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

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

In style HTML E mail Templates on Envato Parts

For those who’re on the lookout for a ready-made, skilled answer, seize considered one of our popular HTML email templates on Envato Parts. Now we have a whole bunch of responsive choices all included together with your Parts membership, with simple to customise options to get you began.

popular HTML email templates on Envato Elements
In style HTML e mail templates on Envato Parts

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

What We’re Constructing

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

What’s The Finest Option to Make an E mail Template Responsive?

The method of constructing an HTML e mail responsive is just a little totally different to creating an online web page responsive.

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

Some e mail apps don’t help CSS media queries, which implies we’ve to consider carefully about how we construct responsive e 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’ll be able to 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 situations, together with the truth that Outlook for Home windows solely helps a subset of the CSS2.1 specification, means it might probably get a bit difficult constructing responsive emails that render completely all over the place. 

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

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

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

It’s generally known as fluid as a result of we use a variety of share widths, and hybrid as a result of we additionally implement some pixel max-widths on bigger screens to restrict the scale 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 method right into a little bit of a hybrid between outdated and new. Typically, efficiently mixing outdated and new to attain outcomes is what e mail improvement 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 methodology, right here’s what we’ll be creating immediately:

Our responsive HTML e mail format

Getting Began

Let’s begin off with our clean canvas.

For those who’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 fundamental web page with its header, doctype and physique. There are a number of meta tags that assist guarantee our e mail shows correctly on cellular, 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 fundamental model 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 may upset your layouts (hat tip Mark Robbins). For higher accessibility, we arrange a div with a position of article which we then extra precisely describe because the ’e 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 critical in order that our e mail can be centered throughout all e mail shoppers. We create a 100% huge 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="heart" set in order that its contents can be centered.

Word: shoppers will add a little bit of padding to your unpadded cells in the event you don’t set all of them to zero, as we’ve performed right here. (Setting padding on a desk cell is the equal of the older methodology of setting cellpadding on the desk ingredient, and border-spacing set on a desk is the CSS equal of the HTML cellspacing attribute on the desk ingredient.)

Now we have additionally set the desk position 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 saying the construction, i.e. which row or column is at present being learn out. (That behaviour is helpful for precise tabular information however not when a desk is used for format.)

Creating A Ghost Desk for Outlook on Home windows

Earlier than including our principal 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 principal 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.

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

Word that the pixel width is about utilizing CSS contained in the model 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. For those who use the HTML attribute, you will see that that the width of your e mail is calculated incorrectly and it’ll find yourself method too slim.

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

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

Traditionally, virtually all emails have been developed utilizing tables, as a result of this has been the one dependable solution to get issues rendering correctly in all the pieces from Lotus Notes to iOS Mail. The choice immediately is in fact to make use of divs and trendy HTML wherever potential: to scale back the quantity of markup, enhance accessibility, and usually attempt to transfer e mail in a extra trendy route.

The continued reputation of Outlook for Home windows nonetheless signifies that we nonetheless must strike a steadiness between outdated and new, since Outlook on Home windows solely helps the CSS2.1 specification, and sometimes in a relatively patchy method. For this reason we’ve to make use of Ghost Tables if we need to create div-based layouts, as talked about above. However one situation with this method is that you need to double up on a variety of your CSS, since Outlook on Home windows ignores or unreliably implements a variety of styling utilized to divs, so it’s a must to apply a lot of your styling individually to the Ghost Desk too.

Typically this doubling up doesn’t matter, significantly with advanced layouts, because you save a variety 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 types inline.

Nonetheless, when making a easy one-column e mail, it usually appears like overkill (to me) to create and elegance all of the divs after which should 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 totally different tables or cells — all this, when a single desk would have performed the trick by working for completely each shopper. Tremendous-modern it will not be, however it does save fairly a bit on file measurement, which is in spite of everything a vital issue with regards to e mail that I don’t consider is price sacrificing on precept. It additionally makes the e-mail simpler to debug and keep.

So, as this e 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 comprises 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 position="presentation" to make sure they’re accessible. Nonetheless if I wanted to incorporate any greater than two or three tables, I might be beginning to rethink issues.

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

Including Our Foremost Content material Container

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

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

Right here you’ll be able to see ours is about to be 94% huge on small screens, up till there’s sufficient house for the desk to develop into its max-width of 600px huge. You may mess around with each widths, for instance in the event you set the width to 100%, there can be no “padding” on the edges 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 can be inherited by the cells and paragraphs contained in the desk. (The one exception to that is Comcast and Libero, two webmail shoppers 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 in the event you use a webfont or extra distinctive typeface, you have to to set your font styling in your heading and paragraph tags for these shoppers.)

