Create a Messages template

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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. They are also 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.

Create a new template

Within Messages, click the Template tab, then select Create 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.

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After you make a selection, the template editor loads.

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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 Content, Rows, and Settings tabs.

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Add content elements

The Content tab contains content elements that 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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Add rows elements

The options in the Rows tab include row structure elements that control how the email is laid out.

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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. Open the dropdown menu to choose from structure elements organized into: Default, Empty, or Saved Rows.

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These structure elements provide formatted areas that can be easily modified with your details. 


Choosing from these elements will place structure in the form of empty boxes into your template. This is ideal for then being able to place Content elements such as images, buttons, text, and so much more into your template. 

Saved Rows

Rows that are created and used often can be saved so as to not have to recreate them next time. This is great for collaboration and efficiency. 

Configure your settings

The Settings 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.

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Note: Individual structure and content elements can have their own styling, which will override the body styling.

Create a structure with rows

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.

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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.

Understanding responsiveness of templates

Templates are responsive, so you know that your content will look good no matter what size screen the reader uses. 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.

For more information about configuring rows for your template, see Messages template rows.

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