Making E-Mail Blasts from InDesign Documents
Up until now, I’ve just been doing basic graphic design work, but today I was asked to create an email blaster. I was wondering if there’s a way to design something in InDesign, and embed it inside an email (not as an attachment) so that when people open the email, the content will be displayed on-screen.
I’m not sure why, but we’ve suddenly gotten several emails from people on this same topic. Spam must be in the spring air. InDesign CS2 does not have any good way to export documents as HTML. (Admittedly, it does have Package for GoLive, otherwise known as the “come on, give me a break” feature. I will not grant it the benefit of even another sentence here. Update: In later versions this is File > Export for > Dreamweaver.) But that’s okay, because you probably don’t want HTML anyway. You probably want a picture. A big picture of the whole page. And the good news is that InDesign can give that to you by way of its JPEG export feature.
To get a JPEG out of InDesign, choose File > Export and pick JPEG from the Format popup menu. When you click OK, InDesign will ask you for a quality setting. If you want to send this JPEG in the email, then pick Medium quality or so. However, instead, I suggest choosing Maximum quality, then immediately opening the file in ImageReady, Fireworks, or Photoshop. Those apps have much better tools for exporting images suitable for the Web and HTML-based email, including image slicing.
If you do use slicing, you’ll end up with a bunch of images plus some HTML. Otherwise, you can export your result as PNG or GIF or whatever.
Now, as to how to actually send those files in an e-mail… well, I’m at a loss. Some email clients allow you to include images in outgoing emails (in the body, not as attachments), and some clearly do not. Some HTML I receive has images in the email itself, and some incoming email just contains links to images that are elsewhere on the Web (so my email reader would have to download them to view the image). Unfortunately, not only do I not send this kind of stuff to other people (I’m an ASCII kind of guy), I have graphics turned off in my email client so that I don’t see it unless I specifically tell it to display images. Perhaps some of our readers can suggest good methods for sending this kind of email to others.