Most people receive and view their email messages in an HTML format, and a great amount of time and effort is spent creating high-quality HTML messages as a result. However, there are still email clients and mail servers configured to accept only plain text content.
When a message is sent from Act-On, there are two versions sent within the same message: an HTML version and a plain text version. The recipient's email client will render either the HTML version or the plain text version based on their own preferences.
Act-On's Message Composer allows you to format and test the Plain Text version of the message so you can customize your message for these contacts.
- You should be done editing the written content of your HTML message before you edit the plain text version. Changes to the format and style will not impact the plain text version and can be changed later.
- If using Custom Headers, first go to Content > Email Headers. Update the plain text version of your custom header here.
- If using Custom Footers, first go to Content > Email Footers. Update the plain text version of your custom footer here.
- In the Message Composer, navigate to the Design tab
- Finish editing the HTML version of your design. Click Save.
- In the right column, click Edit Plain Text Version
- The Edit Plain Text Version panel will appear
Using the Plain Text Editor
Once you have opened the plain text editor, you will see the default generated plain text content. There are several ways to edit this content and customize the plain text version.
Generate from HTML Version
- To use this function, you must first Save your Email Message. Once you have done that, go to Edit Plain Text Version and proceed.
- Any changes you make to the HTML version of your message will not be reflected in the plain text version until you Save the message and then click Generate from HTML again.
- If you have made changes to the plain text version, clicking the Generate From HTML button will override any changes you have made.
When you click this button, the message will convert to plain text in the following manner:
|Header||The Text Version of the Default or Custom Header. This is not a direct conversion.||
Edit directly in the plain text editor
Generate the Plain Text version of your Header by going to Content > Email Headers
Rich Text will be converted to plain text
Hyperlinks will display as text in a line below the HTML displayed text
Images will be identified and a link to the original image is included in the plain text:
|Edit directly in the plain text editor|
|Footer||The Text Version of the Default or Custom Footer. This is not a direct conversion.||
Edit directly in the plain text editor
Generate the Plain Text version of your Custom Footer by going to Content > Email Footers
This button will remove all generated text in the Plain Text Editor. You can use this feature when you have composed your own plain text version of the message. Note that this content must still meet message validation requirements. See Validating the Plain Text Version below for details.
Personalization fields in the plain text version will work the same as in the HTML message. Use this button to add new personalization fields as needed. Remember the best practice of adding an alternative text to display for contact(s) who have missing fields.
Clicking this button will add the plain text version of the Opt-Out link. This link will function as a one-click unsubscribe (unless you have Subscription Management enabled). This is required for CAN-SPAM compliance.
For additional information and options for Opt-Out links, see our guide here: How to Add an Opt-Out Link
Validating the Plain Text Version
When you have saved the plain text version, navigate to the Review tab to review and validate your message before sending. Just like the HTML version of the message, any message with marketing content must meet CAN-SPAM requirements.
Plain text messages are validated for the following elements:
|Opt-Out Link||Use either the Opt-Out or Personalization button to obtain the correct URL. (Alternative Opt-Out links such as for Subscription Management appear in the Sender Field drop-down of the Personalization menu.)|
Our Default Footer contains all of the required information. You may need to edit your custom footer if it is missing any of this information.
I clicked on "Generate from HTML Version" and the plain text did not update.
If you have made changes to your message body and need to update the generated plain text, first Save your message, then go back to Edit Plain Text Version and click on Generate from HTML Version.
Why is my Email Footer / Header different when I generated the plain text?
Email Headers and Footers are managed separately from the Message Body content. They do not generate from the HTML text but rather have a separately defined plain text version.
If using a Custom Header, first go to Content > Email Headers. Update the plain text version of your custom header here.
If using a Custom Footer, first go to Content > Email Footers. Update the plain text version of your custom footer here.
Once you have updated tour custom header/footer, you can return to your message and click Generate from HTML version.