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Tuesday February 2, 2021 By Dave
Creating a Simple Responsive HTML Email


On this tutorial I’ll present you the best way to create a easy responsive HTML electronic mail which can work in each electronic mail shopper, together with the extra troublesome cell and pill apps. It makes use of minimal media queries and a “fluid hybrid” strategy to make sure most compatibility.

Widespread HTML E-mail Templates on Envato Components

If you happen to’re on the lookout for a ready-made, skilled answer, seize one in all our popular HTML email templates on Envato Components. We’ve got tons of of responsive choices all included along with your Components membership, with simple to customise options to get you began.

popular HTML email templates on Envato Elements
Widespread HTML electronic mail templates on Envato Components

Not what you’re on the lookout for? No downside, this tutorial will educate you the best way to construct your individual.

What We’re Constructing

Right here’s the responsive HTML electronic mail we’ll be constructing. Be happy to fork the pen and use it in your individual work. 

What’s The Greatest Technique to Make an E-mail Template Responsive?

The method of creating an HTML electronic mail responsive is slightly completely different to creating an online web page responsive.

It is because the extent of help for HTML and CSS requirements varies broadly throughout electronic mail companies and apps. So whereas we are able to depend on issues like media queries, flexbox, grid and JavaScript on the net, they aren’t all the time supported in HTML electronic mail (and JavaScript can by no means be utilized in electronic mail as a result of it will pose a safety danger, and as such is all the time stripped out).

Some electronic mail apps don’t help CSS media queries, which suggests we’ve to consider carefully about how we construct responsive electronic mail templates. Most notable on this camp the Gmail app for Android and iOS, which helps media queries for Gmail accounts, however when used to learn emails from one other service (like Yahoo or an IMAP account), media queries are not supported. The Yahoo app for Android is one other shopper that throws out your media queries until you possibly can implement a hack the place you embody the complete head of your doc twice, however this may be stripped out by your sending platform.

These types of eventualities, together with the truth that Outlook for Home windows solely helps a subset of the CSS2.1 specification, means it may get a bit tough constructing responsive emails that render completely in all places. 

The excellent news is that you simply can design and construct a easy electronic mail that may look wonderful in each mail app, together with people who don’t help media queries, through the use of the fluid hybrid electronic mail coding technique. 

Why “Fluid Hybrid” is a Nice Methodology for Creating Responsive Emails

The time period “fluid hybrid” has developed organically over time inside the electronic mail growth group. It’s a way whereby the responsiveness of the e-mail is baked into the format itself, with none want for media queries.

It’s often known as fluid as a result of we use lots of proportion widths, and hybrid as a result of we additionally implement some pixel max-widths on bigger screens to restrict the dimensions of our parts. We mix all this with the usage of Ghost Tables, which is desk markup hidden inside conditional feedback that solely Outlook on Home windows will render, one other side turning the entire strategy right into a little bit of a hybrid between outdated and new. Usually, efficiently mixing outdated and new to attain outcomes is what electronic mail growth is all about.

For a extra in-depth have a look at the strategy, or if you want to create a extra advanced format, try my different tutorial:

So utilizing this technique, right here’s what we’ll be creating right this moment:

Our responsive HTML electronic mail format

Getting Began

Let’s begin off with our clean canvas.

If you happen to’re following alongside from scratch, grab the files from GitHub and create a brand new HTML doc in the identical listing because the /photographs folder.

Then, paste the next into your clean doc:

What we’re creating right here is our primary web page with its header, doctype and physique. There are a number of meta tags that assist guarantee our electronic mail shows correctly on cell, and a few CSS and PNG sizing resets for Microsoft Outlook on Home windows hidden inside conditional feedback (the <!--[if mso]> bits). There’s additionally a primary fashion with our font-family settings, primarily to override Gmail webmail which in any other case applies its personal fonts to those parts.

