Tech Tip: Using HTML Formatting in Workflow Emails

2 min read
  • Information Technology
  • Process Automation

Workflow sends plain text e-mails with the E-mail activity by default, but you can add HTML formatting to create bolded text, italics, lists, hyperlinks, different fonts and more. Adding HTML formatting lets you customize your e-mail to match your organization’s standards and draw attention to important information.

Note: Some e-mail clients do not support displaying HTML, and some e-mail clients may have the HTML option disabled for security reasons.

Basic HTML formatting involves surrounding the text you want formatted with special characters enclosed in angle brackets (the less than and greater than signs: < >). Here are some examples of basic HTML formatting you can use in your e-mails.


Type <b>before the text you want to bold</b>, and type after the text.

Example: In plain text (in the E-mail activity), the HTML formatting looks like this: “Please see the attached <b> Employee Form</b>.” If the recipient’s e-mail browser supports HTML, the message they receive will look like this: “Please see the attached Employee Form.” E-mail clients that do not support HTML will simply display the plain text version, which includes the HTML tags.


Much like with bolded text, to make text italics, place <i> before the text and </i> after the text.

Example: “Note the <i>March 30th</i> due date” becomes “Note the March 30th due date.”


To turn a bit of text into a hyperlink, precede the text with <a href=”“>, replacing with the URL of the Website you want to link to. Place </a> after the text you want to hyperlink.

Example: “Please see <a href=”“> our Website </a>” becomes “Please see our Website.”


You may want to include numbered or bulleted lists in your e-mail. Numbered lists are called ordered lists in HMTL and bulleted lists are called unordered lists. To create an ordered list, precede the list with <ol>, and place </ol> at the end of the list. To create an unordered list, precede it with <ul> and close the list with </ul>. Enclose each item on the list in <li></li>. (“li” stands for list item.)


HTML formatting


<li>Do this step first</li>

<li>Do this step second</li>



1. Do this step first

2. Do this step second


HTML formatting


<li> Here’s an idea </li>

<li> Here’s another idea </li>



  • Here’s an idea
  • Here’s another idea

These are the most common ways HTML formatting is used in e-mail, but you can use more advanced HTML to embed pictures, make tables and define background colors.

HTML can turn an e-mail that looks like this in the Workflow Designer:

into one that arrives in the recipient’s inbox looking like this:

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