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 appears good if individuals have photographs turned off, or they don’t load. 

Configuring Our Emblem Picture

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

Right here I need it to be 80% huge on small screens (as it will look foolish if it was 100% huge 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 should respect this measurement. For all different shoppers, in our model attribute, we set it to be 80% huge, 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 forestall the linked picture ALT textual content rendering as blue with an underline.

And there we go! Our brand is completed, and in the event you resize your window you’ll see it stream between 80% huge 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 contemporary row:

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

Including a Full-Width Picture

It is a easy matter, as a result of the picture can be 100% huge. 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 Cell

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

You may 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 higher than zero, a spot 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 particularly doesn’t alter border-color in Darkish Mode, so that you could be left with a typically darkish e mail with actually brilliant borders. It’ll nonetheless respect the transparency inside our RGBA setting, so the semi-transparent shade can be laid over the adjusted background, leading to much less of a conflict. Any shoppers that don’t respect RGBA will simply fall again to the hex color.

Setting our Column Widths

I desire a left-hand column of 145px, and a right-hand column of 395px. Fluid hybrid columns work in an analogous solution to the outer wrapper. They’re set to be fluid (right here, 100% huge) 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 ample house for the columns to facet side-by-side, they nonetheless stack down on high of one another, and because the display measurement turns into smaller than the column’s max-width, they continue to be a fluid 100% huge. On this method, we’ve a set of columns with responsiveness baked into them, which implies we aren’t reliant on media queries to do these transformations for us. We are able to apply media queries on high of this behaviour to additional fine-tune it in shoppers 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’d like arrange a two column ghost desk for Outlook on Home windows.

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

As talked about within the apart above, you’ll be able to see how this methodology requires some doubling up. Now we have the primary column in our Ghost Desk, the place I’ve set the width, the textual content alignment to left, and vertical alignment to high, all performed utilizing a combination of HTML and CSS. Then the div inside, div.col-sml, has all the similar 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 for that reason I utterly disable it by setting padding:0; on all divs within the conditional <model> block for Outlook within the head of our doc). Subsequently we have to add the identical padding to each the div and the container cell within the Ghost Desk. Outlook received’t apply the div padding, and different shoppers clearly ignore the Outlook-only code. Regardless of all of this nonetheless, that is an especially secure and dependable to create this type of format, and we could be certain issues are going to render completely all over the place.

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 are going to 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 keep on with the left once 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 shoppers, plus we zeroed our font measurement a few ranges up. So let’s add this to the model attribute of div.col-sml:

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

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

The entire row comes collectively like this:

And there you’ve it! For those who refresh after which resize your browser, you will notice that our columns now stack when the obtainable house turns into too small, and so they return to take a seat side-by-side when there’s sufficient house.

Including a Full Width Picture and Textual content with Padding

That is principally an identical 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 huge format, that leaves us 540px for the picture.

This whole 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 can 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 house 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 info and an unsubscribe hyperlink. We’ll add the category unsub to the a tag in order that we are able to improve it just a little bit later:

Our Structure is Carried out

That’s our closing row, so the format is now full! For those who preview you it in your browser, all the pieces needs to be wanting nice.

At this level, we are able to add some media queries to boost how our e 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 Cell

We’ll flip our footer hyperlink into a pleasant fats button on smaller gadgets, since this may 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 <model> block beneath our font rule:

This media question will change the looks of our button on screens which are narrower than 530px huge.

Now in the event you refresh and make your display smaller, you will notice 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 intervening time, when considered on smaller screens, our two columns stack down to take a seat on high of one another, however at some sizes the textual content column is loads narrower than the display. Since most apps do help media queries, we’ve a superb likelihood of bettering how this appears in a variety 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 can override the default max-width of 395px and make sure the textual content spans full width on all display sizes as much as 530px huge.

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 huge, 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 need 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 at all times seem facet by facet by overriding our pixel max-widths and as a substitute specifying percentages. 

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

If there’s the rest you need to tweak with media queries, go forward and do it right here!

Check and Go!

Lastly, as at all times, ensure you 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 e mail templates that look nice in each e mail shopper!

Obtain E mail Templates

For those who want extra choices, then considered one of our responsive email templates could also be simply what you want. Subscribe to Envato Parts and also you’ll be given limitless entry to a whole bunch of customizable e mail templates, in addition to inventory pictures, icons, graphics, and plenty of different artistic property in your tasks.

Extra HTML E mail Tutorials

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

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