I've been doing a great deal of research on responsive emails the past couple weeks, in particular seeking a way to get around the problems with Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013. I recently tried an experiment in Outlook 2013, using a responsive email template from Zurb Ink, and I'm trying to determine exactly what the result means.

The html file, which is the "Basic" template from Zurb Ink, is fully responsive in all browsers as a straight html file, and also as html email in all clients, except Outlook 2007-13 (which I understand use the MS Word engine). I opened the email in Outlook 2013, and it seemed to display the images and text fine, but it behaved unresponsively -- i.e., as a fixed-width table, neither collapsing or expanding with the viewport. I then did Actions > View In Browser, and it opened the email in IE11, and again it displayed fine except that it behaved unresponsively.

Here's the thing -- I looked at the url in the address bar in IE11, and I noticed that it was not an html file, it was an ".mht" file. The url was "C:\Users(me)\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\Temporary Internet Files\Content.Outlook\ZNCZG02D\email (6).mht". So I right-clicked on the browser, did "View Source", and saved the source code in a brand new html file. I then opened that html file in IE11, and voila, it was fully responsive, behaving exactly as it should. To be thorough, I compared that code with my original html code, to see if Outlook was stripping anything out. No difference - both sets of code were identical.

So I'm trying to determine what's causing the problem, because it's definitely not the code. The Zurb Ink code has everything it should - the doctype, styles inside the "style" tag (including media queries), tables, inline styles (I ran it through Ink's "Inliner" tool). Is it because Outlook displays the email in browser as an .mht file and not an html file? Is it because Outlook isn't recognizing that the email is an html email for some reason? Or is it just a simple fact that Outlook 2007, 2010, and 2013 cannot display html email responsively, perhaps because they ignore media queries, or for some other reason?

This has become a personal quest, because we've had to tell a couple clients paying for responsive email that we can't provide responsive email for Outlook 2007-2013, and I'm in no way okay with that. I haven't read anything online that says it's flat-out impossible, so at the moment I have to believe there's a way to do it. Thanks for any help you can provide.