. For those of you who haven’t used Outlook 2010, it’s basically it’s a small window below the reading pane that collates information about all the people involved in the selected email conversation. As well as mining your Outlook folders for related messages, calendar items, etc., it can also pull in updates from social networks.
If you install the addin that lets it link to Facebook, you’ll see Facebook updates for those people you are friends with on Facebook. Thing is, it will also look up information even for people you aren’t friends with.
Normally you can’t search just by email address on Facebook, but the Outlook Social Connector does just that. It won’t show you anything that you couldn’t see anyway if you found that person on Facebook manually, but it does find them for you, seamlessly, just based on the email address. So if you have your work email registered on your personal Facebook account, your sexually suggestive profile picture will show up at the bottom of the reading pane when you send me an email:
I went and checked this profile on Facebook (purely in the name of research for this article) and can confirm that the profile did not have the person’s email address publicly visible. However, many of this person’s photos were set to public, and the photo album that had a blow-up doll as the album cover did not encourage me to investigate any further. Nor did it encourage me to do business with the person who had emailed me.
Needless to say, our staff AUP has a strong recommendation to refrain from adding a school email address to Facebook.