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Switching from the legacy email editor

Using the new email editor, you can design complex emails more easily, with a more consistent and predictable appearance across different platforms, devices, and email readers.

Designing an email with the new email editor is like using building blocks: you stack different kinds of layouts to form the structure of your message. Then, you can add your content by inserting different gadgets into the various cells within your structure. 

The new email editor is currently only available when designing manual emails and manual email templates. The legacy email editor is still being used for event emails and automatic emails such as membership emails, invoices, and receipts.

In this article, we'll help existing users understand the differences between the two editors, and explain the process for transitioning existing manual email drafts and templates to the new editor.

What's different?

Let's take a look at the differences between the new email editor and the legacy editor.

More control over layout and structure

With the legacy email editor, you chose a single multi-row layout for your entire email message. 

If you wanted to create a design not covered by one of the provided layouts, you'd have to code your custom layout yourself using HTML.

With the new email editor, you can quickly and easily create your own custom design by stacking multiple, single-row layouts one on top of another like building blocks. 

Layouts are containers that consist of one or more cells or columns into which you can insert your content.

The following layouts are available:

Layout type
Column width (px)
1 column600
2 column300, 300
Left sidebar200, 400
Right sidebar400, 200
3 columns200, 200, 200

The No layout layout is no longer available.

To add a layout, you drag the type of layout you want to add from the Layouts panel on the left, then drop it where you want it to appear.

You can then add content to the cells within each layout.

Separate gadgets for different kinds of content

With the legacy email editor, each content block could be a mix of text and images. Mixing text and images together within the same content block led to inconsistent and unpredictable results across different platforms and email clients.

With the new email editor, we've taken a more structured approach and separated different kinds of content. Each type of content is now added separately by dragging and dropping the corresponding gadget type. For example, to add an image, you drag and drop the image gadget into the layout cell where you want it to appear.

With different kinds of content stored in different content blocks, your recipients get more consistent and more predictable results.

Custom HTML gadget instead of editing underlying HTML

With the new editor, you can no longer access the underlying HTML code for each content block. Instead of providing direct access to the underlying code, we provide a custom HTML gadget where you can enter your custom HTML code. 

Restricting access to the underlying HTML for individual content blocks prevents you from introducing coding issues that would affect the consistency of your message on different platforms.

Tables

The new email editor does not support inserting tables into text gadgets. This is because tables were being used in the legacy editor to get around the limits of a single layout. The problem with using tables to define the layout of your message is that they do not display well on mobile devices.

With the new editor, you can stack multiple layouts in any combination without using tables, so tables are no longer necessary. 

If you still need to insert a table to display tabular data, you can insert the HTML for a table into a custom HTML gadget, or copy and paste tables from external editors like Word or Excel. 

Copying and pasting

You can still copy and paste content from external sources, but we recommend strongly against pasting formatted content, particularly content that includes images. After pasting formatted content, you won't be able to access its underlying HTML or adjust image properties, and the results will be less predictable than if you had assembled your email using the layouts and gadgets provided.

Background images

You can no longer set background images for individual cells, but you can set a background image for the entire message and for individual layouts.

Autosaving

Changes were made to the autosave feature to make it faster and more stable. This greatly reduces the chance of you losing your changes.

Archiving newsletters

The workaround used to create an archive of past newsletters has changed slightly. Now, you copy the URL for the index_preview.html file rather than the index.html file.

Transitioning existing drafts to the new editor

When you open an existing email draft, it will be immediately converted to the new email format. In most cases, the appearance of the email will remain the same. However, if you displayed background images for individual content blocks, you might want to assign a background color in place of the background image.

If you've used tables to format your message, the tables will be retained once the message is converted to the new format, but you will be unable to adjust any of the table properties.

If you have an existing email draft scheduled for delivery, it won't be converted to the new email format unless you or another administrator opens it before delivery.

To avoid having an existing finalized email draft converted to the new email format, you should consider scheduling it for delivery rather than opening it then sending it.

Transitioning existing templates to the new editor

The supplied system templates – the themed and basic templates – will be immediately updated to the new format. If you select one of them when editing an event email or system email, the resulting email will use the legacy format and continued to be edited using the legacy editor. 

You can continue to use your existing custom template for new emails, but the template may be converted to the new email format as a single layout. In that case, you won't be able to add layouts between blocks of content, so you'll probably want to rebuild your custom templates within the new format by copying and pasting your existing content to individual layouts.

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