Hexadecimal vs. RGB Values in HTML Emails


HTML Email Design

We had a recent question in our forums regarding which clients support hexadecimal vs. RGB values so I figured I would publish the results of my research to our blog as well.

In summary, it is best to avoid using rgb(255,0,0) values when developing HTML emails. Long hex (#F00F00), Short hex (#F00) and colors (red) are supported in all the email clients I tested.

What I found interesting is that some clients support RGB colors on fonts but not in backgrounds or borders. I should point out that I used inline CSS in all of my testing.

The clients that do NOT offer full support for RGB values are: Hotmail, Lotus Notes 6.5, 7 and 8.

Font Color Test

Web
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
AOL Webyyyy
Gmail Newyyyy
Hotmailyyyy
Yahoo (Classic)yyyy
Yahoo (Current)yyyy
Yahoo (Beta)yyyy
Desktop
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Entourage 2004yyyy
Entourage 2008yyyy
Live Mailyyyy
Lotus Notes 6.5yyyy
Lotus Notes 7yyyy
Lotus Notes 8yyny
Lotus Notes 8.5yyyy
Mac Mailyyyy
Outlook 2003yyyy
Outlook 2007yyyy
Outlook 2010yyyy
Outlook Expressyyyy
Thunderbird 2yyyy
Thunderbird 3yyyy
Mobile
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Android 2.2yyyy
Android Gmail 2.2yyyy
iPad 3.0yyyy
iPad Gmailyyyy
iPhone 3.0yyyy
iPhone Gmailyyyy

 

Border Color Test

Web
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
AOL Webyyyy
Gmail Newyyyy
Hotmailyyny
Yahoo (Classic)yyyy
Yahoo (Current)yyyy
Yahoo (Beta)yyyy
Desktop
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Entourage 2004yyyy
Entourage 2008yyyy
Live Mailyyyy
Lotus Notes 6.5nnnn
Lotus Notes 7nnnn
Lotus Notes 8yyny
Lotus Notes 8.5yyyy
Mac Mailyyyy
Outlook 2003yyyy
Outlook 2007yyyy
Outlook 2010yyyy
Outlook Expressyyyy
Thunderbird 2yyyy
Thunderbird 3yyyy
Mobile
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Android 2.2yyyy
Android Gmail 2.2yyyy
iPad 3.0yyyy
iPad Gmailyyyy
iPhone 3.0yyyy
iPhone Gmailyyyy

 

Background Color Test

Web
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
AOL Webyyyy
Gmail Newyyyy
Hotmailyyyy
Yahoo (Classic)yyyy
Yahoo (Current)yyyy
Yahoo (Beta)yyyy
Desktop
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Entourage 2004yyyy
Entourage 2008yyyy
Live Mailyyyy
Lotus Notes 6.5nnnn
Lotus Notes 7nnnn
Lotus Notes 8yyny
Lotus Notes 8.5yyyy
Mac Mailyyyy
Outlook 2003yyyy
Outlook 2007yyyy
Outlook 2010yyyy
Outlook Expressyyyy
Thunderbird 2yyyy
Thunderbird 3yyyy
Mobile
 Short Hex (#F00)Long Hex (#F00F00)RGB(255,0,0)Color Name (red)
Android 2.2yyyy
Android Gmail 2.2yyyy
iPad 3.0yyyy
iPad Gmailyyyy
iPhone 3.0yyyy
iPhone Gmailyyyy

 

As you can see, my primary focus was on hexadecimal vs. RGB and I used inline CSS. I will research background colors and images – defined by inline CSS vs. HTML attributes in another post.

2 thoughts on “Hexadecimal vs. RGB Values in HTML Emails”

  1. “In summary, it is best to avoid using rgb(255,0,0) values…”

    If the conclusion that only a small % cannot use RGB values, therefore the rest of the world shouldn’t use RGB values…? isn’t a summary, but rather an opinionated statement on how to incorrectly use these facts that you’ve gathered.

    The actual statement should be… “Don’t color BORDERS with RGB. else using them is fine all over, with the exception of the .04% of users who use outdated email programs such as Lotus.

  2. I think the conclusion, as always, is for us to figure out what meets our needs. If you are sending business to business emails, Lotus may be holding you down to full hex values. If you have a .01% Lotus user base, then it probably isn’t a big deal and you can use RGB color codes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Free Email Goodies