Since its launch in 2004, Gmail has evolved significantly, becoming a common tool for many people and businesses. Despite these advancements, the platform's WYSIWYG editor may not meet the needs of users who want to send HTML emails. To create sophisticated emails with company branding, intricate formatting, and style, users need to employ HTML and CSS.

The problem

Creating an HTML email in Gmail can be challenging due to the following reasons:

  1. Limited functionality: Gmail's built-in WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor is designed for creating and editing simple emails without requiring any coding knowledge. It lacks the advanced features needed to create and manage complex HTML layouts and styles.
  2. No built-in HTML editor: Gmail does not provide a native HTML editor, which means users must resort to workarounds like copying and pasting rendered HTML, using Chrome's Developer Tools, or installing browser extensions to create HTML emails.
  3. Incompatibility with external stylesheets: Gmail does not support external stylesheets, which means you must use inline or embedded CSS for styling. This can make managing styles more cumbersome and time-consuming.
  4. Restricted font options: Gmail does not support web fonts, limiting users to a small set of email-safe fonts for their HTML emails.
  5. Rendering inconsistencies: Different email clients have varying levels of support for HTML and CSS features. As a result, an HTML email that looks perfect in one email client might not appear the same way in another, including Gmail. Therefore, users must test their emails thoroughly to ensure consistent rendering across different email clients.
  6. Online image hosting: Images within HTML emails need to be hosted online and accessible via a URL. This requires users to find an image hosting service to store and reference the images within their emails.

These challenges make creating HTML emails in Gmail less straightforward and more time-consuming than using an HTML email builder or a specialized email service provider that offers built-in support for creating and sending HTML emails.

Crafting an HTML Email in Gmail

Method 1: Copying and Pasting Rendered HTML

One way to create HTML emails in gmail is to copy and paste HTML you have created.

  1. Compose your HTML code and save it as a .html file in plain text format.
  2. Open the .html file in a web browser to ensure it is displayed correctly.
  3. Copy the rendered webpage and paste it into the Gmail compose window.


  • Simple to implement: This method only requires copying the rendered HTML content from a web browser and pasting it into the Gmail compose window.
  • No browser-specific constraints: This method works across different web browsers, not just Chrome.


  • Manual process: Users need to create, save, and render the HTML file separately before copying the rendered content.
  • Possible formatting issues: Pasting the rendered HTML content into the Gmail compose window may sometimes lead to formatting inconsistencies.

Method 2: Utilizing Chrome's Developer Tools

  1. Write your HTML code and save the file.
  2. In Gmail, click "Compose," right-click the window, and choose "Inspect."
  3. Find the div element with "contenteditable=true," right-click, and select "Edit as HTML."
  4. Replace the existing code within the div element with your custom HTML code.
  5. Close the Developer Tools, and your email should now display the rendered HTML content.


  • Direct editing: This method allows users to edit the source code of the Gmail compose window directly, providing more control over the email content.
  • No need for extensions: Users don't need to install additional extensions or tools to create HTML emails.


  • Browser-specific: This method is limited to the Chrome web browser. Technical knowledge required: Users must be familiar with HTML, CSS, and Chrome's Developer Tools to utilize this method effectively.
  • More complex: This method involves several steps, including inspecting elements and editing the HTML source code directly.

Method 3: Employing Chrome Extensions

Install a Chrome extension like Free HTML Editor for Gmail by cloudHQ or Send Mass Mail + HTML inserter for Gmail. These user-friendly extensions offer an accessible approach to create and embed HTML content in Gmail emails.


  • User-friendly: Chrome extensions provide an easier and more intuitive interface for creating and editing HTML emails.
  • Additional features: Some extensions offer extra features, such as mass email sending and HTML templates.


  • Browser-specific: This method is limited to the Chrome web browser.
  • Reliance on third-party extensions: Users need to install and trust third-party extensions to create HTML emails, which may pose privacy or security concerns.

Choosing a method

Copying and pasting rendered HTML is a simple method that works across different browsers but may have formatting issues. Using Chrome's Developer Tools provides more control but requires technical knowledge and is limited to Chrome. Employing Chrome Extensions offers a user-friendly experience with additional features, but users must rely on third-party tools and are limited to the Chrome browser. Choosing the best method depends on the user's comfort level with HTML, CSS, and their preferred web browser.

Considerations for Crafting HTML Emails

  • Ensure that images are hosted online and publicly accessible.
  • Use embedded CSS or inline styles rather than external style sheets, as Gmail does not support them.
  • Opt for email-safe fonts, as web fonts are not supported by Gmail.

HTML Email Editors versus Hand Coding

Using an HTML email editor provides advantages such as customizable pre-built templates, compatibility with a variety of email clients, and integrated code editors. These tools help you avoid potential rendering issues that may arise when coding emails from scratch.

Testing Your HTML Emails

It is essential to test your HTML emails with tools like Mailtrap Email Sandbox to identify and resolve rendering issues before your recipients encounter them. This tool offers features such as email previewing, HTML/CSS analysis, and responsiveness testing across different device screen sizes.

In Conclusion

Creating and sending an HTML email via Gmail is not a challenging task. Select a method for inserting your HTML code into the email, test it thoroughly, and it should appear as intended in the recipient's inbox.