Lastly we arrange our physique, and most vital right here is resetting the word-spacing, as Gmail units this to a better worth which might upset your layouts (hat tip Mark Robbins). For higher accessibility, we arrange a div with a function of article which we then extra precisely describe because the ’electronic mail’, the important thing space on the web page, in order that display readers can present clear context and navigation choices to the consumer.

For a extra detailed breakdown of all the weather right here, try my longer tutorial: Creating a Future-Proof Responsive Email Without Media Queries.

Creating an Outer Scaffold

Now let’s substitute the [Scaffold goes here] marker with the next code:

This scaffold is important in order that our electronic mail will likely be centered throughout all electronic mail purchasers. We create a 100% extensive desk, after which set the border and border-spacing to zero. Then we create a row and desk cell with no padding which has align="middle" set in order that its contents will likely be centered.

Be aware: purchasers will add a little bit of padding to your unpadded cells if you happen to don’t set all of them to zero, as we’ve carried out right here. (Setting padding on a desk cell is the equal of the older technique of setting cellpadding on the desk factor, and border-spacing set on a desk is the CSS equal of the HTML cellspacing attribute on the desk factor.)

We’ve got additionally set the desk function to presentation. This is essential for accessibility, because it ensures that display readers will solely announce the content material of the desk, relatively than the default of additionally asserting the construction, i.e. which row or column is at the moment being learn out. (That behaviour is helpful for precise tabular knowledge however not when a desk is used for format.)

Creating A Ghost Desk for Outlook on Home windows

Earlier than including our essential content material container, we have to arrange a Ghost Table: a inflexible desk with a set width that solely renders in Outlook as a result of it’s hidden inside some particular Outlook-only conditional feedback. We have to do that as a result of our essential container goes to make use of the CSS max-width property, and never all variations of Outlook for Home windows help it. With out max-width help, the principle container would explode to full-width when considered in Outlook for Home windows, so we have to comprise it.

Change the [Ghost Table goes here] marker with the next markup:

Be aware that the pixel width is ready utilizing CSS contained in the fashion attribute, and never utilizing because the HTML attribute, i.e. width="600". That is to make sure that Outlook accurately calculates the width when adjusting for various DPI settings on Home windows. If you happen to use the HTML attribute, you will see that the width of your electronic mail is calculated incorrectly and it’ll find yourself approach too slim.

Now we are able to go about including our essential content material container, which is definitely going to be a desk.

Apart: Ought to You Use Tables or Divs for Constructing Responsive Emails?

Traditionally, nearly all emails have been developed utilizing tables, as a result of this has been the one dependable method to get issues rendering correctly in all the pieces from Lotus Notes to iOS Mail. The choice right this moment is after all to make use of divs and trendy HTML wherever doable: to cut back the quantity of markup, enhance accessibility, and customarily attempt to transfer electronic mail in a extra trendy path.

The continued reputation of Outlook for Home windows nevertheless implies that we nonetheless must strike a stability between outdated and new, since Outlook on Home windows solely helps the CSS2.1 specification, and sometimes in a relatively patchy approach. Because of this we’ve to make use of Ghost Tables if we wish to create div-based layouts, as talked about above. However one challenge with this strategy is that you will need to double up on lots of your CSS, since Outlook on Home windows ignores or unreliably implements lots of styling utilized to divs, so you need to apply a lot of your styling individually to the Ghost Desk too.

Usually this doubling up doesn’t matter, significantly with advanced layouts, because you save lots of code (and complexity) through the use of divs as a substitute of tables, so the extra markup isn’t an enormous concern. Plus, your Outlook-specific CSS can stay within the head of the e-mail, inside conditional feedback, so there’s no want apply your kinds inline.

