Web & communication software

Bugs & Fixes: When Entourage quotes more than requested

For a long time, I’ve been irritated by a glitch in Entourage 2008. It crops up when I attempt to reply to certain messages. I select/highlight a small portion of the received message text to include as a quote in my reply. I click the Reply command. To my dismay, the entire text of the message (except for any graphics, if those are present) is quoted in my reply—not just my selected snippet.

The workarounds are simple enough: Delete the undesired text from the reply or use copy-and-paste rather than Entourage’s quoting to place the desired text. However, I’d prefer to avoid the need for these workarounds and have the quoting action work as intended. In that regard, I’d also like to understand what determines which e-mails do and do not lead to the symptom.

Unfortunately, such understanding has proved elusive. I raised this matter on Twitter a few days ago. All I could confirm was that, according to my colleague Dan Frakes: “It’s a bug in Entourage.”

I know what is necessary for the symptom to appear, but not what is sufficient. To see this bug, the received message must be an HTML-formatted one. The message can otherwise be all text; no embedded graphics or complex formatting are needed. Such messages have always come from businesses or organizations; I can’t recall ever receiving a personal e-mail that triggered this bug.

However, HTML-formatting alone is not sufficient. I have failed to duplicate the symptom with any HTML e-mails I create myself. I have tried both with and without embedded graphics. I have e-mailed such documents to myself both from Entourage and from Apple’s Mail. No matter what I try, the received e-mail behaves properly: selected text is quoted in a reply without any extraneous unselected text included. The only “success” I have had is if I redirect an existing problem message; the received redirect retains the problem.

Given all of this, I suspect (but have not confirmed) that the symptom originates from e-mails sent via a Windows email client. Still, the precise precipitating cause remains a mystery.

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