It’s always important to remember that creating an email template, whether you’re coding it or designing it, is not like coding a website – different rules apply. In particular, template size.
Even when coding a website you have to think about how different browsers and screen sizes will render your site. The same applies to email – except you have different limits consider. While there is no set limit in length, email clients have a default width limit of 600px. It’s important to keep in mind that email clients will not use the full width of your screen to display your email – the last thing you want is for the email to look completely different than in your preview! (By the way, this rule doesn’t apply to designing with mobile in mind)
If you want your email to be viewed in one clean, straight view that does not require any extra scrolling from left to right, the 600px rule is something to keep in mind.
Luckily, our own Email Campaign Builder can help if you’re stuck – it will resize all images for you to 600px, and even gives you the option to resize/crop any images in your Image Library.
So how will this affect you?
I ran a test with a dummy campaign using Email on Acid for Gmail and Outlook2003 – here’s what would happen if I sent an email with 800px wide content. (based on a 1024×758 standard monitor size)
Notice how in both instances, the template and images are way too large for the preview pane to properly show the email.
Now here is the same email, but with the template at 600px
Not only is the 600px test cleaner, but I can see more of the content of the email in the preview pane. It required a lot less work to try to figure out what the email looked like.
By keeping these rules in mind when coding templates and you will ensure that your subscribers see exactly what you intended in their inboxes. You can also use tools like Litmus or Email on Acid to preview campaigns across multiple email clients.