Nevertheless, when making a easy one-column electronic mail, it typically seems like overkill (to me) to create and magnificence all of the divs after which need to wrap all of it in a Ghost Desk, the place you additionally want so as to add the padding, margins and styling once more to the completely different tables or cells — all this, when a single desk would have carried out the trick by working for completely each shopper. Tremendous-modern it will not be, nevertheless it does save fairly a bit on file measurement, which is in any case a vital issue relating to electronic mail that I don’t imagine is price sacrificing on precept. It additionally makes the e-mail simpler to debug and preserve.

So, as this electronic mail template is sort of easy, for simplicity’s sake and to save lots of on file measurement, I do certainly nonetheless use a single desk which incorporates all of the content material and styling for each shopper. However it’s simply that: a single desk. The entire format solely makes use of two tables and one ghost desk, and I’m very cautious to make sure they’re all set to function="presentation" to make sure they’re accessible. Nevertheless if I wanted to incorporate any greater than two or three tables, I might be beginning to rethink issues.

With that out of the way in which, let’s go forward and add the desk in query to create our essential container.

Including Our Major Content material Container

Change the [Container goes here] marker with the next:

Right here we’re utilizing the primary main precept of the fluid hybrid technique: making a container that could be a fluid proportion width however restricted to a set most width in pixels.

Right here you possibly can see ours is ready to be 94% extensive on small screens, up till there’s sufficient area for the desk to turn into its max-width of 600px extensive. You possibly can mess around with each widths, for instance if you happen to set the width to 100%, there will likely be no “padding” on the perimeters when considered on a small display.

As a result of this desk goes to comprise all our content material, I’ve added CSS for textual content styling which will likely be inherited by the cells and paragraphs contained in the desk. (The one exception to that is Comcast and Libero, two webmail purchasers who set some default textual content styling on the heading and paragraph stage. We’re use pretty impartial typefaces right here, so it’s not noticeable on this format, however if you happen to use a webfont or extra distinctive typeface, you will want to set your font styling in your heading and paragraph tags for these purchasers.)

Now let’s add our first row of content material.

Including a Header with a Emblem Picture

Changing the [Rows go here] marker, add the next desk row markup:

Right here we’ve our cell with some padding, and inside is a brand wrapped in a hyperlink. On the cell I’ve additionally set the textual content alignment, measurement and weight, in order that our ALT textual content seems good if folks have photographs turned off, or they don’t load. 

Configuring Our Emblem Picture

We would like the brand picture to be fluid at small sizes however restricted to a most fastened width, similar to our outer container.

Right here I would like it to be 80% extensive on small screens (as it will look foolish if it was 100% extensive on a smartphone) as much as the purpose the place it reaches a most of 165px on bigger screens. To implement all this, we are able to substitute the img tag with this one:

The width="165" is essential for Outlook on Home windows, as it can respect this measurement. For all different purchasers, in our fashion attribute, we set it to be 80% extensive, with our pixel max-width, and set the peak to auto so the picture retains its side ratio. I’ve additionally included some colouring and styling to stop the linked picture ALT textual content rendering as blue with an underline.

And there we go! Our brand is completed, and if you happen to resize your window you’ll see it circulate between 80% extensive and 165px, whichever is smaller.

Making a Heading with Textual content

Now we are able to insert our first content material row, which has a heading and a few introductory textual content. After the closing </tr> from above we are able to insert a recent row:

It is a fairly easy module: right here we’ve simply set our cell’s kinds, and added a heading and paragraph, containing a hyperlink. We’ve got additionally added some styling to our h1 and p tags in order that we are able to customise their margins and modify the looks of the heading. 

Including a Full-Width Picture

It is a easy matter, as a result of the picture will likely be 100% extensive. We simply must set the width="600" for Outlook on Home windows to make sure it doesn’t show at its native measurement there.

We are able to merely add the next after the </tr> above:

Including a Two Column Part that Stacks on Cellular

So as to add this format, insert a brand new row after the earlier closing </tr>:

You possibly can see we’re setting the font-size to zero on this cell. It is because we’re going to place two inline-block divs side-by-side inside this cell, and if there’s a font measurement better than zero, a niche can seem which causes them to stack.

