When you create a campaign using MailChimp's Campaign Builder, you can use our Basic templates or predesigned Themes to build beautiful, mobile-friendly email designs with ease. Below we walk you through how to select a template, add elements, and create the look you want.

In this article:

Select a template

All of MailChimp's available templates can be found on the Template step of the Campaign Builder. On this step, chose from the Basic, Themes, Saved Templates, Recently Sent, or Code Your Own options to begin designing your email.

Template step options

Basic templates

After selecting Basic, choose one of the available template layouts to get started. We offer many layouts, many of which are available in banded versions. Our basic templates make full use of the Campaign Builder's drag and drop Email Designer, allowing you to fully customize the look and layout of your campaign.

If you're creating an RSS-Driven campaign, you'll see three templates to choose from: the RSS basic, RSS right sidebar, and RSS left sidebar. Select one of these options if you'd like a template that contains RSS content blocks.


If you want to select a design that makes it easy to plug in your content, take a look at our predesigned Themes options. We teamed up with some of the most talented designers on the web to bring you beautiful templates that are simple to use. You don't have to know anything about design or programming to get started. Our templates offer a number of categories to choose from including Newsletters, Holiday, Sports, Coupons, Music, and more!

Themes templates come in two varieties: drag and drop and classic. Classic templates are legacy layouts carried over from our previous email editor and are less flexible than our drag and drop templates, with only their content and colors as editable options within the Email Designer.

Add your content

In each of the templates you can use content blocks to add and format text, upload images, link to files, and further tailor the layout for maximum flexibility and personalization using the editor toolbar. For more tips on editing content take a look at this article

Drag and drop content blocks

Use the Email Designer to duplicate, delete, and rearrange content and image blocks on the fly. Drag and drop content blocks into your layout to customize the look and feel of your campaign. There are several different content blocks you can mix and match to create a completely unique look for your email:

  • Text
  • Boxed Text
  • Divider
  • Image
  • Image Group
  • Image Card
  • Image + Caption
  • Social Share
  • Social Follow
  • Button
  • Footer

Email Designer

If you're creating an RSS-Driven Campaign you'll also see the option for content blocks that allow you to add an RSS Header and RSS Items to your campaign.

RSS content blocks

Moving content blocks

Content blocks can be dragged vertically or horizontally within the template to mix up the layout and the design. To move blocks, click and hold the drag handle in the top left of the content block, then move it wherever you'd like it to go.

When moving content blocks, MailChimp overlays your campaign with section labels, such as preheader, header, body, column, and footer. The section label highlights to blue when you move a content block into its section, making it clear where in the layout you're dropping the block into. Blocks moved into a different section take on any style preferences you've chosen in the settings for that section of the campaign.

Adding content to classic templates

If you're using one of our classic templates from the Themes section, you can add images and text by clicking editable content blocks in your layout.

Edit classic template content block

Edit styles

When you design a campaign in MailChimp, you can use the style options under the Design tab to apply global styles to your email design. The Design tab allows you to set text and link styles as well as add background colors to your campaign. Below we go over how to edit styles when using Basic templates or Themes.

Basic templates and Themes

The Design tab is where you style the campaign with colors and other details to make your campaign stand out to readers.

  1. Navigate to the Design step of the Campaign Builder.
  2. Select the Design option on the right-hand side of the page.
    Select Design tab
  3. Open the section of your campaign that you want to edit.
    Select section

Use the different sections of the Design tab to control the look and feel of your campaign:

  • Page Control the design of the page by setting the Background Style, adding or adjusting borders, and setting text styles for the different headings.
  • Preheader Control the background color, border style, text and link styles for the Preheader section of the campaign.
  • Header Control the background color, border style, text and link styles for the Header section of the campaign.
  • Body Control the background color, border style, text and link styles for the Body section of the campaign.
  • Footer Control the background color, border style, text and link styles for the Footer section of the campaign.
  • Mobile Styles Adjust the Mobile Styles to control how your campaign appears for subscribers using mobile devices to check their email.
  • Monkey Rewards Turn the Monkey Rewards badge on and off or select a different badge type to display in your campaign.

Some of our predesigned Themes are limited in the styling options they offer. These were created with specific designs in mind, so controls are more limited. If you'd like that additional flexibility you can select a Basic drag and drop template.

Clear formatting

If you're applying formatting or styles to your text, but your content isn't updating to match, there may be some conflicting styles hidden in the source of your content. Conflicting styles often make their way into campaigns when content is copied and pasted from an outside source such as a web page or word processing program. To get rid of any conflicting formatting or styles, follow the steps below to remove or clear formatting from your content.

  1. Click the content box you'd like to edit.
    Edit content
  2. On the Content tab, highlight the text you want to change. If you need to clear formatting for the entire content block, you can use the select-all option in your web browser to highlight all of the text.
  3. Click the Clear Formatting eraser icon on the editor toolbar.
    Clear styles tool

The Clear Formatting tool only removes the formatting that's been applied to your text, it does not remove the text itself. However, if you've copied your content from Word, clearing styles may not remove extra formatting that Word can produce. For more information on how to clean up content that's been copied from Word, have a look at this article.


  • Adding a background image to your campaign is not possible when using our WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. Some email programs cannot render the HTML necessary to show the background image and this can ruin the overall design of the email. Take a look at this blog post for more information. If you really want to try to add a background image to a template, enlist the help of your developer to make that happen.
  • Emails sent from a free account are required to include the rewards badge in the email footer. When an account moves to one of our paid plans: monthly or pay-as-you-go, the MonkeyRewards badge is removed automatically.

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