MailChimp offers several ways to preview a campaign before it's sent. Because different email programs will display your HTML email differently, it's always best to thoroughly test your campaign both in the app's preview mode and in test emails sent to a variety of email clients.

Once you've got an email layout that works for you, and you've sent to your list a few times, testing time goes down for each subsequent campaign. But for your first few campaigns, it's a good idea to give yourself about an hour for testing. Below, we go over some testing tips and walk you through how to send a test.

In this article:

Enter preview mode

The Preview and Test menu is available from the Design and Confirm steps for most campaign types. If you're building a Plain-Text Campaign, you'll see Preview and Test on the Confirm step only.

To preview your campaign in the Campaign Builder, follow the steps below.

  1. Click the Preview and Test drop-down menu in the top right corner.
  2. Select Enter Preview Mode to open a preview of the campaign.
  3. The left side of the screen shows a preview of the email as it should display in a desktop computer environment. The right side of the screen shows a preview of how the campaign should appear on mobile devices. You can click the Rotate link to change the orientation of the mobile preview.
  4. Click the View header info button at the top of the screen to expand the header information for this campaign, like the subject line and reply-to email address.
    Header info
  5. Click View Live Merge Info button, then use the left and right arrows to test your merge tags with your subscriber information.
    Header info merge

A preview can also be accessed from the Campaigns page. Click on the drop-down menu next to the campaign you're working with, and click View email.
View email

When testing your campaign, use MailChimp's Link Checker on the Design step of the Campaign Builder to make sure all the links in your campaign are valid and take your subscribers exactly where you want them to go.

alt="View email"

  1. Click the Preview and Test drop-down menu in the top right corner.
  2. Choose Open Link Checker from the drop-down menu options.

    Link checker option

    On the left, we show a campaign preview. On the right, we list all the links in your campaign.

    Link checker window

  3. Click a link in the right pane to open its Link Details.

    Link details

The Link Details pane will show you the URL the link points to, display a screenshot of what the website looks like, and also tell you whether the URL is valid. MailChimp cannot preview links containing merge tags, anchors, or mailto addresses in the Link Details pane.

If you need to change the URL the link points to, click the Edit link option under the URL in the Link Details screen.
Link details

Make any changes to the link you need to, then click the Save button.

To navigate between checked links, you can either use your mouse or use keyboard shortcuts. Use your left and right arrow keys to move up and down the list, and "e" to edit a link.


Link Checker is currently not available for Code Your Own template options, including Paste in code, Import Zip, and Import HTML. If using a Code Your Own template, you will want to thoroughly test your email to make sure all links are correct.

Link Checker also isn't available when creating a template in the Templates page of your account.

Customize Social Cards

Some social networks display a social card when your campaign is shared. This social card shows an image from your campaign along with some text to encourage viewers to click the link to your campaign's archive page.

When testing your campaign, you can choose the featured image and text as well as preview the social card. Select Social Cards from the Preview and Test drop-down menu on the Design or Confirm step of the Campaign Builder, and make any changes you want. Customizing Social Cards is especially useful when you want to control what is displayed when your campaign is shared to Facebook and Twitter, or in Google's grid view.


The Social Cards feature isn't available when creating a template in the Templates page of your account.

Send a test email

Use the Preview and Test drop-down menu on the Design, Plain-Text, and Confirm steps of the Campaign Builder and select the Send a Test Email option to send a test copy of the email to yourself or others.

When you choose the Send a Test Email option, fill in the email address where you want to send the test. You also have the option to copy other users in your account on the test send. Simply use the checkboxes to note which account users you want to include.
Select account users

If someone replies to a test email sent from the Email Designer, their reply will show up in the Comments tab. You can include optional instructions and a personal message, then use the checkboxes to select which account users will be notified of new comments.
Send personal message

For more testing tips, take a look at this article.

Test limits

Monthly and Pay As You Go accounts

For all paid accounts you can send tests to 20 email addresses at a time and you can send 70 tests per campaign or 200 tests per account per day, whichever comes first.

Forever Free accounts

For free accounts you can send tests to 6 email addresses at a time and you can send 12 tests per campaign or 24 tests per account per day, whichever comes first.

Additional testing options

If you're on a free account and need to send more tests than the limit allows for, you should start a test list. Just create a new list, call it "Test List," and import your testing email addresses. You can test merge tags with your test list, too.

You can also use our Inbox Inspector feature to test your campaigns in more than 30 different email clients and spam filters. Monthly paid accounts include Inbox Inspections; inspections may be purchased in free and Pay As You Go accounts.

What to do next

  • You can send your campaign or schedule it to be distributed later.
  • If you've sent your campaign, it's time to view stats for it.

This feature is accessible by users with Manager level or higher permissions. Take a look at this article to learn more about the different access levels for a MailChimp account.


On the Pay As You Go and our Forever Free plans, MailChimp deducts one credit for each recipient you send an email to, whether it's a test campaign or a live campaign.

When you use the Send a Test Email option, the merge tags won't be activated because your campaign isn't being sent to a list just yet. Take a look at this article for more information on testing merge tags.

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