How to send a nicely formatted email in Apple Mail

Normally an email is just text.  You can add attachments to an email, and you can insert pictures, but how would you send an email that has pictures, a background, and text mixed and laid out nicely like this:

There are a couple of solutions.

Solution 1. Make and send a pdf.

Pdf stands for ‘portable document format’ and in a pdf file all the fonts, images and text are included in the pdf itself so that whatever computer you view it on, it looks the same.  So a very simple way to make a formatted email that looks nice and that anyone can read is to make a pdf and send the pdf.

Advantage: it looks great and ou know exactly what it will look like to the other person.

Disadvantage: the user can’t copy text out of the email, search for the email at a later date using a phrase from within the email, or edit your message.

How to do it:

1. Create your email in Keynote. (Keynote is an application available form the App store.)  You can include any fonts, any images from iphoto, you can put frames, boxes, backgrounds etc. You can set a custom size you want your slide to be in the inspector. (720×1000 gives a good size for an email.)

2. When you are finished choose ‘File’ and ‘Print’. In the bottom left select ‘pdf’ then ‘mail pdf’. Your pdf version of keynote will appear in mail!

3. Press ‘send’!  This will send what you made in keynote. It sends as a pdf (so people on the other end don’t need keynote to see it) and it will be readable on a mac or PC.

Hint: To make it easier for the person to reply you may wish to include some text after the pdf in the email that summarises the email. You could even copy the text from keynote and paste it in the email after the pdf.


(1) Solution 2. Create a html email.

The more traditional way to do this is to do it via html. It’s a bit tricky though. Perhaps the simplest way on a Mac is to create a single webpage in iWeb (another App), publish it, then insert it into an email.  To do this you:

(1) Create a site in iweb which will be your email.

(2) Publish the site.

(3) Open the site in Safari.

(4) In the Safari in the ‘file’ menu click ‘share’ then ’email this page’. The page will be inserted into your email.

You need to keep the webpage published, because the images are not included in the email, only a link to the pictures is included. You can ‘publish’ to a  folder on your computer instead of the web but the pictures will not work unless they are from the web.  This solution is out of reach of most people, so I’d suggest solution 1 – make a pdf!




7 responses to “How to send a nicely formatted email in Apple Mail”

  1. Saori

    I created a website using web page template and published it. It looks great. Then I wanted to share one page by email. I opened in Safari, clicked on “Share via Email”, then sent it to myself for a test. It seems to be working fine when I receive the email in my Mac Mail but the content doesn’t show in iPhone or iPad. Do you know why? Do you know how to make sure that the content shows in all devices?

  2. Jos

    I made a old school webpage, inline css, table, html 4, css2, with a body-background ( Cmd-I in Safari (8.0.2, OS 10.10.1)
    NO background in the new mail, neither in the test send mail.
    Do you know how come? I used to have a background color last year … :-(
    happy new year to you. grtz Jos

    1. Feike

      Hi Jos, background images are not possible in emails, only background colors.

  3. Martin Baugh

    Hi, thanks for instructions above, i used solution 1.
    I am new to a Mac as i have only used PC’s in past.
    Your instructions worked fine, the only thing i would add [for new Mac users learning the ropes] is to make a comment regarding Keynote.
    I did not know what it was, i have now downloaded it, crash self taught lesson and it worked.
    In other words indicate that it is a program for Macs and requires it to be installed prior to your solution 1.
    Thanks again.

  4. I’ve managed to do option 2 on my site and publish but hiding the page in my site but now I’m stumped as i don’t want the page to be seen and can’t share to email without preventing this being made public-is there a way,am i missing something?
    Also when you say publish to a folder on your computer,how do i do this and is this a way around the page being seen on my site?
    thanks for any help you might have.

    1. No this is exactly what it means. It’s a bit of a dud yes I know! Useful for doing public emails e.g. mail lists but not really for private emails.

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