How to Create a Professional Newsletter in
HTML - Using Outlook Express.
You don’t need to buy a program like FrontPage just
to create an attractive HTML newsletter.
All you need is some basic code to paste into Outlook
Express, and instructions on how to change the
colours and fonts.
Here are those instructions.
This ‘how to’ guide is brought to you by Writing for Success.
If you had this document forwarded to you by a friend, you can download the
original AND the basic HTML code for the newsletter (you need this!) from our
website at www.Writing4SuccessClub.com
Here is the direct link to the download page for this PDF guide and the
Visit our other sites for writing info and ‘how to’ advice:
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How To Create a Professional-Looking Newsletter in HTML
By creating a newsletter you can stay in touch with your clients or fan base very easily.
What you may not have realised is how easy it is to create a professional-looking
newsletter in good old Outlook Express. You can also create a short mini-course and
send it out from your own email program, if you have less than 50 people on your
(if you want to send it out to more than 50 people, I recommend that you use an
Autoresponder Service. Aweber are very professional, and will protect you from
accusations of spam. Find out more about their service here: www.mrm.aweber.com)
1. Don’t Bother With Graphics… Use Colour and Font Size/Style for Effect
Graphics take up memory and take longer to download. It’s just as easy to create a
nice-looking newsletter by using coloured panels and font for accents.
Here’s an example. The newsletter you see below is the first email sent out in a mini-
course on Ghostwriting. (I use Aweber to send out this mini-course on Ghostwriting
automatically. If you want to see how an autoresponder service works, subscribe to
this course (it’s free) by sending a blank email to: email@example.com. You will
receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription. Once you do that, you will
receive the first lesson immediately. Thereafter, you will be automatically be sent one
lesson a day until it’s finished. Aweber takes care of all that for me!)
I’m going to provide you with a similar template for your own newsletters, and show
you how to change the colours to suit your own preferences. You can create as many
newsletters as you like, using different colour schemes for different newsletters or mini-
Here’s how you do it.
1. Your Basic Template
Your basic newsletter template looks like this.
The template has a blue title bar and footer, with orange text for the title of your
newsletter. The subtitle and copyright information on the footer are in white (font=
The text in the body of the newsletter is Verdana 10pt text.
The background (behind the newsletter) is grey.
· You can change the text to any font you like.
· You can also change the information about the Issue Number and Date to
anything you like.
· You can change the colours to anything you like.
2. Go to this website URL:
Here you will find a really useful colour scheme generator. Play around until you find
colour combinations you like for your newsletter header panel, text and background.
1. You will see a colour wheel, with warm colours on the top and right hand
side, and cool colours on the bottom and left hand side. When you click on any
colour here, it is reproduced in the box to the right.
2. Below the colour wheel you will see five boxes. Click on these to see
different effects in the box on the right hand side. Your choices are Mono,
Contrast, Triad, Tetrad and Analogic. (Don’t worry about what these mean. Just
play around until you find colour combinations you like.)
3. To the right of the box you will see the CODE that represents the colours
in the box. This is the code you need to type into your newsletter to get the
colour you want. (Note: there is a little checkbox above the colour sample box.
DO check this so you end up with ‘web safe’ colours.) You can get variations of
the colours by clicking the ‘up’ or ‘down’ arrows beside the colour names.
4. Finally, underneath the box, you will see six more buttons. Try clicking
these to see what happens to the colours. The default is for bright colours, but
you can choose pastel, dark pastel, light pastel, contrast or pale.
Now, MINIMIZE your Internet Browser window (click on the ‘minus’ sign at the top
right hand corner of the screen). The browser will still be open. You can bring it back
up whenever you like to get the colour code. The icon for the browser will be in the
task bar at the very bottom of your screen.
3. Applying Your Colour Choice to the Basic Template in Outlook Express.
Open the text file for your newsletter template. It doesn’t look a bit like the template
you saw on the previous page! Instead, you will see a whole lot of HTML code (shown
below). Don’t worry. You don’t have to do much with this, apart from typing in a few
letters to get the colour you want. It’s all very easy!
Minimize your text editor containing the HTML code for the newsletter.
Now open Outlook Express.
** You should now have 3 programs open – your Internet Browser, your text editor
(e.g. Windows Notepad) and Outlook Express. Two of them will be minimized to the
task bar at the bottom.) ***
In Outlook Express, click on ‘New Message’.
You will probably find that currently, you do not have your ‘new message’ window set
up so you can edit the SOURCE CODE (which is the HTML code).
To be able to do this, you need to click on “View” in the New Message window, then
click on “Source Edit”.
Three new tabs will appear at the bottom of your ‘New Message’ window: (1) “Edit”;
(2) “Source” and (3) “Preview”.
Now Click on the “Source” tab.
