Are you struggling to embed an image into an email? Well, you are not alone. Many digital marketers find it difficult to complete this same task.

The good news is that embedding images into your emails is pretty easy to do. Inside this article, you’ll learn several ways to go about doing so. 

Images can be used in many different ways inside of your emails to boost engagements, click-through rates, and conversions. 

Let’s see how we can go about adding all popular picture formats to your content.

Should You Embed an Image Into An Email?

Adding images to your emails makes them more personal and visually appealing. 

With images in your emails, you will get better engagement from your subscribers. 

In some cases, adding a few images to your emails can increase your click-through rates by up to 42% according to various studies.

At the same time, images help to break up texts and make them easier to read.

Email optimization is another reason why you should be using images in your email campaigns. 

When an image is embedded into the body of an email, it does not count towards character limits for either HTML or text-based versions of the campaign. 

This means that you can include more information about your products, how they can benefit the user, how to use them, etc.

We’ve also seen where scammers use images in this way to hide deceptive content. Email service providers have begun to address this issue. So, ensure that all of your images are free of spam words otherwise, they’ll end up in the junk folder.

Are Embedded Images and Image Attachments The Same?

In addition to embedding images into your emails, you can also attach them. 

An embedded image is part of the HTML text. An attached image is added as an attachment to the email by uploading directly from your device.

The main difference between embedding and attaching an image in an email is that embedded images are visible to the user. The attached images must be opened in order to be viewed.

Here’s how an image will look once you attach it to your email:

Embedded images are more likely to be seen by the recipient because they load within the email itself. 

Embedded images also do not take up any extra space in the email, allowing you to include more text in your email. This is why embedded images are the preferred method of adding visuals. 

Attached images count towards how many characters you have used for your email campaign. Unfortunately, this means that you will have less room to include text in your emails. 

Attached images also affect how fast an email loads as they are separate files from the rest of the HTML code for emails.

And we all know, if your attached images are too big, the email will take too long to load.

Three Ways To Embed An Image Into An Email

There are three common ways to embed images in emails: 

  • Web Link;
  • Inline embedding; and
  • CID tags.

Each has its benefits and downsides, so how do you choose which method to use?

Embed an Image Into an Email Using a Web Link

One of the easiest ways to embed an image into an email is by using a “linked image”.  With this method, you can simply paste the image URL into your email content. 

Here’s how you can embed an image into an email Using Linked Images with Gmail:

Log into your Gmail account and click “Compose” in the top left corner of the page.

In the window that opens, click the “Insert photo” icon located next to the Google Drive icon.

A window will pop up that gives you the option to upload photos from your Albums, from your computer, or a URL. From here you can embed an image by adding a web address (URL)

To upload an image directly from the web, right-click on that image and copy the “image address”.

Paste the image address into the URL field as shown above and hit insert.

Embedding an Inline Image

Another convenient way to embed an image in an email is by using inline embedding. 

Inline images are added directly to the text block of your email instead of a separate image block.

The beauty of inline embedding is that your images do not have to be hosted online for you to add them. 

You can simply upload images directly from your device or online gallery. Then choose how you want them to be added.

You can also embed an inline image into your emails by first converting them into a base64 string. By doing so, your emails will load faster for your recipients. 

There are many tools available online that allow you to convert images into base64 strings for free. 

Faster loading content will definitely boost your engagement rates but there is a drawback. Base64 images are usually larger than normal. So it is recommended that you only convert small images with this method. 

How to Embed An Image Into An Email With CID Tags

CID stands for “content-id”.

If neither linked images nor inline embeds work for you, try using CID tags designed specifically for emails. 

CID tags allow you to add an image in an email using a set of tags.

Unlike linked images or inline embeds, CID tags don’t require the images to be hosted on an external server. 

They work by embedding a small link within the email that points back to your website where you’ve uploaded and stored the image. 

However, this approach is challenging for the regular user. CID tags can be used by people with knowledge of HTML coding only. 

Another downside to using CID tags is that all email clients do not support them (although most modern ones do). 

Also, CID tags don’t support alt text for images which is not ideal if your email contains an image with critical information. 

If you are not familiar with how to use CID tags, check this article out.

Best Image Formats for Emails

The best image formats for emails are JPEG and PNG. You can also use GIFs, but they take longer to load in email clients because of their large file size. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these formats.


JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the most recommended file format for sending an image via email. A JPEG file can be sent simply and quickly with good graphics quality. 

JPEGs are the recommended choice because they give you a good trade-off between file size and image quality. 

