Hi, I'm new here but have definitely used litmus and the community resources before, so I thought I'd give back. Couldn't find anything to resolve this issue online, and it literally seemed to pop up today. It's possible it's just a fluke or an internal system issue, but I could reproduce the issue on all previously completed and tested files I tried (that obviously didn't exhibit this behavior before today, or even when viewing test emails from yesterday and before) and on two different PCs and outlook accounts. I hope this helps someone.

First, off, this is on Outlook 2016 (Office365 enterprise exchange account) on a late Windows 10 version.

We all know how "fun" outlook is to develop for. For the most part, I have a template that works pretty smoothly - fonts and paragraph styles work correctly, retina images scale, and I've even used background images successfully on occasion. Just today, I discovered a brand new issue I could not resolve with the usual methods.

I was having every single link underlined in my outlook emails. They were underlined if "inserted as text" in outlook, sent from a mailing service, or sent from litmus's putsmail service. It showed up on all types of links, regardless of content. It showed up despite text-decoration: none !important; on all link tags in the embedded css, or inline on the link itself, or even on a span surrounding the text within the link tag. I have numerous mso-rules to reset styles and functionality in many clients, and I tried a few other mso rules related to link underlining with no success either.

Then I started looking at the source code of the email (it's in the "move email" section of the ribbon under "other actions") to see if I could find anything responsible. There was a code block in there replacing my embedded styles with the Word/Office's rendering engine's personal preferences. I tried setting those css values in my own css, but it was ignored. Then I decided to try putting that outlook css in its own conditional [if gte mso 9] comment block to see if it wouldn't be stripped out. I forgot to actually change the code I copied into that block, so technically my new code was asking the engine to add underlines to all links.

Instead, it did the opposite. Everything was fixed. I changed the conditional mso code to set underlines to "none", but that actually reverted the fix and continued underlining every link. I tested a few variations to see if it was a fluke or something else, but the only way my links displayed properly was with this code block telling outlook to underline my links. It's almost as though its a double positive canceling itself out or confusing outlook into removing code it planned to add... Positive * Positive = Negative? Who knows. it works for me and I'm grateful I screwed up and forgot to change the code instead of banging my head on the wall for the next week.

Anyway, here's the code block I pulled from the email source code and the surrounded in the conditional mso comment. It should probably work within the style tag, but I haven't tested that. It also may work with other values or situations, but I haven't checked. If it doesn't work for you, try sending yourself the email from outlook with the "insert as text" functionality and look at the resulting source code to see what your particular outlook css says.

<!--[if gte mso 9]>

a:link, span.MsoHyperlink
a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed

(by the way, how do I make my quoted code break each line onto its own line? I found that adding an extra new line made the rest of the quoted code format correctly, but that's not ideal, right?)

Two things - 1. That color is likely specific to my outlook instance or my particular code, so that may have to be different to override or cancel out the outlook generated style. 2. You'll still need your regular styles in order to remove the link underlines or change them from default. I think either embedded or inline works, but I can't guarantee either since my template just uses both for redundancy.

Feel free to ask questions or for help, I suspect I'm not the only one running into this today. And it does literally seem to be a brand new issue, although I haven't found anything indicating outlook or anything has been updated. If this doesn't happen to anyone else and is just a fluke, ignore my ramblings. If this is already well known, well I guess I need to work on my googling skills. Maybe this double-positive cancelling out can be used as a hack to override other aspects of outlook's modifications. I was just so glad to stumble on a solution after finding nothing online more recent than 2018, that I had to post something.

TL;DR If you can't solve an issue of outlook underlining all your links despite text-decoration: none; in your css or inline on the link, !important;, mso rules and conditional code, etc. then maybe you had the same thing happen. If so, try adding my code block in the head under your embedded styles. If that still doesn't work, send yourself your email, look at the source code from outlook, and copy out your outlook's specific css for a:link, span.MsoHyperlink and/or a:visited, span.MsoHyperlinkFollowed and put it in a conditional comment.

Edit: uuuuhhhhhh, what's up with your voting system here? I accidentally click the vote button, but when I click it again to remove my vote (why would I vote for myself), it gave me negative 2 votes. Unless someone really hated my post in the few seconds I was doing that, it seems it's a bit broken. I played around with it to get it back to 0, but ended up at -10. I figured out a pattern to raise it up, but I kinda didn't stop at 0. Maybe 30 positive votes will fix the system?