MailChimp column spacing woes

A client was having issues with their columns being out of whack. And CSS wasn’t helping.

Turns out the issue was hidden non-breaking spaces in the copy of the email.

Occasionally strange invisible characters can hide in your content on applications like WordPress or MailChimp. Especially if you cut and paste from Word or some other source that might use a different encoding. It’s always good to check the “HTML View” or “Code View” depending on what app you are using.

The problem

3 columns of text with thumbnails at the top. The middle is wider than the other two.

In the MailChimp editor the sample text appeared fine. It was only on the actual campaign that the columns got wonky.

The Fix

In the MailChimp campaign editor, you can click on the content edit button, and then on the code icon.

Edit the content
Click the code icon

There you will see the offenders.  . These all need to be replaced with normal spaces in order for the lines to break normally and follow the column layout.

Once those were removed the columns looked ok again.

The Test

But since email clients all choose to display things differently, make sure you always check your campaign on Windows and Mac. And use different clients like Gmail in Safari and Chrome. And same with Outlook. There was another issue with this template where the bullets had extra padding, but only on Gmail in Windows 11 Chrome and Safari on Mac.

Choose what to test for based on your previous campaign data. If most users are on Outlook, make sure to add that to your test plan. But balance that with your budget and staff. It makes no sense to test on Netscape Navigator in Windows 95… unless you are sending a blast to your Pentium I enthusiasts group.

Test on ALLLLL platforms



Everything I know about electricity, I learned from Captain Beefheart.

Despite knowing nothing about even the fundamental principles of why electricity even does what it does, I’ve had some parts sitting around for various projects for years. And aside from the theory, I have some practical questions like “why are half my outlets only grounded when it rains?” even the landlord claims ignorance.


  1. Learn enough to make an LED lighting solution for my 3D printer powered from 5v connectors on my Rasberry Pi4.
  2. Be able to help my kid assemble their guitar effect pedal kit.
  3. Learn how to spell “Raspberry” without spellcheck.
  4. Be able to fix my various guitar and keyboard problems.
  5. Make an FM synth with MIDI control to get that good good Ad Lib sound.
Pinnacle of audio engineering.

So far I’m working on goal #1, I wish youtube was around when I was young, I would have learned so much!


Remembering Petticoat Lane

Because I loved this movie so much, I loved the soundtrack. I knew of John Williams from Star Wars. But this was the first PG-13 movie I went to. And my mom dropped my friend and I off! After playing some coin gobbling games in the run-down Starcade, we headed into the “Dome” theatre and I had my first taste of surround sound and subwoofers. Nothing was ever the same for me.

This is the track I wanted to learn on piano. I played this part of the cassette over and over until it died. Then I got a new one.

… and then I was over it and haven’t listened to it since. Even though I have revisited the rest of the soundtrack once every couple years.

Well, that’s my old man story of the day. Oh the point? I have to go pee. That’s the point right now.


Hey World!

I’m migrating to a new server, creating a new theme. All that good stuff. Check back in a bit!