[thelist] Email Newsletters and Stylesheets

Jon Molesa rjmolesa at consoltec.net
Sat Dec 5 20:11:20 CST 2009

*On Sat, Dec 05, 2009 at 08:40:13AM -0700 Bob Meetin <bobm at dottedi.biz> wrote:

> I'm working with a newsletter program.  In general what is the preferred 
> method of implementing styles, stylesheets, preferably other than 
> embeding style <div style="font-size: 2em; color: #191970;"> with an 
> element?
> Should browsers, or rather email readers in general, be able to grasp 
> the styles of an external stylesheet?
> <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" 
> href="http://www.mysite.com/stylesheet.css" title="stylesheet">
> An alternate option is to bury the styles into an invisible head of a 
> newsletter.  Not my choice but...
> -Bob

A Google search turned this
http://articles.sitepoint.com/article/code-html-email-newsletters up.
Looks useful and might provide some insights on what works and what
doesn't.  It mentions downloading some templates offered by MailChimp
and Campaign Monitor to get an idea of what's supported.  And this is

Whether you choose to code your HTML email by hand (my personal
preference) or to use an existing template, there are two
fundamental concepts to keep in mind when creating HTML email:

1. Use HTML tables to control the design layout and some
   presentation. You may be used to using pure CSS layouts for your
   web pages, but that approach just won't hold up in an
   email environment.
2. Use inline CSS to control other presentation
   elements within your email, such as background colors
   and fonts.

That same article mentions http://www.email-standards.org/.  There's
some useful info there are what's "standard" and what isn't.  And it's
no surprise that Outlook isn't up on the standards.

As far as Mac Mail goes, I think the latest versions are now using
WebKit to render html which is the same as Safari.  So I would think
that anything that displays in Safari would display similarly in Mail.
But I could be wrong.  I'd be surprised if Thunderbird uses a different
rendering engine that Firefox, but I haven't confirmed that.  So that
just leaves all the web clients.  Which is where to two services
mentioned in the article above come in.

I'm no email newsletter expert, but I hope some of this is a least a
little helpful.

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