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The Handbook of Ezine Publishing

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How to Use A Template to Create Your E-Zine

E-zines are sent as plain old vanilla text files. By sending your e-zine as **text-only**, you ensure that not only can you reach the widest possible online audience, but that your audience will see your message the way you sent it.

Forget all the really cool stuff for now. You are going to send your e-zine as text: the lowest common denominator on the internet. Why? So anyone, anywhere with any e-mail program can read your message.

Since you may never have the opportunity to meet your subscribers or readers in person, your e-zine will project your image. Naturally you will want your e-zine to look good on the screen of each and every recipient.

Formatting Guidelines:

redarrow.gif (837 bytes) Use a Text Editor to create your files.

A text editor is a program that you use to create a text file.. If you are a Windows user, you can use Notepad.

If you do not have a text editor, go to download.com and search for text editors. Type "text editor" in the search box and you will get a list of available text editors - both freeware and shareware. Don't know which one to choose? Start by checking out a FREE text editor called Super NoteTab Light. You can download it at download.com. If you are looking for a text editor with all the bells and whistles, check out Textpad at textpad.com. Textpad is a shareware program. You can download a trial copy at the textpad site.

redarrow.gif (837 bytes)Use Hard Returns to end lines at 65 characters

Press the ENTER key to end each line. Do NOT rely on word-wrap functions when creating or editing your newsletter.

redarrow.gif (837 bytes)Use spaces for indentation.

Stay away from your TAB key. The length of a TAB key is set by the recipient--your TAB key might be set at 5, but your recipient's TAB might be set at 10.

redarrow.gif (837 bytes)Avoid using ALL CAPS.

If you want to highlight a word or phrase, surround the **word** in asterisks. Your readers will find it easier to understand the emphasis.

Basic Terms:

redarrow.gif (837 bytes) Line Length and Word Wrapping

There are a couple of things you need to understand to ensure that your email message looks the same on the screen of your recipients as it does on your computer screen. Because of the variety of e-mail programs available around the world, you need to make sure that your e-mail message can be read by all of them.

Two things to keep in mind are that some e-mail programs do not use word-wrap and yet others can't display more than 70 characters on the screen. To accommodate the widest range of e-mail programs, you need to restrict the length of each line in your e-zine to 65 characters and use a hard line break at the end of each line.

You can create a forced line break by pressing the ENTER key. Look at the illustration below. Limiting your line length to 65 characters and using hard line breaks will prevent most e-mail formatting problems. Without hard line breaks, your email message will wrap in places that you had not anticipated and your message might look jumbled

redarrow.gif (837 bytes) Fonts: Proportional and Fixed Width or Monospaced

When you create your e-zine in a text editor, you will use a monospaced or fixed width font for the text. Do you understand the difference?

Proportional Fonts Demo

Using a monospaced font will help you count characters accurately to  format your e-zine to the 65 character line length recommendation. Try using a 10 point Courier New font. When you create the template for your e-zine, place a grid at the top of your page to help you keep the line length at 65 characters.

12345678901234567890123456789012345678901234567890123456789012345
        10        20         30        40          50       60

Template Samples for E-zines
What's a template? A template is a predesigned page format which you use by loading the file and then adding the text. To have an e-zine template delivered directly to your email inbox, you can request it from our autoresponder at template1@e-zinez.com.

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