MailChimp's Campaign Builder allows you to use one of our templates to build beautiful email designs with ease. If you have a custom-coded template, add our template language so you can edit content from within the Campaign Builder.

Below, you'll learn the basics to design your campaign with the Campaign Builder.

In this article:

Select a Template

The template you pick will serve as the foundation for your design. All of MailChimp's available templates can be found on the Template step of the Campaign Builder. Choose from Basic, Themes, Saved Templates, Recently Sent, or Code Your Own to begin to design your campaign.

  1. Navigate to the Campaigns page.
  2. Click Create a Campaign. 
  3. On the Template step, click the Select button for the template you want to use. You can always go back later to switch templates.

Template step options

Basic

Our Basic templates make full use of the Campaign Builder's Drag and Drop Editor, so you can fully customize the layout of your campaign. Many of these templates are available in banded versions. Banded templates extend each section of the campaign to the edge of the page rather than to the email's margin.

Themes

We teamed up with some of the most talented designers on the web to bring you beautiful predesigned templates that are simple to use. 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.

Saved Templates

Saved templates include templates you uploaded on the Templates page of your account, and any campaign designs that you saved as templates for use in future campaigns. Select a template from Saved Templates, and edit the content and design how you want.

Recently Sent

Choose one of your recently sent campaigns as the starting point for a new campaign. We'll create an exact copy of the campaign's content and design, so you can edit it as needed without starting over from scratch.

Code Your Own

If you have a custom-coded template, use the Code Your Own option to paste in your code, import it from a ZIP file, or import it from a URL. Include our template language in your code to edit the design of the campaign with our Campaign Builder.

Add Your Content

Use content blocks in the Design step of the Campaign Builder to add and format text, upload images, link to files, and more. All templates show placeholder text and images to help you begin to design your campaign. Depending on the template you choose, you can add, delete, move, and replicate content blocks to create the look and feel you want.

Drag and Drop Content Blocks

Our Drag and Drop Editor allows you to duplicate, delete, and rearrange content blocks on the fly. Drag and drop a variety of content blocks into your layout and rearrange them to customize the look and feel of your campaign.

Add Content to Classic Templates

If you use one of our Classic templates from the Themes section, you can click editable content blocks in your layout to add images and text.

Edit classic template content block

Classic templates are less flexible than our Drag and drop designs, and you may not be allowed to edit or remove some content blocks. However, in many cases, you can repeat, hide, or move content blocks in Classic templates.

Add Text

The best way to add text to your campaign is to type it directly into the content block editing pane. If you prefer to work outside of the Campaign Builder, copy and paste your content from a simple text editor, like Notepad or TextWrangler. Rich-text word-processing programs, like Word or Publisher, add styling code to the text that can prevent your ability to style content in the Campaign Builder.

If you want to copy content from a rich-text editor, website, or email program, click the Paste as plain text or Paste from Rich Text Editor icon on the editor toolbar to add your text.

Click the Paste as Plain Text option to paste in you content and strip out any hidden styles.

If content has already been added to your campaign and you didn't use the Paste as plain text or Paste from Rich Text Editor icons, or if content doesn't update when you apply styling to your text, then you likely need to clear styles.

Clear Styles

Clear styles to remove any conflicting formatting or styles that were brought in when you added content. The Clear Styles icon only removes the formatting that's been applied to your text and does not remove the text itself. Below, you'll learn how to clear styles from your content.

  1. Click the content block you want to edit.
    Click the edit button to edit the content block.
  2. On the Content tab, highlight the text you want to change.
  3. Click the Clear Styles icon on the editor toolbar.
    Highlight text and click Clear Styles to remove styling from your content.

Edit Styles

Styles and settings for your campaign design can be applied from a few different places on the Design step of the Campaign Builder. Keep the following hierarchy of design editing in mind, so changes made in one area of the Campaign Builder do not override changes you want to make elsewhere.

1. Apply Settings to Sections of the Template

Every template is divided into different sections, including the preheader, body, and footer. Within these sections are your content blocks. When style settings are applied to a section, they are also applied to all content blocks in that section.

2. Set Preferences for Each Content Block

If you want one of your content blocks to have different styling from other content blocks in its section, set preferences on the  Style and  Settings tabs for the content block to customize the look of the content block. Classic templates don't have Style and Settings tabs, so you will need to make edits using the editor toolbar.

3. Use the Editor Toolbar

Use the editor toolbar in each content block to fine-tune the styling on a line-by-line basis.

Note

Once you're comfortable with the basics of designing a campaign, check out our Email Design Guide for more tips on designing for email marketing.

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