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Turns CSS blocks into style attributes
Python HTML
branch: master

Merge pull request #122 from bogdal/python3.2

Fix python3.2 syntax error
latest commit 4f74010cc2
@peterbe authored



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Python versions

Our tox.ini makes sure premailer works in:

  • Python 2.6
  • Python 2.7
  • Python 3.2
  • Python 3.3
  • Python 3.4
  • PyPy

Turns CSS blocks into style attributes

When you send HTML emails you can't use style tags but instead you have to put inline style attributes on every element. So from this:

<style type="text/css">
h1 { border:1px solid black }
p { color:red;}
<h1 style="font-weight:bolder">Peter</h1>

You want this:

<h1 style="font-weight:bolder; border:1px solid black">Peter</h1>
<p style="color:red">Hej</p>

premailer does this. It parses an HTML page, looks up style blocks and parses the CSS. It then uses the lxml.html parser to modify the DOM tree of the page accordingly.

Getting started

If you haven't already done so, install premailer first:

$ pip install premailer

Next, the most basic use is to use the shortcut function, like this:

>>> from premailer import transform
>>> print transform("""
...         <html>
...         <style type="text/css">
...         h1 { border:1px solid black }
...         p { color:red;}
...         p::first-letter { float:left; }
...         </style>
...         <h1 style="font-weight:bolder">Peter</h1>
...         <p>Hej</p>
...         </html>
... """)
    <h1 style="font-weight:bolder; border:1px solid black">Peter</h1>
    <p style="color:red">Hej</p>

For more advanced options, check out the code of the Premailer class and all its options in its constructor.

You can also use premailer from the command line by using his main module.

$ python -m premailer -h
usage: python -m premailer [options]

optional arguments:
-h, --help            show this help message and exit
-f [INFILE], --file [INFILE]
                      Specifies the input file. The default is stdin.
-o [OUTFILE], --output [OUTFILE]
                      Specifies the output file. The default is stdout.
--base-url BASE_URL
--remove-internal-links PRESERVE_INTERNAL_LINKS
                      Remove links that start with a '#' like anchors.
                      Pseudo classes like p:last-child', p:first-child, etc
                      Do not delete <style></style> tags from the html
                      All wildcard selectors like '* {color: black}' will be
--remove-classes      Remove all class attributes from all elements
--strip-important     Remove '!important' for all css declarations.
--method METHOD       The type of html to output. 'html' for HTML, 'xml' for
--base-path BASE_PATH
                      The base path for all external stylsheets.
--external-style EXTERNAL_STYLES
                      The path to an external stylesheet to be loaded.
--disable-basic-attributes DISABLE_BASIC_ATTRIBUTES
                      Disable provided basic attributes (comma separated)
--disable-validation  Disable CSSParser validation of attributes and values
--pretty              Pretty-print the outputted HTML.

A basic example:

$ python -m premailer --base-url= -f newsletter.html
<head><style>.heading { color:red; }</style></head>
<body><h1 class="heading" style="color:red"><a href="">Title</a></h1></body>

The command line interface supports standard input.

$ echo '<style>.heading { color:red; }</style><h1 class="heading"><a href="/">Title</a></h1>' | python -m premailer --base-url=
<head><style>.heading { color:red; }</style></head>
<body><h1 class="heading" style="color:red"><a href="">Title</a></h1></body>

Turning relative URLs into absolute URLs

Another thing premailer can do for you is to turn relative URLs (e.g. "/some/page.html" into ""). It does this to all href and src attributes that don't have a :// part in it. For example, turning this:

<a href="/">Home</a>
<a href="page.html">Page</a>
<a href="">External</a>
<img src="/folder/">Folder</a>

Into this:

<a href="">Home</a>
<a href="">Page</a>
<a href="">External</a>
<img src="">Folder</a>

by using transform('...', base_url='').

Ignore certain <style> or <link> tags

Suppose you have a style tag that you don't want to have processed and transformed you can simply set a data attribute on the tag like:

<style>/* this gets processed */</style>
<style data-premailer="ignore">/* this gets ignored */</style>

That tag gets completely ignored except when the HTML is processed, the attribute data-premailer is removed.

It works equally for a <link> tag like:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="foo.css" data-premailer="ignore">

HTML attributes created additionally

Certain HTML attributes are also created on the HTML if the CSS contains any ones that are easily translated into HTML attributes. For example, if you have this CSS: td { background-color:#eee; } then this is transformed into style="background-color:#eee" AND as an HTML attribute bgcolor="#eee".

Having these extra attributes basically as a "back up" for really shit email clients that can't even take the style attributes. A lot of professional HTML newsletters such as Amazon's use this. You can disable some attributes in disable_basic_attributes

Running tests with tox

To run tox you don't need to have all available Python versions installed because it will only work on those you have. To use tox first install it:

pip install tox

Then simply start it with:


Donations aka. the tip jar

If you enjoy, benefit and want premailer to continue to be an actively maintained project please consider supporting me on Gratipay.


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