A quick preview of how you can create custom templates for the new email designer

We will be including many new email templates when we release the new email designer. But what if you wanted to have your own custom email template that utilizes all of the new email designer functionality?  Just like the email designer – we made this easy to do.

(If you haven’t watched our first preview video I would suggest watching that first)

When creating a custom template you need to think about 3 different things:

  1. Editable Regions = These are the regions that content can go into. Users will be able to add and move content blocks within these regions.
  2. Style Regions = These are the style regions that your users will see when they click “style options” in the campaign designer.  They can adjust the background, font, etc… on whatever region you set.  Regions can be set on any block such as a td, div, etc..
  3. Content Blocks = These are the actual blocks of content.  Think of it as your filler content.  Content blocks can be edited (or deleted) by your users.
We will have full documentation prior to release on all the options available to template designers.  Here are some notable items to be aware of though:
  • The template designer has the same capabilities of the campaign designer with adding content
  • Create any number of themes per template
  • You can enter custom CSS for each theme
  • When viewing your template you can click anywhere and quickly add CSS for what you clicked on (our CSS helper will add the proper class name for you)
  • We will auto resize all of your images based on the block that you upload or drag/drop in (although you do have the option to set a fixed size)
  • Inline styles are taken care of for you (so no need to code with inline CSS)
  • We will automatically set a lot of the mobile/responsive CSS classes required to have a mobile version of your email. You can then tweak as desired
  • You can quickly switch between design & source modes
  • We will tell you if there are any issues with your code (including the line number)
  • Full testing capabilities (send test, spam filter testing, etc..) while you edit your template


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  • Are any of the templates available from AC responsive?

    • jvandeboom

      Yes, all of our templates are responsive.

  • You can ‘Copy’ a template and then modify it to save it as a new one.

    • John Edward Huddart

      Please explain how to do this! I’ve created a single email in an automation – I used a template that I changed heavily. I would now like to clone this or save these changes to be a new templlate ( I want to send similiar e-mails using this new template)

      • John, There is not currently a way to convert campaigns into templates. The design needs to be created in the Templates section of the software under “campaigns”

        • ^^ This is REALLY frustrating. I just spent a LOT of time customizing what turned out to be a campaign and I can’t use it as a template. I also can’t export it and then import it as a template. Ugh :(

          • Hey Kimberly,
            Thanks for your honesty. If you think this is something we should change I invite you to take a look at http://feedback.activecampaign.com/ that is where your can post suggestions for our team to consider and other users can comment and vote them up.

          • EmilyLevy

            I’m in the same boat!

      • I have the same issue. Are templates not real templates? i.e.: changed made in the templates can only be applied to NEW emails, never to OLD ones?!

        • Editing a template would never edit a previously send or composed email.

          • Alright. I have heard that’s the behavior of other products as well.

            Make me smarter: why is that?

          • Till, we would never want to introduce unexpected changes to a message based on an edit elsewhere. A template is merely a starting point.

            If you think this is something that should be handled differently you can let us know at http://feedback.activecampaign.com/


  • Bob Olmstead

    This is a significant oversight that creates a lot of extra work. It also opposite of what the word “template” implies. Im new to AC and a long ways from a technical guy, but even Mail Chimp, which is not even close to the league AC is in, allows you to create and save as many true templates as you like. Workflows, at least effective ones, require not having to reinvent the wheel every time.

    • Bob this article is very old and referring to our previous designer which is no longer available. If you have questions about our template editor I would recommend shooting a message to help@activecampaign.com

      • Bob Olmstead

        I had put in a ticket and got a confusing answer, which is what led me to this thread to begin with. I did, however, get the process/solution from the forums. Active Campaign is an epic program but the knowledge base / DIY resources, which helps you all spend less time with confused newbs like me, is very lacking. For example your videos, they need a lot of work. In many of them, the person talks so fast, goes so fast, that nothing is gained from the video. Or there are videos that really have no other point than to see, check out this other video. Like I said, you all have a great product that I am very excited about, but unless automation is naturally someone’s wheelhouse, there is a lot of room for growth with regards to your support training. I offer that as feedback, nothing more.

        • Brian Gladu

          Hi Bob —

          Thank you for the feedback. We were shooting for a brisk pace thinking that people could pause the video as needed. When we redo the videos, we’ll take this feedback into account. We may also at some point post transcripts of the videos for people who prefer text instructions.

          Let me know if there anything else we can do to improve our customer support. We are listening.

  • Brian Gladu

    Agreed, Wistia does a great job.

  • Am I correct in my understanding that I can’t edit an email template or even better, create one from scratch and save it as a template? That’s pretty frustrating and a huge time waster. Will this be fixed soon? I say fixed, because from my perspective, it’s something that’s broken. I’m new to AC and loving it, but this is pretty close to a deal breaker.

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Casey —

      You can create an HTML email from scratch. I’ve created a quick video showing where to access that option: http://screen.ac/0l210k181J2D

      You can also edit a designer campaign (these are pre-built campaigns that use our drag and drop editor) and then access it from “past campaigns.” This way if you’ve edited a template just the way you like it, you can reuse it. I’ve created a gif showing where that setting is: http://screen.ac/253f2S010P24

      If you are looking for something else, let me know.

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  • Eran Malloch

    I just added my first template to AC. Now I was wondering how I can make it appear as the first email template choice rather than on page 2? That way, I don’t have to keep switching to page 2 and scrolling to the end of the list?

    • Brian Gladu

      Hi Eran — We use a pretty nuanced algorithm to display your templates. We are trying to show the most important ones first. Their ranking is affected by how recently the template was edited and how often the template is used. So, if you continue to use that template, it should work it’s way to the first page with time. Let me know if you have any other questions about this.

      • Eran Malloch

        Ah OK. Thanks Brian. At this stage I only plan to use this template so I guess it will show up first over time. ;-)