Formatting Plain Text Emails

In this post, we have included tips and best practices to make plain text emails easier to read.

Inserting Carriage Returns Properly and Use Automatic Formatting

It is important to format your plain text messages correctly if you want them to display properly in different email programs used by your subscribers.

Please refer to this post about how our system can automatically fix some formatting problems with plain text messages.

Best practices for using plain text:

Indent and insert a blank line before starting a new paragraph

This is the first sentence in this

paragraph. Paragraphs may be long

or short.


   In this paragraph the first line is

indented. Indented and non-indented

sentences are allowed. White space within

the paragraph lines is ignored in

defining paragraphs. Only completely blank

lines are significant.

How to use Bold Face

Use asterisks at the beginning and at the end of

*the passage you want to put in bold face*

How to Underline

To mimic underlining in plain text email:

Use underscore characters at the beginning and end of the

_underlined passage_

How to Italicize

Put a slash character before and after the

/italicized passage/

How to create a Table of Contents

A) Ordered list item


 B) Ordered list item


 C) Ordered list item


i.   Ordered list item


ii.  Ordered list item


iii. Ordered list item


iv.  Ordered list item

How to create a List of Items

- unordered list item

- unordered list item

- unordered list item

A few more tips:

  • Keep your emails short.  600 words or less is a good rule of thumb.
  • If you have more to say, send readers to your web page.
  • Keep your email focused on one idea or message.
  • Many short messages are better than 1 long message

Examples of well formatted plain text messages: