These days the use of a signature within an email message is considered standard practice, especially in any corporate environment. Signatures can provide an email user with time-saving possibilities whether you are a home user, small business or corporate user. An email signature is the easiest way to include important information about yourself or your business. It is an ideal way to finish any email with your own sign-off, your business details, a contact phone number, and other information including images and web links.
A signature can be created, edited and formatted within Microsoft Outlook. You can have multiple signatures for different purposes, and even a different version to use when replying or forwarding an email.
When creating an email signature there are a few things to consider when deciding what to include. Be sure that any information you include is relevant to most people you email. If you are working within a business then the standard information of your name, possibly your job title, your company name, and a contact phone number may be sufficient.
I have too often seen people cram so much information into their email signature which ends up making the content seem less important. An email is now an extension of normal business correspondence, so just as a company letterhead should represent your business and your business style guideline, so to should your email signature. Including images can be useful in some instances, however, be mindful that it’s possible that not all recipients will be able to see the image, and it may increase the file size of each of your messages. When deciding what information you will include, go with a “less is more” approach.
To create a signature:
- Open Microsoft Outlook (I’m using Outlook 2016)
- Go to File > Options
- The Outlook Options dialog box will appear
- Select Mail from the categories down the left-hand sidebar:
- Click the Signatures button
- The Signatures and Stationery dialog box will appear:
- You will see a list of the email accounts setup on your computer in the E-mail account drop-down menu
- Firstly you need to create your signature, you will notice that the lower half of the dialog box under Edit signature is deactivated, this is because you either have no signatures setup or you have not selected a signature from an existing list
- Click the New button
- The New Signature dialog box will appear:
- Type in a suitable name for your signature. I generally try and use a description such as The Training Lady Main – this will help me identify this is my main signature, then click OK
- Place your cursor in the Edit signature text box and type in the details you wish to include in your signature
- Once you have entered the relevant text, you can now use the formatting tools on the toolbar to format sections of your signature.
- Highlight text and apply any font formatting, and use the bold, italics & underline features to highlight certain information. Be careful not to use too many different font styles or colours within the signature to avoid it looking too busy.
- Click the Save button to save your completed signature
- You can now create additional signatures to use as a reply or forwarding email signature. Generally, for these versions, I use my normal signature but a cut-down version. Remember when you reply or forward an email, the person knows you and probably knows your details so you can just include a quick sign off and leave out your full contact details.
- DO NOT CLICK OK YET…
- Once you have finished creating your signatures, you need to apply the signatures to the various email accounts you are using in Outlook. To apply the signatures use the New messages and Replies/forwards drop down menus in the top right of the dialog box and select which signature to use for each situation:
- Once you have finished click OK and you will be returned to the Outlook Options dialog box, click OK again to return to the Outlook window
- Create a new email message and check that your “main” signature appears
- Forward an existing email message and check to ensure your “reply” signature appears
- If either signature fails, return to the File > Options dialog box and double check you have assigned a signature to the New messages and/or Replies/forwards drop-down menus
Congratulations on setting up a new signature within Microsoft Outlook. Why not check out my post on how to set up Email Tracking Options in Outlook or look at further ways you can customise Outlook such as how to Customise the Quick Access Toolbar.