You will see some HTML code there already. You don’t need this, so do this: Place your
cursor somewhere in the code, then RIGHT CLICK (click your right mouse button) and
choose ‘Select All’. Then hit the “Delete” key on your keyboard.
Go the task bar (at the very bottom of your screen) and click on Notepad (or whichever
text editor you have used to open the newsletter template code.) Place your cursor
anywhere in the text and click the RIGHT mouse button. Click “Select All”.
The selected text will become highlighted.
Now, RIGHT CLICK again and choose ‘copy’. (If the text goes white again you may
have accidentally clicked the left mouse button. That’s OK. Just RIGHT CLICK again and
choose ‘select all’, and when you see that the text is highlighted, right click then choose
When you click ‘copy’, all the HTML code is copied to the Windows Clipboard, ready to
paste into Outlook Express.
Next Step: Go back to Outlook Express. (If you can’t see the window, look on the
Task Bar at the bottom of the screen.)
You should still be in the Source Code View. The pane should now be empty,
because you deleted all the original HTML.
Place your cursor anywhere in the empty pane and click “Paste”.
Hey Presto! All that HTML code that you just copied from the text editor (NotePad)
appears in the source view of Outlook Express.
Now click the “Edit” tab on the bottom of your ‘new message’ window…
… and you will see your template!
You can now edit the title and fill in text in any way you choose.
But supposing you want to change the colour of the title bar and the text?
Well, the text is easy. If you need only a limited range of colours, you simply select the
title text (highlight it) and click on the font icon (the “A”) on the toolbar. Then choose
the colour you want from the box that pops up.
This is the range of colours you have in Outlook Express:
As you can see, you don’t have a wide choice.
This, however, may be enough for you.
If you would like more choice, you can get it from
the colour wheel at the internet address I
provided you with earlier.
Here’s how you can change the colours of your newsletter by substituting different
colour codes in the SOURCE CODE.
FIRST, work out what colours you want in your newsletter.
I’m going to go with the colours that I’ve found on the colour wheel. I’ll choose a
purple background for the title PANEL at the top of the newsletter, and I’ll use the
greeny-yellow contrast for the title TEXT. And… I think I’ll opt for the pale yellow
background to go BEHIND the newsletter.
What I need to do is make a note of the HTML codes for each of these colours. They
#FFFCC (pale yellow)
Now all I have to do is put them in the right place in the HTML code.
Next Step: Go to Outlook Express and your “New Message” pane that has the original
template. Click on the SOURCE tab at the bottom of the “New Message” window.
In the illustration below, I have highlighted the HTML code that tells your newsletter
what colours to use.
All you have to do is to SUBSTITUTE the codes for the colours you want. Since I’m
using a dark colour (purple) for the top panel, I’m going to keep white for the subtitle,
so I don’t need to change No. 4. (The code for WHITE is #ffffff.)
This is what I am going to change.
· For the background colour BEHIND the newsletter, I am going to substitute pale
yellow (#FFFFCC) for the current grey colour (#c0c0c0)
· For the panel at the top, I am going to substitute purple (#660099) for the
current blue colour (#003399).
· I am going to substitute green (#CCCC00) for the current orange colour
NOTE: If you want your FOOTER panel at the bottom of the newsletter to be the same
colour as the top – and I imagine you would!) then you will need to change the ‘blue’
code to ‘purple’ in the HTML there, too. It is easy to find… the HTML code tells you that
it is “bgColor” for ‘background’.
When I’ve done finished, my new HTML code looks like this:
I have made four substitutions.
Next Step: Click on the EDIT tab at the bottom of your “New Message” window.
Ta-da! You can now see your newsletter in its new colours – including the pale yellow
background behind the newsletter.
And if you want to change the font… that’s easy, too…
First, highlight your title. Then just click on the arrow next to the font window on the
toolbar and choose your font. For this exercise, I’ll choose ‘Lucida Calligraphy’. I’ll also
change the size from 24 pt to 36pt, since this is not as bold as the previous font.
Here is our newsletter with the new font.
Tip: Stick to fonts that are on most computers. If you choose something that you’ve
downloaded from the web and your subscribers don’t have that font on their
computers, then they won’t be able to see it anyway. It will default to a common font…
and you might find that the size is all wrong.
That’s it! As you see, it’s easy to create a newsletter in colours and styles that you like
in a program that is on most computers… Outlook Express.
FINAL TIP: When you have created the template for your newsletters, go back into
the SOURCE VIEW in Outlook Express. Right-click and ‘select all’, then SAVE your code
under a name you’ll be able to find easily. (e.g. Newsletter HMTL code). Then, when
you want to use it again, all you have to do is paste it into the SOURCE view of Outlook
Express to create the latest edition of your newsletter… and add your content!