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For various reasons HTML newsletters are much more limited than normal web pages. To prevent these limitations from getting in the way of your messages here are some things to consider when creating a HTML newsletter.


To display in most email programs your newsletter should not exceed 600 pixels in width. You can afford to go a little wider if you want but 600 pixels is optimal.


A lot of people block images by default so your newsletter should be legible without images.

Media and Other Elements

You can’t embed Flash movies, video and other media into newsletters. Some email programs support animated GIFs but some don’t so make sure it looks fine if the GIF only shows the first frame of the animation. Other elements such as forms and JavaScript won’t work either.

Email Client Limitations

There are lots of email clients, or programs, out there—and each have their own limitations. The main consideration is Microsoft Outlook. In recent versions, Microsoft unilaterally decided to change the rendering engine of their HTML emails from Internet Explorer to Word, which is much more limited. One of the main roadblocks is the Word rendering engine does not properly support background images. Any good web designer/developer will be aware of what Outlook can and can’t do.

Ability to Unsubscribe

It is a legal requirement that you give people the ability to unsubscribe.

Online Version

As a final contingency, just in case even after all of the above they still can’t see your newsletter properly, provide a link to an online version where your newsletter isn’t bound by these limitations.

For help designing your newsletter call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.