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We send out e-mails to our customers containing an order number. Unfortunately Gmail thinks these numbers are IP addresses and turns them into hyperlinks:

In a regular e-mail-client:

Your order number is: 08.12.2013-61

In Gmail:

Your order number is: <a href="tel:08.12.2013-16" value="+49812201316" target="_blank">08.12.2013-61</a>

I don't want to Gmail to add this HTML tag to the e-mail.

Is there anything I can do when creating or sending the e-mail to prevent this formatting error?

Edit There was a discussion if Google formats the number into a phone number or an IP number. That's not really important to me. It's neither type of number. I want to prevent Google from auto formatting our order number in any way.

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migrated from Dec 8 '13 at 23:49

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I'm... not sure what is the difference between the two..? –  Darius Dec 8 '13 at 22:50
Are you sure it’s thinking they phone numbers and not IP addresses? Are you sure about the content and formatting of the resulting HTML that Gmail auto-adds? –  Synetech Dec 8 '13 at 23:36
Does your recipient use the Google Voice Chrome Extension? Or Skype? Or any of a number of extensions that attempts to convert what looks like phone numbers into clickable links? –  Al E. Dec 10 '13 at 15:11
I tried sending myself the same message from and to gmail - both as an html and plain text message. The order number was not converted in either situation. This seems to be more of a client-side issue than an issue with gmail itself. –  phantom42 Jan 9 '14 at 17:00
I'm voting to close this as "Unclear what you're asking". There are several comments asking for clarification, which has not been forthcoming. Without more information all we're getting is conjecture. If we get the details needed to answer this can be re-opened. –  Al E. Sep 13 at 14:05

2 Answers 2

At this time Gmail web UI only converts text that looks like a URL to hyperlinks. If a serial number that use periods as separators if being changed it's more likely that it's done by an add-on or extension, as was already mentioned in the comments by @AI_E.

The plug-in could be the Google's audio and video plug-in that is required by some browsers to use Google Voice or Hangouts video calls.


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I think you can add a soft hyphen character. So, I would suggest using the following HTML code in your email body:

Your order number is: 08.&#173;12.&#173;2013-&#173;61
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Just make sure your email has the text-only version as well, where the soft hyphen is not present, because the customers that have their email clients set to plain text only will see it exactly like that, with “&#173;”. –  Alex Dec 10 '13 at 14:36

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