Quick Tip:
Living With the Quirks of "Text Formatting"

Email sales letters and newsletters have a much better chance of getting through spam filters if they're written in unformatted text. Many Internet Service Providers filter out HTML-based email because it’s easy to attach viruses and other malware to HTML.

The Golden Thread is sent to you as unformatted text for this reason.

When you're limited to unformatted text, you'll have to live with some restrictions.

  1. Special font formatting is lost.

    Bold, italics, and underlining do not appear in unformatted text. If you need to add special emphasis to short runs of copy, use one of these ways to emphasize it:

    Put one or two words in ALL CAPS (More than one or two words in caps in a paragraph looks like you're yelling.)

    *Surround the words you want to emphasize with asterisks.*

  2. All copy is left-justified.

    With unformatted text, you lose the ability to center subheads – or anything else. Don't try to center text with the space bar. Different email programs handle line lengths differently, so copy you carefully center with the space bar could end up split between two lines on your prospect's screen … and make no sense to him.

    The Golden Thread handles this problem by keeping subheads short, and following each one with a paragraph break and a row of ====== or ------- .

  3. Some special characters will be changed.

    Special characters – like bullets, the trademark symbol, and accent marks in foreign words – don't always come through correctly in unformatted text. So, when using special characters, save the copy as a text file, close the file, and then reopen it to see if any of them were changed. If they were, you'll have to find another way to indicate them (using asterisks instead of bullets, for example) or do without.

  4. You need an extra space between paragraphs.

    To space paragraphs correctly so that they aren't stacked up on each other in unformatted text, add one additional space between each paragraph and two spaces between major section breaks (as we've done here).

  5. You can't indent with the tab key.

    Use three to five spaces instead of a tab to indent paragraphs.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

At last, a professional organization that caters to the needs of direct-response industry writers. Find out how membership can change the course of your career. Learn More »


Click to Rate:
Average: 5.0
Published: September 10, 2007

Guest, Add a Comment
Please Note: Your comments will be seen by all visitors.

You are commenting as a guest. If you’re an AWAI Member, Login to myAWAI for easier commenting, email alerts, and more!

(If you don’t yet have an AWAI Member account, you can create one for free.)


This name will appear next to your comment.


Your email is required but will not be displayed.


Text only. Your comment may be trimmed if it exceeds 500 characters.

Type the Shadowed Word
Too hard to read? See a new image | Listen to the letters


Hint: The letters above appear as shadows and spell a real word. If you have trouble reading it, you can use the links to view a new image or listen to the letters being spoken.

(*all fields required)