Formatting Plain Text Emails

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

Insert Carriage Returns Properly and Use Automatic Formatting

It is important to correctly format your plain text emails, in order for them to display properly in the various email programs used by 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

The paragraphs shown below include a Carriage Return manually inserted at the end of each line.

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 end of *the passage you want to put in bold face*.

Result: Use asterisks at the beginning and end of the passage you want to put in bold face.

How to Underline

Use underscore characters at the beginning and end of the _underlined passage_.

Result: 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/.

Result: 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 bulleted List of Items

Bullet points are not supported in plain text email, but you can use other characters, like -, *, or + instead.

- 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.
  • Use whitespace appropriately to divide the message.
  • Keep your email focused on one idea or message.
  • Many short messages are better than 1 long message.
  • Break the message into sections with headers.
    Header Example:
    ** The Art of Website Design
    ----------------------------------------------------------

Examples of well formatted plain text messages: