Currently, there are multiple approaches for providing a more assisted, dynamic and interactive email experience to end users. Unfortunately, different vendors mostly support different approaches at this time.

Given that email originally is a decentralized technology, shaped by open standards, the IETF voted to set up the Structured Email (SML) Working Group, tasked to write specifications or interoperable structured email.

Internet drafts

Within the IETF SML working group, the following Internet Drafts are available for discussion.

SML Use cases

This draft collects and describes use cases for structured email.

Draft URL

SML Core

This draft describes basic concepts of structured email building upon existing email standards.

Draft URL

SML Trust and Security

This draft discusses recommendations for how to address trust and security concerns in structured email.

Draft URL

Structured Vacation Notices

This draft aims to improve the existing practice of “vacation notices” (aka “out-of-office replies”) using structured email.

Draft URL



To use existing best practices, see the getting started section.

Future work

The scope of the SML Working Group’s initial charter is narrow by design. Once initial work has been finished, further topics might be addressed by a re-chartering. These could include:

  • Mechanisms to describe and discover structured data types supported by a recipient
  • Standard ways to link structured email data with information from external sources


Some of the documents have an intentionally broader scope than the draft charter.


Please subscribe to https://www.ietf.org/mailman/listinfo/sml to join the ongoing discussing on evolving and standardizing structured email.