Template generator for (responsive) emails & email signatures.
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README.md

Responsive HTML email signature(s)

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Let's punch email clients in the stomach 👊

When you need some basic responsive email signatures that work on mobile.
...and your colleagues need them too.
...but you don't want to deal with tables and inline styles.

Read the docs in other languages ↗️

Preview

Here are some examples: responsive emails-01 responsive emails-02

Getting started

  • Clone repo git clone https://github.com/danmindru/responsive-html-email-signature.git
  • Run npm install
  • Run gulp to generate templates from configuration (one time)

Customizing templates

  • Edit files in /templates
  • Run gulp watch to watch templates and re-generate when changed
  • Open files from ./dist in your fav browser to check them out

When you're done, check out how to add them to your email client of choice if in doubt.

Motivation

Writing HTML emails & email signatures sucks. Let's make it easier. We can't fix all email clients, but we can surely make our lives easier with some automation.

What does this pile of code do

  • generates email templates from your config
  • allows generating multiple templates at once (for your colleagues too!)
  • transforms linked (<link>) CSS into inline styles
  • embeds local img[src] into the template (base64).*
  • minifies the template
  • ads some basic media queries for mail clients that support them
  • can build templates from multiple sources
  • watches HTML / CSS files for changes and re-builds
  • supports LESS / SASS / PostCSS
  • autoprefixer, so you don't have to worry about your -moz-s or -webkit-s

*Some mail clients don't support them, so an external URL might be a good idea. Also, some clients might complain about the size, so keep an eye out.

Docs

Installing

$ npm install
$ gulp # By default, HTML & CSS files in './src' will be watched for changes

Note: it's built using node v8.x, so please make sure your node.js version is up to date. Version 6+ should be fine.

Configuring

To make a basic email from existing templates, you only have to edit the conf.json file in each template.

For example, the dark template accepts the following:

{
  "id": "<will-be-used-for-filename>",
  "signature": "<signature-of-choice>",
  "name": "<your-name>",
  "contactMain": "<phone-or-email-or-html>",
  "contactMail": "<email>",
  "slogan": "<a-basic-slogan>",
  "logoUrl": "</assets/dark.png?>",
  "logoAlt": "<text-in-case-logo-is-blocked>",
  "website": "<http://dark.dk>"
}

Generating multiple emails from the same config (for your colleagues too!)

Use an array instead of object in conf.json, having multiple configs like the one above:

[
  {...conf1},
  {...conf2}
]

Using config values in HTML

Config variables are made available in all HTML files.
Add any variable to the configuration file and use it in HTML like so:

<p><!-- @echo yourCustomVariable --></p>

NB: config variables accept HTML.

Adding CSS & pre-processing

Any number of CSS, SASS or LESS files in a template directory & they will be automatically processed & inlined into the files outputed in ./dist.

Multiple emails in the same template

Templates can contain multiple HTML files from which to build emails. For example, the dark template has signature.html and signature-reply.html, which is a simpler version.

Each HTML file will be treated as an email template, except for *.inc.html. See below ⬇️

Partials (*.inc.html)

If you indeed have multiple emails in the same templates, you can be sure some of the HTML repeats.

Luckily, partials can be used for common parts (i.e. headers, footers).

Partials will not be treated as an email template, but ignored when built. They can however be included in other HTML files, like so:

<section>
<!-- @include footer.inc.html -->
</section

Template structure (examples)

There are 2 examples of template structures, one for the light email template and one for the dark one.

Here's how the dark one looks:

./src
├── dark
    ├── conf.js                   # Template strings, logo, etc.
    ├── dark.css                  # Stylesheet.
    ├── footer.inc.html           # Contact info & logo
    ├── head.inc.html             # 'Responsive' CSS goes here
    ├── signature-reply.inc.html  # Simplified signature (loads head)
    ├── signature.html            # Full signature (loads head/footer)

Here's how the light one looks:

./src
├── light
    ├── conf.js                   # Template strings, logo, etc.
    ├── footer.inc.html           # Contact info & logo
    ├── full-mail.html            # Body + signature
    ├── head.inc.html             # 'Responsive' CSS goes here
    ├── signature-reply.inc.html  # Simplified signature (loads head)
    ├── signature.html            # Full signature (loads head/footer)

Files are included via gulp-preprocess.

