Composer Templates and Themes

Overview

Veracross templates are a component of Composer that allows schools to create emails from previously created content. Templates can be created for specific departments, communication channels, or for the entire school. Each template is assigned a theme(s) that controls the basic layout settings for an individual email. Together templates and their themes provide users a kick-start to creating emails and ensure that schools can set layout guidelines for all email communication.

Templates

Templates are added for each Communication Channel the school has configured. Multiple templates can be assigned to one channel, depending on the communication needs of that particular channel. Templates can be channel templates or global templates. Channel templates apply to only the channel from which they were created. Global templates provide schools the ability to create templates that transcend channels. When added they apply to all channels and can be used for any email creation regardless of the channel category.

Channel Templates

Add a channel template to a Communication Channel from the “Templates” tab on the Channel’s record. Select the “New Templates” link in the upper part of the tab. This will launch the Composer Editor for template building.

The Composer Editor for template building functions exactly the same as the Composer Editor for email creation. Drag and drop sections into the template that should be included in the template layout for emails in this channel. Think carefully about the type of information that is usually communicated to constituents within this channel and use it to inform how the email layout is configured. When a new email is created using this template, the saved template layout will automatically open in the Composer Editor for emails. The email writer can then insert their content within each section in the email template. The theme can also be modified, if desired. The content section layout pre-configured for this template will remain the same, but users can select a different themes to display their content. All themes configured in the system will be available to use in the template.

Global Templates

Add a global template from the “Shared Templates” link under the “Themes” section on the Communications homepage in Axiom. Select the “New Templates” button at the top of the screen to launch the Composer Template editor. The process for creating a template using the Composer Editor is the same as above.

All available global templates can be viewed on the “Global Templates” tab on the Channel’s record.

Themes

Themes are added using the “Add Themes” link under the “Themes” section on the Communications homepage in Axiom. Schools can set background colors or images, establish the email font, configure a standard header or footer to the email, and embed social media links for each theme. Veracross is unable to host any images themselves; they must be hosted using an outside source.

When a theme is selected for use by the email creator, all elements of the pre-configured theme such as the header, footer, and background color/image will not be editable by the email creator. They will instead be able to add content sections within the chosen theme. When creating themes be sure to make them generic enough that they could be used for multiple types of communication within this channel, that is do not create a theme for a one-time email communication such as a specific sporting event announcement. Instead create a generic theme for all sporting event announcements and allow the email creator to enter in the specific content.

General

The General tab determines the basic layout, font, and background color of the major components of the email.

  • Description: enter a meaningful name for the theme. This is the name that will be used in the Composer Editor to describe the particular theme options available for use when creating the email.
  • Layout: the alignment of the footer information. Layout options include left aligned, centered, or display in two distinct columns.
  • Font Family: the font that should be used for all text within the email.
  • Background Color: the dominant color to display as the email’s background.
  • Background Repeating Image: a repeating image (usually a pattern) to be used as the email’s background.
  • Theme Preview: Click to view an HTML preview of the theme. Themes can also be previewed via the “Preview Composer Themes” on the Communication homepage.

Header

The Header tab allows schools to pre-configure a header that can automatically be included in all emails sent using this template.

  • Header Title: the name of the header as it will appear at the top of the email.
  • Header Subtitle: subtitle that will display beneath the title.
  • Header Image: (optional) an image that can be displayed behind the header title and subtitle and will span the width of the email. It is worth noting that Composer will automatically adjust the width of the image to 640px, so an image smaller than that may appear pixelated after it is re-sized. If an image is much smaller than 640px wide, it is recommended that another version of the image be created with a background color to preserve image quality.

Configure styling and layout options for each component of the header in the styling section on the Header tab.

A header can easily be turned on or off for a particular template by switching the “Display Header” toggle to “No.”

Footer

The Footer tab allows schools to include important school information such as the school name, address, and website in the footer of all emails sent from this template. Options may also be included for unsubscribing from emails sent from this channel.

Social

Links to the school’s social media accounts can also be included as part of the footer of the email. Schools can set their own icons for each social media that they use and set a corresponding URL that the icon will point to. View a list of sample icons that can be used for each social media account that a school would like to include a list to. The URL for the icon is included above each icon. Copy and paste the URL into the appropriate field and link it with the corresponding social media account. Up to five social media accounts can be linked on an email.

Example Themes

Available for all schools are 9 example themes (including the default theme) already setup to use in Communication Channels. These themes are Veracross designed and feature pre-configured layout options for common emails. Use these themes as a starting place for composing emails per Channel.

The 9 example themes are as follows:

Organic
Centered subtitle text header with centered footer.

Color Bar
Image header with centered footer.

Simple Blue
Centered subtitle text header with left-aligned footer.

Dark Theme
Right-aligned subtitle text header with left-aligned footer and background repeating image.

Geometric
Centered text header with centered footer and background repeating image.

Simple Grey Background
Image header with centered footer.

Wood Pattern
Left-aligned subtitle text header with centered footer and background repeating image.

Bulletin
Image header with centered footer.

Default
Image header with two-columned footer.

 

Using Templates

New emails drafts can be created directly from the “Templates” tab on the Channel record in Axiom. When a new draft is selected, the Composer email creation process will begin. There are three options for starting a new email:

  1. Starting from Scratch
    A blank email will be launched in the Composer Editor. Users are free to drag and drop new sections and select the appropriate theme for the email.
  2. Start from a Template
    Emails are created from a template in the system. The dropdown menu option displays all Channels within this system and lists all available templates with the Channel. Users can select which template they would like to use for their new email.
  3. Copy a Sent Email
    Emails are created from a previous email sent within a Channel and template. Select a template within a Channel from the dropdown menu. Once the template has been selected, all emails sent using the template will display below. Select the “copy email” button to launch a copy of the sent email in the Composer Editor.