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The best way to understand any process is to do it yourself, from the ground up. Today we’re going to do just that with email design by creating a simple HTML email template from scratch.
Create A Html Email Template
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“The sooner you stop resisting email, the sooner you can use it to your advantage.” – Citi G. O’Connor HTML Email Template We Created
Here is the HTML email we created. You can use the pen and use it yourself. Keep in mind that we’re less likely to run into problems when viewing this template through a web browser than when using email clients.
As we mentioned in the previous guide, you need to start your HTML email template with an HTML document type and a language suitable for your subscribers. In this case we will use the HTML5 document type and set our language to English
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The code above contains a few things, but it’s the minimum required to make your final email look good everywhere.
Tags to ensure correct text encoding, view scaling on different mobile devices, and one to prevent awkward Apple resizing in its email programs.
. Including the code in these two tags means that only Microsoft Outlook uses it on Windows (mso = ‘Microsoft Outlook’). And there we have a small amount of XML that makes sure PNG images are displayed at the correct size in Outlook on Windows. The
With one or two CSS rules. The first sets the font for all our main elements, and this benefits Gmail webmail, which overrides the font settings if we don’t include it. If you change fonts later, be sure to change them here as well.
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That’s all there is to it. This is just so we can see what we’re doing during the build and remove it at the end.
You can see that the margins and padding of the body tag are set to zero to avoid unexpected placements.
We also added a 100% wide table. This acts as the actual body tag for our email, as email programs sometimes remove the body tag. Add any “base” background color you want to this table tag.
. This makes them more accessible by telling screen readers to treat them as a visual record instead of a data record.
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Is actually a deprecated HTML property. We use it because email client CSS support varies widely and we often still need to use plain HTML to make sure everything looks right everywhere. In this situation, it is because Outlook for Windows is not compatible
Finally, make sure you always set table cell padding to zero in row styles, e.g.
Or e-mail programs add their own padding level. When we set the padding ourselves, we can change this value, but if there is no padding on any of the pages, it should be set to zero.
Using CSS additions to table cells, you can reliably write this in three ways. Specify a single value, e.g.
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Which applies 20 pixels of padding to each side of the cell (top, right, bottom and left) or specifies the padding in pairs, e.g.
, which adds 10 pixels of padding to both the top and bottom and 20 pixels to the left and right. If neither fits, you must state both aspects, ie.
. In all cases, you must set all values, even if some of them are null. Also specifying three values can lead to unpredictable results for email programs.
Padding works reliably in table cells in all email clients, but if you have problems with padding, you don’t need to switch to GIF layouts. As a last resort, you can use separate div elements or separate cells. Just type a non-breaking space (
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Which ensures that Microsoft Outlook for Windows is rendered in pixel size. (If you are creating a horizontal space, you must a
600 pixels is a safe maximum width to display the email comfortably in most desktop and web email programs at most screen resolutions, and we add 2 pixels, so we have a 1 pixel border, adding a pixel on each side. .
Perfectly! Now we have our table outside and our main content table inside, ready for content layers.
In our email design, we notice that the layout is divided into several logical sections, so we create a row for each.
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Let’s copy one row from the last table we added to make a total of three, copying everything between (and including)
I’m “Hi!” text for layers 1, 2 and 3, so it should now look like this:
Okay, next in the email design, we’ll focus on level 1. In the cell, we’ll change the padding.
Finally, if your image contains important information that is not mentioned in the body of your email, be sure to include a description
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Entry. Images don’t always load, and article text doesn’t always appear visually in the background, so all important information should be included in the email as straight text instead of images.
Let’s move on from the header and focus on the HTML email content field. First, we add padding to cell row 2 to leave some space around the table according to our design, so it now looks like this:
Now we replace the text in line 2 with another table to wrap our main content. When creating an HTML email using tables, we need to nest them because
We set the width of this chart to 100%. It’s good practice to use percentage widths instead of pixel values whenever possible because it will help you later if you want your email to look smart or if you just need to change the width of your email later. The percentage width will automatically adjust to the new container size, but all pixel widths must be updated individually.
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Now we add our content to the line above which is the title, the breadcrumb and the last paragraph with the link. We are not currently adding styles to these elements.
Next, we add our two columns of content to row 2. Since we need a space between these two cells, we create a three-column table with a blank cell between the two outer columns. There are several ways to create this shape, but this is the most reliable for our purposes.
As much as I like percentages, when you have content of a certain size, converting it to percentages can be difficult (in this example, the columns are 48.1%, which can be confusing). Therefore, since both of our images are 260px wide, we create columns that are also 260px wide with a 20px margin cell in the middle. (This gives 540 pixels, which is 600 pixels wide in our table minus 30 pixels of padding on each side.) Be sure to reset your table.
So that both cells align vertically to the top, even if one column has more text than the other. Vertical alignment is set by default
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Inside this cell, we replace the text “Row 3” with another table, resulting in two columns, each 50% wide and the left value
So that the content of each is anchored to these aspects and creates a balanced email design.
Let’s create another small table for our social media images, because that’s the best way to get the most accurate distance that’s right everywhere. Replace the text “Right column” with the table below.
You’ll notice that we don’t specify the width of the table because the width of the table is determined by the cells inside it. Each of them is 38 pixels wide (image width) and 10 pixels padded on the left.
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Formatting the text in our HTML email template is a very important step. First, let’s take a look at the top level of content in our series
When using paragraph and heading tags (p, h1, h2, etc.), you must specify top and bottom margins, otherwise all email programs will automatically send the default margins used for these elements. You should too
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