What is HTML email?
These days, most email is HTML email. If you put colors or bold text in your email messages, 9 times out of 10 you'll be sending HTML email. So asking how to write HTML email is challenging to answer - the simple answer is "open up your email client and start typing".
- If you don't know if you're using HTML email, chances are, unless you're using a very old email client, you are sending HTML email.
Most modern email clients like Outlook, Eudora, Yahoo! Mail, Hotmail, Gmail, and Thunderbird are set up to send email as HTML unless you change your settings. The only exception to this is UNIX text email clients like Pine and Elm - and you can send HTML email with those, but you would know you were doing it.
- In those same clients, any time you bold the text in your email, it's sent as HTML.
HTML is used because it's widely understood by many email clients. This is also true if you use background images, embed pictures, or change the colors of your text. This is usually done with HTML.
- It can be very difficult, if not impossible, to write HTML in a separate editor, and then send that as "HTML email".
Most email clients are not built to support that. Most email clients expect you to write your email right in the client - so they have buttons for "bold" and "italics" and a few other options like bullets, indenting and images.
- Most of the time, when people think of HTML email, they envision an HTML editor like Dreamweaver or FrontPage where they can design and compose their email messages. In general, this doesn't exist.
Instead, as I mentioned above, you have to use the editor built into the client which may or may not have the styles and functions you want and may or may not send your message as HTML.
- As a last resort, you can write your email as HTML in your HTML editor, and then attach it to the message.
Some email clients will then open that attachment in the message window, and so it will appear as an HTML message. But some won't.
Personally, I don't use HTML email for my work or personal messages. But you can do what you like. If you really must write HTML email, and don't want to use your email client to do so, then you can read my article Sending HTML Email and the second part that discusses some ways to send the mail in your client. I am not the Email Guide at About.com. Please don't write to me asking about your specific email client. I don't know how to send HTML email in it, because I don't send HTML email.
Some HTML Email Resources from Email @ About.com
- When in Doubt, Send Plain Text Email, Not HTML
- How to Use Rich HTML Formatting in an Email with Outlook Express
- Write an Email Using Rich HTML Formatting in FastMail
- How to Use Rich HTML Formatting in an Email with Windows Mail or Outlook Express
- Use Rich HTML Text Formatting in AIM Mail
- Write a Message Using Rich HTML Formatting in Evolution
- How to Send a Message in Plain Text with Mac OS X Mail
- How to Send Plain Text Emails Only in Eudora