I’ve additionally added a 1px backside border on this row. I’ve added a fallback border of a stable #f0f0f5, however then as an enhancement I specify an RGBA color which can use some transparency: rgba(201,201,207,.35).  That is just a bit trick to assist enhance the looks of the e-mail when considered in Darkish Mode. Outlook.com specifically doesn’t modify border-color in Darkish Mode, so that you may be left with a usually darkish electronic mail with actually shiny borders. It’ll nevertheless respect the transparency inside our RGBA setting, so the semi-transparent shade will likely be laid over the adjusted background, leading to much less of a conflict. Any purchasers that don’t respect RGBA will simply fall again to the hex color.

Setting our Column Widths

I need a left-hand column of 145px, and a right-hand column of 395px. Fluid hybrid columns work in an analogous method to the outer wrapper. They’re set to be fluid (right here, 100% extensive) as much as a set pixel max-width, and at their max-width they need to comfortably sit side-by-side, giving us a multi-column format on bigger screens.

As quickly as there isn’t adequate area for the columns to aspect side-by-side, they nonetheless stack down on prime of one another, and because the display measurement turns into smaller than the column’s max-width, they continue to be a fluid 100% extensive. On this approach, we’ve a set of columns with responsiveness baked into them, which suggests we aren’t reliant on media queries to do these transformations for us. We are able to apply media queries on prime of this behaviour to additional fine-tune it in purchasers that help them.

As with our outer container, we have to use a Ghost Desk for Outlook on Home windows, as a result of it doesn’t help the CSS we have to obtain this. So we want arrange a two column ghost desk for Outlook on Home windows.

Change the [Multiple columns go here] marker with the next:

As talked about within the apart above, you possibly can see how this technique requires some doubling up. We’ve got the primary column in our Ghost Desk, the place I’ve set the width, the textual content alignment to left, and vertical alignment to prime, all carried out utilizing a combination of HTML and CSS. Then the div inside, div.col-sml, has all the identical settings once more, this time all within the CSS.

On the proper column div, div.col-lge, an analogous setup follows, and it’s also possible to see that we’ve to double up on the padding. Outlook on Home windows doesn’t apply padding to divs reliably (and because of this I utterly disable it by setting padding:0; on all divs within the conditional <fashion> block for Outlook within the head of our doc). Due to this fact we have to add the identical padding to each the div and the container cell within the Ghost Desk. Outlook gained’t apply the div padding, and different purchasers clearly ignore the Outlook-only code. Regardless of all of this nevertheless, that is an especially secure and dependable to create this sort of format, and we may be positive issues are going to render completely in all places.

Lastly, the essential ingredient on the divs is show:inline-block, which goes to make sure the columns float subsequent to one another, and as inline-block divs, they may obey the text-align property on their container. You’ll recall that we set text-align:left; on this complete desk, so these divs will follow the left after they stack.

Now our two column construction is completed! It’s time for some beauty changes, and so as to add our content material.

Including Font Styling

We have to add some font styling again to our divs, since they don’t inherit it reliably throughout all mail purchasers, plus we zeroed our font measurement a few ranges up. So let’s add this to the fashion attribute of div.col-sml:

Equally, add this to the fashion attribute of div.col-lge:

Now inside div.col-sml we’ll add a fluid hybrid picture, configured very like our header brand. Change [Left column content] with this:

And inside div.col-lge we’ll add some textual content and a hyperlink that follows Mark Robbin’s template for links styled as buttons. Change [Right column content] with this:

The entire row comes collectively like this:

And there you’ve it! If you happen to refresh after which resize your browser, you will note that our columns now stack when the accessible area turns into too small, they usually return to take a seat side-by-side when there may be sufficient area.

