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What do text email format and html email format mean?

What are text emails?

Text emails are with simple and plain text like your notepad document. When you open an email you will see the plain text without any colors or images. By default most email clients set to display text emails only.


What are HTML emails?

HTML emails are like web pages. If you open your html email you will see the images, colored font and links. Unless you change your email client settings to display html emails, they don't display this html. This html code is displayed as raw html like you see the source of a web page.


See the following image of text email format:

It is a promotional email sent to a list of an ezine. Simple text is displaying. See the html format of the email in next image. Here email is displaying like plain text.

text email format

See the following image of html email format:

This the html version of the above text email. See the contrast between the two email formats. Html emails are eye catching. 

html email format


Text vs. Html Email - What are the Pros and Cons?

  • Pros of Text emails:

* Default display of email clients: Most email clients display them without any problem or change of settings.

* Low in bandwidth: Text emails are of less bytes compared to html emails so usage of low resources or bandwidth.

* Preferable format: Most subscribers think that html emails carry email viruses, so they prefer to go with text emails if the option is available.

  • Cons of Text emails:

* Not appealing: We can not input colors or images. So text emails are not eye appealing like html emails.

* Difficult to highlight: Like html email we can not use colors. So we need to keep special characters like asterisks, lines, arrows etc. to make text prominent in text emails.

* Tracking email openings: Not possible with text emails as it needs insertion of an image to track. But we can track link clicks in text emails.


  • Pros of HTML email:

* Eye appealing: Because of graphics and colors, html emails appear vibrant to subscribers eyes. More easy to highlight links and make the font prominent which catches the subscribers eyes.

* Tracking: Email opening tracking possible with html emails along with link click tracking.

  • Cons of HTML emails:

* More weight: HTML emails weigh more because of graphics and html code. Sometimes it will be difficult to pass these emails in spam filters. WYSIWYG editors add more html code increasing the bytes of the html email.

* Email viruses and .exe files: People think that html emails sent by hackers carry viruses and files like infected .exe files. This makes them not to prefer html format even from legit publishers.

* Email client settings: Need to change email client settings to get these html emails displayed. Not many subscribers know how to do this. So they end up looking at your raw html code in their email client.

* Blocking: Many email clients like hotmail block images and links in email. You need to set the email as safe before they display graphics.

Though many ezine publishers prefer to send the email in html format, it will be better to provide an option to your subscriber where he chooses text or html email formats.


Most important things you should note before sending the html emails:


* Whether your subscriber likes it or not - some people don't like to receive html emails because of the bias that these emails contain viruses, attachments, background scripts running etc.

* Limitations of your subscriber email client - not all email clients display html.

Or your subscribers may intentionally turn off html display. In these cases the html emails won't display in a proper way.


What is the best thing to do?

* Send text emails as default. You will not have any problems with it.

* Give option to the subscriber. On your subscription form use a format option to choose from, whether text or html format. The problem with this is you need to create two emails one for subscribers who opted for text and one for subscribers who opted for html.


Email marketers differ in their opinion on email formats. It would be their personal preference most of the times. Personally I'd like to see text emails in my inbox, so I prefer sending text emails to clients and subscribers.

(c) Radhika
Home of PHP Autoresponder Software!
Article details:
Author: admin
Posted: 2011-03-10 20:32:56
Number of Views: 34647
Keywords: best email format, email in html format, email message format, emails format, html format for email, plain text email format, reply email format
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