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Email templates suitable for all email clients

A few of the most common email clients at the moment include:

  • Outlook 2003
  • Outlook 2007
  • Thunderbird
  • Hotmail or Windows Live Mail
  • Google Mail
  • Yahoo Mail
  • AOL mail

Each of these email clients render emails differently and so we need to create email templates in a way that will be readable by most email clients.

For starters defining styles on a HTML email don't work, unless they're inline styles.

All styles must be attributes of the tags to which they belong, e.g. <p style="font-family: arial; font-size: 10pt; text-align: left;"> - and these inline styles would have to be for every <p> tag in the HTML otherwise an email client may use a default font and Times New Roman would look very out of place if the rest was written in Arial.

Because of the styling problems we must also write our HTML emails in tables as this is the only way that the layout and design will look consistent between email clients.

Outlook 2007 no longer allows background images, and so these should be avoided where possible.

Hotmail and some other web mail email clients don't allow the tag to have a background colour, and so to have a background colour you will need a table with a width and height of 100% and give the table a background colour instead.

Every email template really needs to be tested extensively in multiple email clients to ensure it is readable in each.

A good tip to remember is to always have a "View this email online" link at the top of every email - then if the email doesn't look correct on one email client they can always view an online version which should look right.

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