One way to personalize your email or promote your corporate identity is with email signatures. Often I find people either don’t know how to create or edit these signatures in Outlook. This is unfortunate as the Signature area is a useful feature that can be used for many scenarios.
Before going into detail, I should offer a cautionary note. Although this article will show you how to create a signature in Outlook, your employer may discourage the practice. Some companies want everyone to use the standard signature. For example, I have one client whose emails always include the following signature:
Warning: All e-mail sent to this address will be received by the corporate e-mail system and is subject to archival and review by someone other than the recipient. Confidential, Internal, Non-Public and Not for Distribution.
Uses for Email Signatures
While this Outlook feature is called a “Signature”, you might think of it as an email container for reusable text or images. You can name this container and use it for all your emails or apply the signature when needed. As example, I use a specific signature when I send an email with a digital signature. The purpose is to alert users they may see an attached file that is unrecognizable by some email programs. Other signature uses include,
- Promoting brand identity
- Providing standard corporate contact info
- Alternate contact information
- Alerting readers to various awards or memberships
- Displaying corporate logo
- Favorite sayings or quotes
For this article, the signature we’ll create will display a facsimile signature for John Hancock. Although we grabbed a copy of his signature for this article, you can create your image by saving a graphic file (.bmp, .jpg or .gif) of your signature using a scanner. The size of our graphic was 165 pixels by 50 pixels
To create a signature in Outlook,
- From the Home tab, click New E-mail.
- From the Message tab, click the downward triangle under the Signature button
- Click Signatures… The Signatures and Stationery dialog will open.
- Click the New button.
- Type a name for your new signature.
- Click the OK button.
- In the Edit signature section click the image button .
- In the Insert Picture dialog, select the image you wish to include.
- Click the Insert button.
- In the Picture files dialog, navigate to the image file you would like to use.
- Highlight the image file and click Open.
- In the Picture dialog, click the OK button. Your image will appear.
- Add any other text as needed.
- Click the OK button.
Your signature is created and you should be back at the Options dialog. If you look in the signatures section, you’ll see Outlook has assigned your new signature to new messages. This means each time you create an email, this signature will appear at the bottom of the email. If you want to use the signature on an as-needed basis, change the Replies/forwards option to none.
There are a couple of caveats about including images in emails. The good news is that you can click the image in your email message and resize it if needed. The bad news is not everyone displays images in emails. Some people prefer email in text-only format. In these cases, your image will not be seen.