Use our classic email builder to design a marketing email to sell products, promote your brand, boost audience engagement, and more. Arrange drag-and-drop content blocks to quickly get the look you need, or code your own template from scratch.
In this article, you'll learn the basics to design an email with the classic builder in Mailchimp.
Before you start
Here are some things to know before you begin this process.
- By default, you’ll design your email in the new builder unless you’ve used the classic builder previously. If you’d prefer to use the classic builder, check out Switch Your Default Email Builder.
- This article tells you how to use our classic builder. To learn more about the new builder, check out Design an Email with the New Builder.
Select a template
When you create a regular email in Mailchimp, you'll choose a template in the Content section of the campaign builder. The template you select will be the foundation of your design.
Depending on your plan, you may not have access to all of the template options. To find out what features are included in each plan, check out our pricing page.
Here are the different template categories and what they include.
The layouts category includes Featured and Basic designs. Featured templates were designed with specific goals in mind. Each template contains customizable content blocks you can use to promote new items, and more. Basic templates are available in regular and full width versions. Full width templates extend the email background of each section across the entire width of the client it's being viewed in.
We teamed up with some of the most talented designers on the web to bring you beautiful predesigned templates that are simple to use.
- Saved templates
This tab includes templates you uploaded on the Templates page of your account, and any email designs that you saved as templates for future use. Select a Saved template, and edit the content and design how you want.
Choose one of your recently sent or draft email campaigns as the starting point for a new campaign. We'll create an exact copy of the email's content and design, so you can edit it as needed without starting over from scratch.
- Code your own
If you have a custom-coded template, click Code your own to paste in your code, import it from a ZIP file, or import it from a URL. Include our template language in your code to edit the design of the template with our campaign builder.
Add your content
All templates show placeholder text and images to help you begin to design your email. Depending on the template you choose, you can add, delete, move, and replicate content blocks to create the look and feel you want.
Drag and drop content blocks
Our drag-and-drop editor allows you to duplicate, delete, and rearrange content blocks on the fly. Drag and drop a variety of content blocks into your layout and rearrange them to customize the look and feel of your email.
For more information on each email builder and their content blocks, check out About Mailchimp’s Email Builders.
The best way to add text to your email is to type it directly into the content block editing pane. If you prefer to work outside of the campaign builder, copy and paste your content from a simple text editor, like Notepad or TextWrangler.
Avoid rich-text word-processing programs, like Word or Publisher. They add styling code to the text that can prevent your ability to style content in the campaign builder. If you want to copy content from a rich-text editor, website, or email program, click the Paste as plain text icon on the editor toolbar to add your text.
If content has already been added to your email and you didn't use the Paste as plain text option, or if content doesn't update when you apply styling to your text, click Clear Styles and try again.
Clear styles to remove any conflicting formatting or styles that were brought in when you added content. This only removes the formatting that's been applied to your text and does not remove the text itself.
To clear styles from your content, follow these steps.
- Click the Text content block you want to edit.
- In the Content tab, highlight the text you want to change.
- In the editor toolbar, click Clear Styles.
Styles and settings for your campaign design can be applied from a few different places. Each section in your email campaign is related to another in a hierarchy, so the styles you set in one area of the campaign builder may affect other sections.
- Section Style tab
Every template is divided into different sections, like the header, body, and footer. Apply styles to these sections on the Style tab in the campaign builder. When styles are applied to a section, they are also applied to all content blocks in that section.
- Content block Style and Settings tabs
If you want one of your content blocks to have different styling from other content blocks in its section, open that content block and set preferences on the Style and Settings tabs for that content block. Styles you apply here will override the style for the section that content block is in.
- Editor toolbar
Use the editor toolbar in each content block to fine-tune the styling on a line-by-line basis. Changes you make here will override any styles you've set for that content block or section.
Once you're comfortable with the basics of designing with the classic builder, check out our Email Design Guide for more tips on designing for email marketing.