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How to properly test your email design in different email clients

When sending a large number of emails to different individuals, you’re bound to be actually sending those emails to more various clients than you can count. People use all types of clients from software on their computer (Outlook, Thunderbird, Eudora, Apple Mail), on their mobile device (Outlook, Gmail, Inbox, Boomerang, Mailbox) or even their browser (gmail,, yahoo, aol, etc). There are literally hundreds of different clients and different versions of these clients, so how do you test them?

Fortunately there’s an easy way: Litmus. While unfortunately not free, provides a testing tool that cannot be beat: you send them one email and they render it on a wide array of clients on different operating systems, and show you the result when this is done. That way, it becomes easier to see what your client will see and adjust accordingly.

Getting your Litmus test email address

Obviously, we assume that you have a Litmus account. If you don’t, you can grab a free 7-day trial here. To get a test email address:

  1. Login to your litmus account.
  2. From the Previews page (the default when you login), click on New Test Email
  3. Select which clients should be tested.
  4. Click on Start Test.
  5. In the dialog that appears, copy the email address, <id>

Configuring the test email in the preferences

Once you have your litmus test email, you can send any email template to your account and see the result.

If you are sending every test to the same email, you can configure it in the preferences.

  1. Click on WindowPreferences.
  2. Go to EmailGeneral.
  3. Enter the email you obtained above in the Email Test Account box.
  4. Click OK.

Sending a test email to Litmus

To actually send the email test:

  1. Open your template, and activate the Email Context.
  2. If not done automatically, open a valid data mapping configuration, too.
  3. Click on Send Test Email in the toolbar, or click FileTest Email.
  4. If you’ve saved the email test account in the preferences, simply check the Send to Litmus option. Otherwise, paste the email test account in the Email address(es) box.
  5. Select one record in the Selection box.
  6. Make sure your Outgoing Mail Settings are properly set, and click Finish.

It takes a fair amount of time for Litmus to generate all the tests for each of the clients selected. The more clients, the more time. An email notification is sent to the Litmus administrator’s address once the tests are completed.


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