There's one convention you have to keep in mind: all files that you wish to include should follow the *.inc.html format. The gulp task ignores *.inc.html files, but will try to process & create email templates from all .html files.

You are of course encouraged to change the default structure for your use case.

Overview of the build process

The diagram below shows what happens to your email templates. Each folder in 'src' is considered a template group. A template file will be generated for each of the configuration objects you add have in the template group -> conf.js. Responsive HTML email template/signatures diagram

CSS Support

Remember, it's HTML mails, so you need to check a big-ass table to find out nothing's gonna work. See this for more info. Gulp-inline-css is being used to convert whatever CSS you throw at it to inline styles, but it probably won't handle everything.

Some bonuses of using gulp-inline-css: many css props will be converted to attributes. For example, the 'background-color' prop will be added as 'bgcolor' attribute to table elements. For more details take a look at the inline-css mappings.

Usage with different email clients

Thunderbird

There are several Thunderbird plugins which can automatically insert signatures when composing e-mails. We recommend SmartTemplate4 as one of the options. It can use different templates for new e-mails, replies and forwarded e-mails.

Apple Mail / OS X (oh boy)

Solution 1

  • Open Mail.app and go to Mail -> Preferences -> Signatures
  • Create a new signature and write some placeholder text (doesn't matter what it is, but you have to identify it later).
  • Close Mail.app.
  • Open terminal, then open the signature files using TextEdit (might be different for iCloud drive check the article below).
$ open -a TextEdit ~/Library/Mobile\ Documents/com~apple~mail/Data/V3/MailData/Signatures/ubiquitous_*.mailsignature
  • Keep the file with the placeholder open, close the other ones.
  • Replace the <body>...</body> and it's contents with the template of your choice. Don't remove the meta information at the top!
  • Open Mail.app and compose a new mail. Select the signature from the list to test it out.

NB: Images won't appear in the signature preview, but will work fine when you compose a message.

Solution 2

You can also open the HTML files in /dist in a browser, CMD + A, CMD + C and then paste into the signature box. This won't copy the <html> part or the <style> part that includes media queries. Follow the guide if you want it.

Troubleshooting

If solution #1 doesn't work, you can repeat the steps and lock the signature files before you open Mail.app again. Lock Files:

$ chflags uchg ~/Library/Mail/V3/MailData/Signatures/*.mailsignature

If you want to do changes later, you have to unlock the files:

$ chflags nouchg ~/Library/Mail/V3/MailData/Signatures/*.mailsignature

If you are using iCloud drive or having problems with it, you might also want to check this article.

Outlook 2010 Client for Windows 7

Solution 1

  • Open Outlook 2010 and go to File > Option > Mail > Signature
  • Create new signature (with a placeholder for your convenience)
  • Open signature folder using CMD

As the AppData folder is hidden, I'd recommend you to opne it via CMD.

cd AppData\Roamin\Microsoft
start Signatures
  • Within this folder, find a file named with your placeholder then right click this file and select edit.
  • Replace it with your HTML and save
  • Open Outlook again and check your signature

Solution 2

Unfortnately, Outlook 2010 client dosen't support HTML file import features for your email template. But you can add your own signatures by simple Copy and paste like Solution 2 above.

  • Open built html file on /dist folder and Ctrl A + C
  • Open Outlook 2010 and go to File > Option > Mail > Signature
  • Create new signature and paste copyed one

NB: base 64 will not be shown on Outlook 2010 client. So, I recommend to use external url if you want to use images.