[Update]: This blog post was updated on March 17, 2021.
In this article, you can find out how to set up your own server-level automatic email signature or disclaimer in Office 365. Like most of today’s email signature solutions, it supports HTML content such as tables, images and font formatting, but in contrast to e.g. Google Workspace (G Suite), it also allows for automatic personalization of individual signatures. However, there is no option to e.g. insert the signature directly below the latest reply/forward, or preview it in the user’s mailbox.
How to set up a global email signature in Microsoft 365
Since this article was published, the Exchange admin center has been redesigned in Microsoft 365. Although the basic functionality of mail flow rules hasn’t changed drastically, the UI looks different. That’s why we’ve created a new step-by-step video which shows:
- How to set up an email signature rule in the new Exchange admin center.
- Where to get the HTML code with AD placeholders for the signature template.
- How the global email signatures work from the user’s perspective.
- What the limitations of signature rules are.
- What tricks you can use to make the signature-adding-rule more useful.
How to set up an email signature in Office 365
The steps below show how to set up a global email signature in the legacy Exchange admin center.
- Log in to the Office 365 portal using an Exchange Online administrator account and access the Microsoft 365 admin center.
- Expand Admin centers and click Exchange.
- In the Exchange admin center, go to mail flow and rules.
- Click the plus icon and select Apply disclaimers.
Note: When you select the Apply disclaimers action (instead of the Create new rule…), the new rule window will open with the attributes already preselected.
- In the new rule window, type the name of your rule and configure the settings according to your needs.
Note: If you want to use some additional settings (e.g. exceptions, the option to prepend the disclaimer), click the More options link at the bottom of the new rule window.
- In the Apply this rule if section, select the conditions that will trigger the rule. You can find the list of available conditions in this Microsoft’s article.
- In the Do the following section, the Append the disclaimer action should already be selected. If it is not, use the dropdown menu to select it.
- Now, you need to insert your signature into the Office 365 editor. The signature can be either plain text or HTML code. To add your signature, click the Enter text link and add the text or HTML code of your organization-wide email signature in the specify disclaimer text window.
Note: To personalize email signatures for your Office 365 users, you can add Exchange property variables such as First name, Last name, Phone number, etc. To add them to the signature, use the %%PropertyName%% pattern, for example %%FirstName%%. Then, such placeholder will be automatically replaced with the proper value for the user. You can find the complete list of accepted properties in this Microsoft article.
- Next, select the preferred fallback action, which will be executed in case of problems with inserting the signature. You can select wrap (forward the original message as attachment and stamp the forward), ignore (send the message without the signature) or reject (don’t send the message).
Tip: You don’t have to be an HTML expert to create a professionally looking email signature. Feel free to use this email signature generator or download one of the templates available in our free email signature template library. Then, if needed edit it so that all the variables follow the %%PropertyName%% pattern and paste the signature HTML code into Office 365 signature editor.
- Other rule properties use the default settings, which you can keep or adjust to your needs. For more information on these settings and the differences in rule processing based on message type, go to this article.
- Click Save to save the rule.
- Send a test message to check if the signature works as expected.
That’s it! Your company-wide Office 365 email signature is ready to use.
Unfortunately, there are several important functionalities you don’t get when using the built-in Office 365 email signature solution. Those include:
- Inserting the signature directly under the latest email reply or forward.
- Displaying server-side email signatures in the users’ Sent Items folders.
- Letting the users decide which email signature to use.
- Delegating rights to manage email signatures to non-admin users (for example, to Marketing).
- Embedding images in email signatures (not as attachments).
- Skipping signature lines which contain blank spaces when variables can’t be updated (e.g. because the value wasn’t provided for a user).
To overcome those limitations and gain other capabilities, I recommend using a third-party solution like CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.