How to embed a picture in HTML for email

Written by maria montoro
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How to embed a picture in HTML for email
Your e-mail messages can be more appealing if you embed a picture. (pigeon e-mail image by arabesque from

Exchanging digital messages via the Internet is an efficient way to communicate with others. However, plain text is oftentimes not enough to get the message across. Users can make their e-mails more appealing by embedding a picture into the email via HTML, as long as their e-mail service provider allows them to switch the message composition window to HTML. Working with a provided HTML editor to insert an image is easier and recommended, but editing HTML (or Hypertext Markup Language) allows for other formatting options as well. The technique to embed the image is the same as when you’re creating a simple HTML website.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Upload the image to your own server, a free image-hosting site or select a picture that’s already hosted on a website. Keep the image URL handy. You will need this in order to embed the picture into the email. If the image is not uploaded to the Internet, no other users will be able to see the image when they receive your e-mail.

  2. 2

    Click on “Rich Text” to see other options or simply click the “Source” or “HTML” button to change the message composition window to HTML mode. Some web-based e-mail providers such as Windows Live Hotmail offer this option so you can edit the HTML code. This will allow you to embed pictures into your e-mail and even change other formatting if you know how to code in HTML.

  3. 3

    Place the cursor in the email section where you’d like the image to appear and enter the following code to embed the picture: <img src=“ImageURL”> </img>. Replace “ImageURL” for the actual URL linked to the image you chose. Make sure the code is not placed in the middle of an existing HTML tag and that the URL is correct. Include “http://” as part of the URL or else the image won’t be found.

  4. 4

    Click on “Rich Text,” “Source,” or “HTML” again to switch to normal view and make sure the image is displayed correctly. If not, double-check the URL you entered in HTML view and make sure the code was placed outside of an existing HTML tag.

  5. 5

    As an alternative, use the Rich HTML editor provided by the email provider if the previous steps didn’t work for you or your e-mail provider doesn’t allow you to view and edit HTML. This tool usually offers a better way to insert pictures into your e-mail. Simply click on the image icon and paste the full URL of the image of choice, including “http://” at the beginning.

Tips and warnings

  • Test these steps before typing a long message, especially the first time. Otherwise, you may accidentally lose what you typed in the process. You can also copy the message into Notepad or another word processing program on your computer temporarily so you don't lose it.

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