PI8 IncrediMail Letter Styles
My kids told me about this email program that totally captivated them. Ever seen email like in the movies? Incredimail is an exciting free email program that makes it easy to send email letters with backgrounds, images, animations, sounds, fun notifiers, and 3D effects.
If you buy IncrediMail Premium, you can delete email directly off the server
without having to download it and waste your time on stuff you don't want
or that might give you a virus, get your shortest emails first and get rid
of advertisements associated with the free version. These features alone convinced
me to upgrade and to become an affiliate.
There are plenty of free "letter styles" available online from IncrediMail. There are tons more made by IncrediMail users, but a good many of them appear to be made from copyrighted artwork. Not good if you are a conscientious netizen. So why not make your own? It's fun to make original letter styles and share them with others, but to do so you must buy IncrediMail's Letter Creator. I've used my "Girlie Stuff" objects and Letter Creator to make the letter style shown above.
I had in mind for this letter style a tiling background image (right click and save below) with an image on the left and a small graphic at the bottom that links to my own original letter styles which you can find here.
Open up the "Girlie Stuff" objects in the work space. Hit Ctrl+D to duplicate the objects and close out the original. I've resized the hatboxes smaller and moved other objects around to make a compact graphic for the left side of the letter. Right click, Select All Objects, then right click and Merge as Single Object. Add a small shadow if desired.
In general, it's good to keep a left side graphic less than 300 pixels high. If your graphic is much taller than that, it may not show up in its entirety in a brief email. You can resize a graphic's width and height by choosing Format, Image Size to edit its size in pixels, if necessary.
Since I want this graphic to show up over the rosebud background, I've saved it as a transparent GIF. To do so, do not merge the object with the background. The object should be active. Choose Web, Image Optimizer (or hit F4) and you'll see an "Image to Optimize" box. Leave the default of "Selected objects" and click OK.
When the Image Optizer opens, select GIF. Select "Transparency" (circled below). As soon as you select Transparency, you'll see the gray and white checkerboard pattern denoting a transparent background in the right preview pane.
Since the background I'm using is mostly white, I didn't tweak the transparency at all in the Mask Options tab (if you are unfamiliar with how the Mask Options can help optimize transparency, you may find this PI8 Basic helpful). Save the transparent GIF to a folder on your hard drive. I have a special folder for my Incredimail images, so it's easy to find them when I need them.
Next, I've copied the purse object and pasted it into a new base image. I've resized it smaller and added a Text object to my Incredimail letter styles page. I selected both objects and merged them together as a single object, then added a shadow.
To save this graphic as a transparent GIF, choose Web, Image Optimizer (F4) again. Once more, choose to save the selected object. Save it as a transparent GIF to the same folder to which you saved the left side graphic.
Now comes the fun part of making your own IncrediMail letter style. Open the Letter Creator. A new, untitled letter style will open. On the right side, you'll see what it looks like with all of the default settings. On the left side are tabs from which you can edit the parameters of the letter style.
I'm not going into detail about what each of the Letter Creator tabs does in this tutorial. I'm working on a more detailed explanation which will be available soon. I will just show you how to use the graphics I've made in this tutorial in a letter style with a rosebud background, a love letters graphic on the left and a small signature graphic at the bottom with a link to my site.
Start with the Body tab. Under "Background," click "Image." Browse to and select the rosebud background image. Click "Tile" to tile the background image. Select a different font and font size, if desired. Note that you can change font color and link color by clicking the appropriate icon, or you can edit color by clicking Sample to sample a color from the graphics in the letter. I'm going to go back to edit the Link Color after I add the side graphic. You can edit the Signature color (if you're using one) and the margins from the Background tab too.
Click the Left tab to add the left side graphic. Under "Left Content and Layout," select "Image." Browse to and select the left side graphic. Click "Top" to align the graphic with the top of the letter. You'll see a representation of the graphic in the box below.
On the right side of the Letter Creator, you'll see a representation of what the actual letter will look like with some default text over it. Note that the text will be bumped over to the right automatically, so it doesn't appear over the left side graphic.
To add the small signature graphic to the bottom of the letter, click the Footer tab. Under "Footer Content and Layout" select "Image" (circled). Browse to and select the footer image. In the white preview area, select the graphic. It will have a bounding box around it. Click the middle layout icon (circled) to position the graphic at the center bottom of the letter.
To create a link from the graphic, make sure it is selected. Then click the Link icon under "Footer Content and Layout." Doing so will open the Hyperlink box. By default, an "http" link Type is selected, but you can select a "mailto" link or other types of links too. Type in the URL for the link and click OK.
On the left side, you'll see that the graphic is surrounded by a blue box. This blue box tells you that a link has been created.
In addition, if you position your cursor over the graphic on the right side preview, the cursor will turn into a pointing finger, which tells you that you've created a link to a graphic.
Remember, we still haven't customized the link color. To do so, click the Body tab again. Under "Text," next to the Link Color icon click "Sample." Immediately a palette of colors will open. You can select a color from these color squares, or click on the right side preview to select a link color from the letter's graphics.
I've clicked on one of the rosebuds in the left side graphic to make my links that color. You will see this change reflected in the right side preview (arrow below).
Click the 3D Effects tab to choose effects for each event: Send, Receive, Next, Previous and Delete. Select an effect to preview it on the right side of the Letter Creator. If you like it, click the blue button next to the event. Many people just go with the defaults, but it's fun to choose 3D Effects consistent with the letter's theme. Only other IncrediMail users will see these 3D Effects, however.
Finally, click the Finish tab to name and save the letter style. I'm calling mine "Love Letters" and saving it to "My Collection," a category IncrediMail creates automatically for your original letters. Enter "Credits" information if you wish to include these with your letter.
When you're satisfied with your letter, click the "Add To IncrediMail" button. This will save the letter to "My Collection." This letter style will be saved with the .IMF file extension. It can be shared with other IncrediMail users. Upload it to your server and create a link from one of your web site's pages to the .IMF file. When a visitor to your site clicks the link to your file, it will download and be installed into their IncrediMail letter styles automatically.
Next, click the "Save Project" button to save the entire project to a folder on your hard drive. If you don't save the project, you will not be able to edit the letter style later. It's always good to save the project file, in case you want to change something later. Now you can close the Letter Creator.
To use your new letter style, open IncrediMail and create a new email message. When the Style Box opens, select the Love Letters style from My Collection. The letter style will be applied to your new email message.
It can be a lot of fun making IncrediMail letter styles and sharing them with friends. Just remember to try to keep your overall file sizes down, with 50-100 kb being a good size to aim for. If you're not sure how big a file is, go into My Computer and select the .IMF file and WIN will tell you how big the file is. For example, this Love Letters letter style weighs in at 40 kb, a reasonable size.
IncrediMail users can download my Love Letters letter style here.
This tutorial uploaded 3/23/03
Do not duplicate, translate, copy, archive, appropriate or redistribute this document.