**This post has been updated as of January 2019**
You may be wondering, just how wide are HTML emails these days? Years ago, we recommended emails be no wider than 550-600px, but that was before dimensions ballooned beyond 1024×768.
What is HTML email width?
But let’s back up. Before going into how wide your HTML emails should be, let’s discuss its meaning.
In short, email HTML width refers to how wide the design is, and therefore, how it will appear inside reader inboxes.
Which HTML email width do most designers use?
You may remember our simple reader poll that determined the maximum width designers were using for HTML email.
Like much of HTML email design, change is slow. Many email client preview panes only recently became suitable for emails exceeding 650px wide.
Extra-wide emails (say, exceeding 800px), can still introduce awkward scrollbars to the preview pane, or they may be horizontally truncated.
Gauging from a purely non-scientific sample (467 reader votes received), this seems to be common knowledge amongst designers:
According to Stephen Muchmore at Armcom:
Although the average display is getting bigger, we find that B2B email still requires the 600px limit. It sucks when the whole agency has 1920px wide screens…
As you can see, 74% of votes were for a maximum email width of 550 – 650px. 90% of this segment voted explicitly for a width of 600px.
In contrast, we received hardly any votes for fluid (100% width) layouts. 20% of respondents said they designed for an email width of 751 – 850px, with the majority of these responses being explicitly for an 800px maximum. In comparison, most recent fixed-width web designs angle for widths of around 900 – 1000px.
The width limitation is set mainly by the small, bottom-right aligned preview panes that feature in desktop clients such as Outlook and Apple Mail. Webmail clients are far more forgiving, with Gmail’s preview panes expanding to the width of the email design, although banner advertising tends to take up loads of precious screen real estate.
The practical upside to being limited to a usable width of 550-650px is readability: the wider the email, the more difficult to read. Emails become unusable once horizontal scrollbars come into play, so it really does pay to keep your designs thin, trim and terrific.
That was then, but is it now?
We did this poll a few years ago. Have preferred email widths changed since then?
Well, according to EDMdesigner, the safest width for email design continues to be 600px, because narrow emails are widely supported and easy to read.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use wider designs for your newsletters or emails, but a little research can go a long way before committing to a larger width.
What email widths are supported in Campaign Monitor?
All emails built in Campaign Monitor have a maximum width of 600px to help ensure your content is rendered correctly across all major inboxes.
If you do go wider, just remember to test your emails on a variety of devices and clients to ensure your readers are receiving the best possible experience.
You can learn more about coding emails by checking out our developer tools.
Email has drastically changed in the past several years. Even still, there are a few tricks that continue to work well for designers. By keeping your emails narrow at 600px, your designs are likelier to be supported by email clients.
Once again, thanks to everyone who took part in this poll. Want to become a Campaign Monitor regular? Sign up for free today.