They compress well without losing much detail so you can expect a relatively small file size for a good-quality image.

If your audience uses a variety of devices (including older ones), it’s best to stick with JPEG files as the file size will be significantly smaller than other formats. 

However, JPEGs do have a couple of downsides: 

JPEGs are difficult to edit or modify without losing quality;

They are not the best option for images containing text;

The compression algorithm used by JPEG reduces the color depth and can sometimes make images appear pixelated if they are too heavily compressed. 

Keep this in mind when you resize your image before sending it via email! 

Also, note that JPEGs cannot contain transparent pixels. This means that if your photo has a white background, you will see the white in the email. 

Another drawback to JPEGs is they have a lossy compression, which means every time you attempt to save an image as a JPEG, it loses some of the file’s original data. 

When you’re emailing JPEG images, make sure that your original photo is at least 600px wide or larger for the compression to work its magic. 


PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is one of the best formats for making images. They work well with Gmail and Outlook, so you can send PNG files without worrying about compatibility issues.

PNG files are good when you need to show the image in full detail. With PNGs, there is no risk of losing quality when resizing or increasing resolution. 

Unlike JPEGs, PNGs support transparency and are ideal for adding text over the top of an image because you can set how transparent the background is.

Note that there are two types of PNG formats, including:

  • PNG-8; and
  • PNG-24.

The former is mainly used for graphics with a limited number of colors. It’s lossless and ideal when you need to resize or change the color scheme of the image. 

PNG-24, on the other hand, supports transparency and can be used for complex graphics with millions of colors or gradients.

On the flip side, PNG files can be larger than JPEGs and take longer to load. 

Another drawback is that some of the older email clients do not support them. Keep that in mind when you send out emails to a specific group of people!


A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) image format for emails is a great way to stand out, but it can also be risky. 

If a recipient doesn’t have the right email client, they won’t see it, so you should be careful about sending them. 

In addition to supporting transparency, GIFs are also great for images with limited colors and line drawings & clip art.

GIFs are also great for text images because they are “lossless” and will not degrade when people view or forward them.

The last thing you want is for your image to lose quality as it travels from inbox to inbox, and GIFs don’t have this problem. 

The downside of GIFs is that they can be large and therefore slow down how quickly your email will load.

Another problem is that GIFs only support 256 colors, which limits how complex the image can be. The fewer the number of colors, the smaller and faster it’ll load.

However, you may want to use a JPG instead if you have an important photo in your email.

Don’t let these drawbacks stop you from using GIFs if they’re right for your message. Just make sure to test how your emails look in different email apps before sending them!

Best Image Size for Email Images

When sending an email to your customers, you want it to look professional. 

Attaching an image of the wrong size will make your emails appear unprofessional and can lead to poor customer experiences. 

Email images should be no larger than 600×600 pixels. For the best loading performance, images should be 100 KB or less.

Tools such as Canva can help you design the perfect images for your emails with the correct size and format. 

For the best resolution, ensure your images are at least 300 pixels in width wide and have a high pixel density.

 If the original image is really small, it will look pixelated once you resize it. 

Also, your images should not be smaller than 100×100 pixels. 

If your image is too small, it can appear blurry to customers, so they might not take you seriously. 

Test Your Emails Before Sending

If you are sending emails with images, make sure to test them first. You don’t want the recipient to receive an error message when trying to download your images. 

To test your images, send a sample to yourself and preview how it looks on all major webmail clients such as Gmail, Yahoo, and Outlook.

You should also check how it looks on mobile devices such as iPhones and Android smartphones.

It is important to preview how your email looks on different devices since it can affect the readability of the content. 

When you’re happy with how everything looks, send a test version of your email campaign to some friends or colleagues for final review. 

If everything looks good, then go ahead and send your email to your subscribers. 

If you plan to email  many people at once it may be best to use a professional autoresponder such as Mailvio to preview and test your emails before sending 


After you embed an image into an email be sure to track its performance to see if it actually improves engagement rates.  

Autoresponders such as Mailvio allow you to split test emails and provide detailed analytics to help you understand what’s working. 

It is important to make sure your email looks good on all devices.

Following the best practices will ensure that your customers receive professional emails without any errors or issues in terms of loading time. 

If you follow these recommendations when embedding an image in emails, readers will have a great experience receiving them!


Steven is the co-founder of Mailvio and oversees the operations and technical strategy and implementations. Steven has been an online entrepreneur since he was 14 years old and has been running SaaS companies for the last 10 years.

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