Preview and Test Your Email Campaign

Different email programs display your HTML email differently, so we recommend you preview and test your campaign content before you send.

In this article, you'll learn how to preview your campaign in Mailchimp's preview mode, and how to send test emails.

Before You Start

Here are some things to know before you begin this process.

  • If you have run out of test email sends for your campaign, there are a few things you can do to test your campaign. To learn more, check out About Test Email Sending Limits.
  • On the Pay As You Go and our Forever Free Plans, Mailchimp deducts one credit for each recipient you send an email to, whether it's a test campaign or a live campaign.
  • When you use the Send a Test Email option, the merge tags won't be activated because your campaign isn't being sent to a list just yet. We recommend that you test your merge tags.
  • Test emails sent from the Template Builder will display a from email address that is the primary account contact for your Mailchimp account. This is because template tests are not associated with a list in your account. When you send your campaign, the From email address will display as the from email address associated with the list you're sending to or the address you typed in the From section of the Campaign Builder.
  • For more information on reviewing your content before sending, take a look at our email campaign testing tips.

Enter Preview Mode

Preview mode gives you an idea of how your campaign will look in your recipients' inboxes on both desktop and mobile.

To enter preview mode from the Email Designer, click the Preview and Test drop-down menu and choose Enter preview mode.

click enter preview mode

In some campaigns, you can also enter preview mode by clicking the preview image in the Content section of the Campaign Builder.

click preview image to enter preview mode

This will open the Preview mode overlay, which shows how your campaign will appear to different users.

Use the tabs to look at different views. The Desktop tab shows the desktop preview of your campaign, and the Mobile tab shows the mobile preview. The right tab, Inbox, shows your campaign's Inbox Preview. On the right side of the screen, Header Info displays campaign information, like the subject line and reply-to email address.

If you’re using merge tags and want to see how they’ll look to your contacts, toggle the slider to the green checkmark to enable live merge tags.

If you continue to see test data, check out our troubleshooting merge tags article.

To enter the Link Checker from the Email Designer, click the Preview and Test drop-down menu and choose Open Link Checker.

Preview and Test drop-down menu with cursor on Open Link Checker.

The left panel displays a campaign preview, and the right panel lists all links in your campaign.

Link checker window

Click a link in the right pane to open Link Details. The Link Details pane displays the URL the link points to and a screenshot of what the website looks like, and tells you whether the URL is valid. Mailchimp cannot preview links containing merge tags, anchors, or mail-to addresses in the Link Details pane.

If you need to change the URL the link points to, click Edit link under the URL in the Link Details screen.

Link details

To navigate between checked links, you can either use your mouse or use keyboard shortcuts. Use your left and right arrow keys to move up and down the list, and "e" to edit a link.


Link Checker is currently not available for Code Your Own template options, including Paste in code, Import zip, and Import HTML. If you're using a Code Your Own template, thoroughly test your email to make sure all the links are correct.

Link Checker also isn't available when creating a template from the Templates page of your account.

Send a Test Email

Send a test email to see how a campaign will appear in your inbox, or to share a draft campaign with a colleague.

To send a test email, follow these steps.

  1. In the Email Designer, click the Preview and Test drop-down menu, and choose Send a test email.
    click send a test email
    If you’re working with a regular email campaign, you can also click Send a Test Email link in the Content section of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Type the email address you want to send the test to. You also have the option to use the checkboxes to send to other users on your account.
    Select account users You can include optional instructions and a personal message, then use the checkboxes to select which account users will be notified of new comments.
  3. When you're ready, click Send Test.

If someone replies to a test email sent from here, their reply will show up on the Comments tab.

Send to a Test List

To send a regular email campaign to a test list, follow these steps.

  1. Navigate to the Lists page.
  2. Click the drop-down menu next to the list with the fields you want to test with and choose Replicate list.
  3. In the pop-up, type in the name for your test list and click Replicate.
  4. Add yourself and any other test subscribers to your test list. To see how the campaign appears with or without subscriber information for a certain field, fill out the various fields for your list for some people and leave them blank for others.
  5. Navigate to the Campaigns page in your account.
  6. Click the drop-down menu next to the campaign you're working with and choose Replicate to create a copy of the campaign.
    Choose option 2, replicate from drop-down menu.
    You can also create a new campaign for testing.
  7. In the To section of the Campaign Builder, click Edit Recipients.
  8. In the List drop-down menu, choose your test list.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Make any additional changes to the design of your campaign and then send the campaign to your test list.

Each recipient will receive a live version of the test campaign, with the merge data filled in so you can preview how it will look for a real recipient.

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