An Email Marketer’s Guide to Previewing Your Email Before You Send It


Oct. 18, 2013 Update:
We’ve updated this article to include our new Autoprocess Feature! Check it out here.

You can test your HTML email, even if you are not a programmer or web designer.

We have had a few people ask us how they can use our email testing simulation tool if they do not have access to their URL or HTML code. If you are an email marketer and you are using a third party service or application to create and manage your email campaigns, this article is for you.

Send Your Email Directly – Option 1 (Preferred)

The best way to view your email in all of our supported clients is to send your email directly to your Email on Acid account.

To do that, follow these easy steps:

    1. Create an account with Email on Acid.
    2. Verify that the body contains your HTML email.
    3. Send your email to “username”@emailonacid.com (insert your username and remove the quotes).
    4. Log into your Email on Acid account – you will find your inbox in the top right corner of the member Dashboard.
    5. From the dropdown, select the “Run a Test” option and you will see the html of your email pre-populated in the content section. 
    6. Make your SPAM and Email Client selections and run the test.

    It is recommended that you do not forward your email for testing.  Many email applications will re-format your email when you forward it so it is best to send your original email directly from your service provider. If this option is not available to you, feel free to continue reading.

    Retrieving HTML Source – Option 2

    Most email services like Vertical Response or Constant Contact have a built in feature that allows you to preview your email before you send it. Even if this preview has a header and footer, it is best to copy the source from this location because it is unfiltered. In other words, it hasn’t been sent through an email application that may have sifted out or converted the original HTML code.

    If your email service provider has a preview capability, follow the steps below:

      1. Using IE or Firefox, simply right click anywhere on the preview page (but not over a link or an image) and select “View Page Source” (in Firefox) or “View Source” (in IE)
      2. This will open a text file, simply cut and paste all of the HTML code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
        Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Retrieving HTML Source – Option 3

        Most email service providers have a “send test email” feature. This would allow you to send a test email to yourself in order to preview it before sending out your final email campaign. When you are ready, send a test email to your personal account then find the email application you are using in the list below and follow the steps to extract the HTML code:

        Gmail

        1. With Gmail, open the desired message.
        2. Click on the down arrow next to “Reply”
        3. Now click “Show original”
        4. This will open a new window with the source code, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Hotmail

        1. Open Hotmail and check the email in question (don’t open the email)
        2. Then right click on the message and select “View message source”
        3. This will open a new window with the source, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        AOL (in Firefox)

        1. With AOL open and your message selected, right click over your email layout (do not right click when hovering over images or links)
        2. In the dropdown choose “This Frame > View Frame Source”
        3. This will open a notepad document
        4. From there, cut all of the contents from the notepad document and paste it into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Yahoo (in Firefox)

        1. With Yahoo open and your message selected, right click over your email layout (do not right click when hovering over images or links)
        2. In the dropdown choose “This Frame > View Frame Source”
        3. This will open a notepad document
        4. From there, cut all of the contents from the notepad document and paste it into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Outlook 03

        1. With Outlook03 open and your message selected, right click over your email layout (do not right click when hovering over images or links)
        2. In the dropdown choose ” View Source”
        3. This will open a notepad document
        4. From there, cut all of the contents from the notepad document and paste it into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Outlook 07

        1. With Outlook07 open and your message selected, right click while hovering over the background of your email
        2. In the dropdown choose “view source” – (if you right click over images or text you will not see the option to view source, try making your window larger and right click over the background or below the footer, even if it is white).
        3. When you click “view source” – it will open a notepad document
        4. From there, cut all of the contents from the notepad document and paste it into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Thunderbird 2.0 and 3.0

        1. With Thunderbird open and your message selected, go to “View > Message Source”
        2. That will open a text editor with the html source, from there, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Mac Mail

        1. With MacMail open and your message selected, go to “View > Message > Raw Source” from the menu
        2. That will change your email to the html source, from there, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test

        Entourage 04 and 08

        1. With Entourage open and your message selected, go to “Message > Source” from the menu
        2. From there, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test

        Windows Live Mail

        1. With Windows Live Mail open and your message selected – right click on the message in your inbox and choose “Properties”
        2. Then select the “Details” tab
        3. Click on “Message Source”
        4. This will open a popup window with your source HTML
        5. From there, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Windows Mail

        1. With Windows Live Mail open and your message selected – right click on the message in your inbox and choose “Properties”
        2. Then select the “Details” tab
        3. Click on “Message Source”
        4. This will open a popup window with your source HTML
        5. From there, cut and paste all of the code into the Email on Acid HTML text box and run the test
          Shortcuts: (In Windows: Control A will select all the copy, Control C will copy the source into your clipboard, select the textbox and Control V will paste contents into the textbox)

        Note: Never try to forward your test email for purposes of extracting the source code. Most email applications will reformat your HTML email again when you forward it. Therefore, if you cut and paste code from a forwarded email, you will not get an exact simulation of how your original email would have rendered in each of the popular email clients.

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