Create a Messages template

Creating a Messages template is beneficial for mailings that are sent to the same group of constituents on a regular schedule, such as newsletters, athletic score recaps, periodic messages from school administrators, and so forth.

Template-based emails are helpful for recipients and allow readers to find content more easily. Templates are responsive, so you know that your content will look good no matter what size screen the reader uses. Template-based emails are quicker and easier for school staff to compose. Some ISPs even consider template-based emails with an established sending history less likely to be spam.

Messages template editor

Within Messages, click the "Template" tab, then select "+ Template."

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The window that pops up will allow you to name your template, as well as select a template to start with. You can opt to modify an existing template, either one of the included templates or one you have already created, or choose "Blank" to start from scratch. Make a selection, and load the template editor.

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The icons on the right indicate elements that you can use to build your email. The available elements and their configuration controls are sorted into Body, Structure and Content tabs.

Body controls

The "Body" tab is where you can find the controls that affect the default styling of the email, things like the width of the content area, its background color, font and link colors, and more.

Individual Structure and Content elements can have their own styling, which overrides the body styling.

Structure elements

Structure elements are used to control how the email is laid out. Structure elements can break sections of an email up into multiple vertical columns. You can stack different structure elements together to create emails with a visually engaging look.

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Template emails are responsive by default: On smaller screens, columns will stack vertically rather than spreading horizontally. As a result, the final appearance of an email for each user depends as much on the reader's individual device as it does on the template. Responsive designs are built to look consistent, functional, and beautiful on screens of all sizes, so each recipient will see an email that's optimally formatted for their own device.

Content elements

Content elements contain information. They can be in the form of text or images, or news, posts, and calendar events from your site. Other options include buttons for readers to click, dividers, or social media links.

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Creating a structure

To get started, establish some general template styles using the body controls to set a background color and width. Next, drag and drop some structure elements onto the template to establish the layout. This example has a blue background color, a full-width header, a body section with two columns, and a full-width footer.

To remove an element, click on it, then click on the trashcan icon that appears to delete it.

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After setting up structural elements, begin dragging content elements into each structural panel. Drop the element when the “Drag it here” line appears in the desired content area.

Clicking on each element will open it up for editing. Content properties will appear in the right-hand column of the template editor.

To personalize the messages sent from this template, use the "Merge Tags" button when editing a Text element to insert placeholders for user data such as name, graduating class (if applicable), and account information. 

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You can drag and drop an image file from your computer onto an image element or click the "Browse" button to look for one that you've uploaded previously.

After you have customized all of your template elements, click the Save button at the lower-right corner of the window. You can also preview or send yourself a test to see what the message will look like in your email client.

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