Signature Images have wrong path. Editor error in Rich Text or HTML mail



Myself and many others have long been plagued with the "RED X" syndrome in Outlook and Outlook Express when an image is not encoded and sent and shows up as a "image not found" Red X icon.

I have now discovered a method to duplicate the error and correct it, so that the error is repeatable and the fix.

OXP with XP Pro SP1 using Outlook 10.4219.6626 SP3
o- Using both FrontPage SP3 and Outlook internal editor to modify signature. FrontPage is used for advanced editing and can fix the error
o- Any minor edits using Outlook internal Signature editor, like adding line spaces or text, causes the SRC= path to get changed from an "Absolute path e.g. C:\" to a "Relative" path "../../../ will FAIL
my Signature file contains text, a table and some images so it looks like a business card. This is saved as an HTM file in the SIGNATURES folder and links the JPG images and GIF images
o- Using FrontPage from OXP, I select the image in Normal and view the HTML tab to see the <img src ="../../../My%20Documents/(etc) and change that to <img src="file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Tony/My%20Documents/ where Tony is my XP login.
o- The SRC FILE= path is incorrect for Outlook to interpret correctly
o- if I see <img src="../../../My%20Documents...(etc)...image.gif. < it will FAIL >
o- if I see <img src="file:///C:/Documents%20and%20Settings/Tony/My%20Documents/ (etc)... image.gif. < IT WILL WORK but will be modified by Outlook internal editor > so it may fail later
o- if I change both JPG & GIF file paths to begin with <img src="file:///C:/ then only the GIF file gets changed by OUTLOOK when I try an internal Signature editor change ... that's right the JPG is OK but GIF gets changed
o- In Outlook there is an option in sending an email (open new email > Format> Send Pictures with message). It does not affect my results. My theory is that Outlook is trying to save space and only sends the hyperlink on web-based links in all email but for local files images, they are converted to MIME compliant embedded files at the time of compiling the message to be sent. The only problem is that "relative file" paths /../../.. are compiled in error by Outlook.
o- My fix is to go back in Outlook> Options> Mail Format > Signatures (Select signat.)>Edit> Advanced Edit>>FRONTPAGE loads> Select image then HTML folder> edit paths per above to <img src="file:///C:/etc
o- My theory is that Outlook and perhaps OE6 signature editors make incorrect assumptions regarding GIF images links and for some reason convert them to "relative Paths" and then assume if the img src does not begin with ="file then it must be weblink so does not create a MIME file, just send the link and let the reader grab the file when the mail is read. Good for making mail smaller, except this file is on the sender's hard drive and not on the web.

Symptom's and typical Scenario
The result is a nice RED X in the recipient's Email but the sender's Sent Mail view looks perfect with all images present

To make matter's worse. say you get a reply that contains a complaint " I can't see your images" . but the sender who gets the reply, CAN see the images perfectly since the links refer to local files in that user's logon path /../../../ . so he replies "Yes I can , it must be your PC that is confused or set-up wrong"

Another failure mode other than Signature images, is if you drag embedded images from one open e-mail to a new email that you are creating, that same problem will occur except in this case the image is a temporarily <img src='cid........... file as the computer ID is used to create a temporary image file from the extracted MIME code from the sent rich text email. It is better to Save the image first then insert picture rather than drag N Drop, because unless it is a WEBLINK viewed as an embedded image, it will fail.

Even the relative path seems to be is valid. i assume it is compiled in error to skip the MIME file creation.

Recommendations for Microsoft
1. Please fix the bugs regarding sending emails with image links that are local files for temp files and Signature image files
2. Please fix the built-in Signature editor for simple edits that screw up the absolute path on GIF images and change them to Relative paths. and same for Drag N drop images from other mail.

I expect MS programmers have done this for a hidden security reason so that an email senders cannot access files in an hidden folder .. i.e. send an image or other file from another user logon path (absolute path). So they may have changed it to a relative path link or some other incomplete logical reason. Forwarding and Replies to emails with images is no problem. But Drag N Drop fails.

I have more issues with OLE bugs such as Drag N Drop features in E mail, but for the most part it works pretty slick. I like how you can copy parts of spreadsheets into html mail and it gets converted to a table file and objects get converted to images etc. and many other things. Sometimes part graphic PDF image copies don't work and other things, but this is fodder for another email that I have found work-arounds on MS bugs.

Comments ?
"Oh Lucy! - You Gotta Lotta
'Splainin To Do"

Sorry about the HTML, it was just a test.

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