Plain Text Vs. HTML Emails: Which Is Better?

Email marketing newsletters are gaining popularity for a good reason. Because they incur no print or mail costs, electronic newsletters can usually be published for a fraction of the cost of their traditional print equivalents. And because electronic newsletters can be instantly delivered to readers throughout the world at the click of a button, these publications are ideal for communicating timely information to readers in distant locations.

But which type of email should you use? Let’s weigh up the pros and cons of the two most common forms of email newsletters: plain text email and HTML email.

Plain Text Email Newsletters

Anyone who has an email account can receive and read plain text email newsletters. The newsletter is sent directly to the reader, who views it in their email program.

However, as its name implies, if you choose plain text for your newsletters, you’ll be limited to a very plain, simple newsletter.

Plain text newsletters cannot contain color or graphics, and you won’t be able to incorporate any design elements, such as varying text styles and sizes, or formatting text into multiple columns.


Plain text email newsletters are extremely quick and easy to compose and to send. This is an ideal format for mailing extremely urgent, time-sensitive information.

Everyone with an email account can read these newsletters. And, because of their small file size, plain text emails are quick for readers to download.


Because plain text newsletters cannot contain color, graphics or other design elements, they aren’t eye-catching. Readers may quickly lose interest when reading row after row of text with no graphical, visual breaks.

HTML Email Newsletters

This type of newsletter is distributed through email and viewed in the reader’s email program. HTML email looks like a web page. It can incorporate color, photos, graphics and other design elements, such as varying typeface sizes and styles, and multiple columns of text.

However, only people who have HTML-capable browsers (such as recent versions of the Gmail or Microsoft email programs) can view these publications.


This is the most attractive type of email newsletter because you can include photos, graphics, color, and other design elements. HTML email publications are a good alternative to more expensive printed newsletters, and they’re ideal for people who will primarily read the newsletter on screen.


People with older, non-standard or web-based email programs may not be able to read HTML email, and will instead be confronted with a confusing array of programming codes on their screens.

If photos or graphics are included in the HTML email, readers must have an open connection to the Internet while they read the email to see the photos. This may be a problem for people who view the newsletter at work because many companies restrict their employees’ Internet access.

People also ask

  • What is the difference between plain text email and HTML?
  • Is it better to use HTML or plain text?
  • Is Gmail HTML or plain text?
  • What HTML email means?
D'Vaughn Bell
D'Vaughn Marqui Bell is a millennial entrepreneur, author and businessman. As CEO of Marqui Management he is responsible for day to day operations, management and insight. He continues his leadership development and training for the millennial generation at his website: D'Vaughn Bell

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