The Quotes in my Emails are getting chewed up! Penny for your thoughts.

So I recently started emailing a friend of mine at her office and for some reason any single or double quotes are getting all mangled and replaced with an ugly string of special characters. I was curious if anyone had any guesses as to why this would be. We’re going to try and sort it out, and anything I learn doing trial and error I’ll report here, but that’ll take a while emailing back and forth so hopefully you guys can help me corral it if you’ve seen it before.

Here’s the configuration:

My email system. On a PC with Windows XP, using Hotmail accessed via Outlook 2003. The messages are composed using Word’s association with Outlook in Arial 1o point in HTML format.

She receives on an as yet undetermined system with Yahoo mail, almost certainly via the web.

So far I’ve not seen this issue when emailing anyone else, many of whom use Yahoo, and I’ve been using my configuration for over a year. Your thoughts will be appreciated.

That’s probably the problem. Word will automatically convert the “normal” quotation marks (which look the same at the beginning and ending of a quote) into fancier quote marks with the little curlique on the top or bottom pointing towards the inside of the quote. But not everything can recognize those fancy quotes, so they get turned into (most likely) HTML command sequences for those characters.

No, I’m pretty sure this isn’t the issue for a few reasons. First I suppose it’s not exactly Word that’s composing the messages. If you’re familiar with Outlook you know that it has a built-in editor, based off the Word core, that composes messages. Of course Outlook has been using this for a decade now and I’m pretty sure it’s smart enough to not send mail using unsupported character types. Second, the messages are composed in HTML format, not Word format, and HTML email is supported by essentially every client out there nowadays. Third, the characters it’s being replaced with aren’t the Alt codes or HTML standard equivalents.

Upon getting a reply from my friend, from her home PC this time, she confirmed that there is no issue with the quotes from that machine. She also confirmed that she saw the same issue with emails from other friends. The issue manifests itself only on her work PC. Additionally, it’s clear that our messages prior to this week didn’t get effected so whatever the cause it it’s a recent change to her system.

Not sure how to help trouble shoot the issue since it’s on her side, but I’d still be curious to know if anyone has seen this happen before.

Well the reason seems pretty clearly to be something on her machine. It’s possible she’s selected to receive her emal as plain text rather than HTML.

Maybe, seems like a weird issue though. Here’s one other detail worth noting I suppose. In the email thread, only my sections get botched up. When her messages are appended to the bottom of mine her quotes remain. then, when one of my notes in the string gets sent back and forth with each reply, those new replacement characters get re-replaced over and over again. Eventually the message goes like this, from bottom, to top: My first note with a giant string of gobbledigook, 20+ characters, where each initial quote was, then her reply looking perfect, then mine witha slightly less chewed up note, then hers normal, then mine slightly less messed up and so on.