Mar 1, 2012

New File Manager

One of the biggest features in MailChimp v6.9 is our brand new file manager. What started out as a desire to spruce up our outdated image gallery led to a full overhaul of how you add files to your email templates and campaigns. We’ve incorporated lots of fun features like drag n’ drop uploading, an easier Flickr import tool and a powerful new embedded image editor from Aviary.

I could blabber on about how great the new file manager is for quite a while, but I’m sure you’d rather just see it in action.

If you’re not into videos (or ball-shaped buildings) read on to learn about some of the other cool things in the new file manager. Let’s say I’m checking out some of the new templates we just released and decide to use this football template:

Campaign Builder with Football Template

The only problem is that my school’s mascot isn’t a crow, it’s a llama. To replace that fowl logo, I’d just hover over the image and click the edit button. Because this is just a placeholder, it’ll start me off in the upload section. I’m using a modern browser that supports HTML5, so I get three options here: drag n’ drop, import from a URL or browse for files. I happen to have a couple Llama assets sitting on my desktop so I select both and drag them into the dashed box.

File Manager with Drag n Drop File Upload

A preview icon and description of each file I uploaded shows up below the dashed box and I click the ‘Upload Selected Files’ button. I’m now in the image browse folder (below) where I can view all the images I’ve ever uploaded to my MailChimp account. I can toggle between grid and list view or search for a particular image.

Browsing Images in File Manager

Right now I only have the 2 images I just uploaded in my file folder – llama_logo.png and llama_suit.jpg. I’m working on replacing that crow logo, so I hover over llama_logo and click select to get the Image Properties screen.

Image Properties Screen in File Manager

Here I can set the width, height, alignment, alt text and a URL that the image should go to when clicked. Because this image’s dimensions are suggested in the template, the width and height are automatically preset to the maximum for the location. This logo could use some adjustments, so I click the ‘edit’ button below the preview to open up the Aviary editor.

Aviary Image Editor View

The main problem I have with my llama is that there’s just too much white space around him, or her? Let’s just assume it’s a he. We’ll call him Lemmy. So yea, Lemmy has too much room to roam. To fix this, I just click the crop icon, adjust the corners and hit apply.

Cropping an Image in Aviary Image Editor

Don’t worry about messing up your images. Any time you change a file, a copy is made so you can always get back to the original. Once I’ve saved my changes and inserted the image into my layout, Lemmy fits nicely into the header of my template.

Campaign Builder with New Llama Logo In Header

Now, let’s say I want to add an image to a content area. I remember that I uploaded a pretty sweet picture of Freddie Von Chimpenhiemer IV with a Nerf gun to Flickr a while ago that I’d really like to include. I could go find it on Flickr, download it, and upload it the same way I did with my llamas, or I could just use the freshly updated Flickr import tool.

From inside the MailChimp content editor, I click the File Manager icon in the toolbar which brings up the same upload dialog I showed you before. Then I click the Flickr button under import. A popup window will open up for me to login to flickr and then I get a search box. A quick search for images tagged with ‘mailchimp’ reveals the image I was looking for.

Flickr Import Tool

When I click import, I’m sent to the image folder again with the imported, Nerf gun toting Freddie right at the top. Once I select that image, I get the image properties window. Because I’m inserting this image into a text area, I have a few extra fields to set the margins around each side of the image. Since I plan to align this image right, I set the left and bottom margins to 10 and the other sides to 0. This will give me the space I want between the text and my image.

Image Properties Screen with Margin Controls

Clicking ‘Save & Insert Image’ puts Freddie into the content right where my cursor was when I hit the File Manger icon.

New Image Inside Content Area

Using images from my computer or Flickr gallery is one thing but what if I don’t have an image to use. Maybe I have some content in my newsletter about reading and I want a picture to highlight that section. Fortunately, iStockPhoto has just about any image I could dream up. I could purchase and download an image through their website, but our updated iStockPhoto import tool makes it a lot easier! A quick search for "parent child reading" provides hundreds of pages of great images.

iStockPhoto Import Search

As I look through the pictures, I find one I like of a mother and son reading. Right now, it has an iStockPhoto watermark over it, but that’ll go away once I’ve purchased the image.

iStockPhoto Import Photo

iStock charges a set number of credits based on the size of image that you need. For an email, you typically only need a 2 or 5 credits per image. From this screen, I can buy photo credits or buy the image. I already have 20 credits on my account, so I click the button to buy the 2 credit image. A message tells me that I’ve successfully purchased the image and that I have 18 credits left. When I click on the image folder again, my 425px wide stock image is right at the top. Once I’ve selected it, I can insert the image into my newsletter or even make some edits to it in Aviary.

That covers most of the new file manager features. There are still some things I haven’t covered here so you’ll definitely have to give it a try and let us know what you think. In the mean time, be sure to check out Ben’s post for a summary of other head-sploding changes in v6.9.