Including a Full Width Picture and Textual content with Padding

That is mainly equivalent to our earlier full width picture and textual content modules, besides that there’s a border beneath the picture, and beneficiant padding. Since we’re utilizing 30px padding throughout, from a 600px extensive format, that leaves us 540px for the picture.

This complete block can sit after the earlier closing </tr>:

Creating the Footer

Add a brand new row after the earlier </tr>:

This units up a darkish background color, in addition to textual content alignment and a base font measurement that will likely be inherited by our photographs for his or her ALT textual content.

Subsequent, we’ll add our two social icons. These are simply going to be added inside a paragraph tag, with a easy area between them. We are going to set our photographs to show:inline-block to make sure they obey our centered textual content alignment setting.

We are able to substitute the [Footer content goes here] marker with our paragraph containing the icons:

Beneath this, add one other paragraph with some copyright data and an unsubscribe hyperlink. We’ll add the category unsub to the a tag in order that we are able to improve it slightly bit later:

Our Format is Accomplished

That’s our remaining row, so the format is now full! If you happen to preview you it in your browser, all the pieces ought to be wanting nice.

At this level, we are able to add some media queries to boost how our electronic mail shows on smaller gadgets that help them. Since we’re nonetheless wanting on the footer, we’ll begin with the unsubscribe button talked about above.

Optimising Buttons for Cellular

We’ll flip our footer hyperlink into a pleasant fats button on smaller gadgets, since this can make it simpler to faucet with a finger.

If we return to the <head> of the doc, we are able to insert the next code inside our <fashion> block beneath our font rule:

This media question will change the looks of our button on screens which might be narrower than 530px extensive.

Now if you happen to refresh and make your display smaller, you will note the hyperlink turns right into a properly tappable button:

Additional Enhancements With Media Queries

We are able to now additionally add a number of different enhancements to our format. In the mean time, when considered on smaller screens, our two columns stack down to take a seat on prime of one another, however at some sizes the textual content column is quite a bit narrower than the display. Since most apps do help media queries, we’ve an excellent probability of enhancing how this seems in lots of locations. Inside the identical media question as above, @media display and (max-width:530px), after the closing } of the .unsub declaration block, we are able to add:

This may override the default max-width of 395px and make sure the textual content spans full width on all display sizes as much as 530px extensive.

One other factor we are able to fine-tune is the truth that the columns stack instantly as soon as there’s not sufficient room for them to take a seat collectively. In actuality, there may be some circumstances the place a consumer’s display is a tiny bit smaller than 600px extensive, maybe on a pill app with a fats sidebar or as a result of they’re utilizing Gmail webmail with a slim preview panel enabled. In these circumstances, we would wish to make sure the two-colum format does show, so we are able to configure this with our CSS.

After the closing } of the media question above, add a second one:

This one picks up the place our earlier one left off – it went as much as max 530px, then from 531px and up we’ll make sure the columns all the time seem aspect by aspect by overriding our pixel max-widths and as a substitute specifying percentages. 

So there we’ve it! All collectively, your <fashion> tag ought to seem like this:

If there may be anything you wish to tweak with media queries, go forward and do it right here!


Check and Go!

Lastly, as all the time, be sure to take a look at very well utilizing stay gadgets and an online preview service like Litmus or Email on Acid.

Get pleasure from creating responsive electronic mail templates that look nice in each electronic mail shopper!

Obtain E-mail Templates

If you happen to want extra choices, then one in all our responsive email templates could also be simply what you want. Subscribe to Envato Components and also you’ll be given limitless entry to tons of of customizable electronic mail templates, in addition to inventory pictures, icons, graphics, and plenty of different artistic property to your initiatives.

Extra HTML E-mail Tutorials

To take what you’ve realized to the following stage! Try our Mastering HTML Email studying information for extra tutorials on HTML electronic mail templates, electronic mail design, coding responsive electronic mail, accessibility, advertising, transactional electronic mail, electronic mail service suppliers (ESPs), growth workflow ideas, and extra!





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