How do I send fancy, formatted email messages?

Most of us have received email with colors, pictures, and other formatted attributes that look really cute and inviting. There are a number of ways these messages are sent, ranging from very vendor specific methods (like Microsoft’s rich text format) to more open methods like using html formatting (the same approach used to create web sites). Many Critpath users ask how they can send messages like this, either to individuals or to their members through their email lists.

If you do decide to send formatted email, you do not need any special program or system to work with May First/People Link. All you need is an email program (like  Thunderbird) that can compose HTML email. Thunderbird, by default, sends HTML formatted email.

If you go this route, we would make the following reccomendations:

  • Use HTML, rather than rich text format, or any other proprietary format.
  • Use a standards-compliant program (like  Thunderbird) to compose the email. Avoid using proprietary programs (like Outlook or Apple Mail) because they are more likely to produce HTML email that will look great if displayed in the mail application that created the message, but will not look great in other mail applications.
  • Do not add any images to the message. If you must, add the images as an attachment to the email as opposed to adding a link to an image on your web site.
  • Keep it simple – avoid fancy layouts, tables, etc.


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