How to Use Preheader Text

Desktop vs. Mobile

Preheader text, also called preview text, is one of the first things recipients see when an email reaches their inbox. Like subject lines, preheader text can mean the difference between a customer opening or deleting your email. Unlike subject lines, on the other hand, preheader text also appears as part of the content of an email once a recipient opens it.

Types of Preheader Text

There are two main ways you can use preheader text to enhance your emails:

1. Summarize the Email

Straightforward Preheader Text

If a subject line is the title of an email, the preheader text is the summary. It’s a short snippet that should hit the key points of what the email is about. If you’re having a sale, for example, use the preheader text to outline what percent discount you’re offering and on which products. If you’re introducing your newsletter, let recipients know what they can expect from you in your coming emails.

2. Complement Your Subject Line

Subject Line and Preview Text Combo

Preheader text can also act as a continuation of your subject line. Using two different components of an email to tell a single story makes your email look cohesive and well thought out in your customers’ inboxes. This method shifts the focus on the inbox preview and away from the header of the email.


For reference, here’s how preheader text looks across devices:

Desktop vs. Mobile

Preheader text is the first line of text in an email and, to differentiate it from the body of the email, is oftentimes in a smaller, lighter colored font than the paragraph text. So, if your paragraph text is 14px, your preheader text should be 10px, and a couple of shades darker than the background it’s against.

In some cases, preheader text can disrupt the layout of an email template and some marketers would prefer to skip it altogether. Instead of forgoing such an important part of your inbox preview, if you don’t want your preheader text to show in the body of your email, you can make the font the same color as the background. Whether you choose to have your preheader text on the email or content background, it will only be displayed in the inbox preview.


Preheader text is especially important on mobile, since it’s given a lot of visual space in email apps. It’s also formatted in a way that is similar to the preview of a text message, which people tend to read. To leverage this fact, if a high percentage of your email list opens on mobile, consider including emojis in your preview text to draw recipients’ attention. In our docs, we have a list of emojis that are safe to use in subject lines and email templates.

Have you seen any clever uses of preheader text? Let me know in the comments!


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