Testing HTML email rendering

Are there any good tools to easily test how HTML email will look across different email clients? I prefer something with instant feed back rather than a submit and wait service like http://litmusapp.com Or at the very least a way to test the Outlook 2007/MS Word rendering?

I found this related question but it doesn't specifically address testing. What guidelines for HTML email design are there?

Answers


Yes, you can use any of these popular tools:


You could also use PutsMail to test your emails before sending them.

PutsMail is a tool to test HTML emails that will be sent as campaigns, newsletters and others (please, don't use it to spam, help us to make a better world).

Main features:

  • Check HTML & CSS compatibility with email clients
  • Easily send HTML emails for approval or to check how it looks like in email clients

I found emailonacid.com today (beta, currently free†) - have only played with it a little but so far so good. It simulates the following clients:

  • AOL 9
  • Entourage 2004 & 2008
  • Gmail
  • Hotmail
  • Windows Live Mail
  • Windows Mail
  • Mac Mail
  • Outlook 2003 & 2007
  • Thunderbird 2, 3 & Beta
  • Yahoo Classic / Yahoo Mail

The very helpful thing about this service is it tells you what code is not supported in which client.


Edit: Not free anymore, but provides a 7 day free trial.


Direct Mail is an OS X desktop app that can show you previews of what your email will look like in a variety of email clients:

http://directmailmac.com/mac-email-design/

Full Disclosure: I work for the developers of Direct Mail


Another thing you could try is to upload the html to a webpage and then open the webpage in word to test Outlook.


If you are converting your HTML pages to Email. You should check Premailer,

It converts CSS to inline CSS and also tests the compatibility with major email clients.


If you don't want to use a submission service like Litmus (Litmus is the best, BTW) then you're just going to have to run Outlook 2007 to test your email.

It sounds like you want something a little more automatic (though I'm not sure why), but fortunately Outlook is easy to automate using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).

You can write a VBA tool that runs from the command line to generate an email, load the email up in Outlook, and even capture a screenshot if you wish. (Presumably this is what the Litmus team does on the backend.)

(BTW, do not attempt to use MS Word to test mail; the renderer is similar but subtle differences in page layout can affect the rendering of your email.)


Campaign Monitor is quite popular and offers previews for many popular email clients.


I've used most of them and can tell you that the best method is to test directly to each client. Once you are comfortable with sending you can send tests of your emails to gmail and if the design doesn't break then it's pretty safe on modern email clients.

You can check what is supported on which client here:

http://www.email-standards.org


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