How to create company-wide email signatures and disclaimers in Office 365

Below you will find details on what you have to do to set up your own server-level automatic email signature or disclaimer using the built-in Office 365 tool.

A little info about the tool: like most today’s email signature solutions, it supports HTML content such as tables, images and font formatting, but In contrast to e.g. Google Apps for Business, it also allows for automatic personalization of individual signatures.  Limitations include no option to insert the signature directly below the latest email reply or forward and lack of preview on the end-user’s side (learn more…).

Steps to set up an email signature policy in Office 365:

  1. Log in to the Office 365 portal using an Exchange Online administrator account and access the Microsoft 365 admin center as shown in the below image:

    Accessing the Office 365 admin center

  2. Expand Admin centers and click Exchange.

    Office 365: Accessing Exchange admin center
    Fig. 1. The Exchange option in the Microsoft 365 admin center menu.

  3. In the Exchange admin center click the mail flow option in the navigation pane (marked red in Fig. 2) and make sure that in the work pane the rules tab (marked yellow in Fig. 2) is selected.Exchange admin center: Accessing mail flow rules
    Fig. 2. The Exchange admin center page with the mail flow rules interface visible.

  4. Click the Plus icon and select Apply disclaimers… (Fig. 3).

    This way the subsequent new rule popup window will already have the Apply disclaimers action selected (clicking the Create new rule… option opens the new rule window without any preselected attributes).The list of available Mail flow rules' actions, which includes the Apply disclaimer action
    Fig. 3. The list of available mail flow rules’ actions, with the Apply disclaimer action marked red.

  5. In the resulting new rule window type in the name of your rule and configure the settings according to your needs.

    NOTE: To get more settings’ options (e.g. exceptions, the option to prepend the disclaimer) click the More options… link at the bottom of the new rule window (Fig. 4):

    Exchange admin center: New mail flow rule, More options
    Fig. 4. The More options… button available at the bottom of the new transport rule window.


    In the *Apply this rule if… section select the conditions that will trigger it. You can find the list of available conditions on this TechNet page.

    In the *Do the following… section the Append the disclaimer… action should already be chosen (if it is not, use the dropdown menu to select it).

    Now you have to enter the signature design. To do this click the Enter text… link and in the resulting specify disclaimer text popup window type in the text or HTML code of your organization-wide footer (Fig. 5).

    Exchange Online mail flow rules: specify disclaimer text window
    Fig. 5. Exchange Online mail flow rules: specify disclaimer text window.

    To achieve automatic personalization, employ Exchange property variables such as First name, Last name, Contact details (such as e.g., phone number, mobile number, address etc.). When inserting them in the code, use the %%PropertyName%% pattern. It will cause users’ data to be automatically included in proper fields in their signatures. You can find the complete list of accepted properties on this TechNet page.

    Next, select the preferred fallback action, which will be executed in case of problems with inserting the signature. The choices are: wrap (forward the original message as attachment and stamp the forward), ignore (send the message without a signature) or reject (don’t send the message).

    HACK: You don’t have to be an html expert to create a professionally looking signature. Use this Office 365 signature generator or download one of the templates available in our free email signature template library and adjust it so that all the variables follow the %%PropertyName%% pattern. Then paste its html code in Office 365 and complete the rest of the steps from my guide. Our templates can even make it easier to include handy social media icons nearby your contact details. Head for “… with social icons” templates.

  6. The remaining rule properties have default settings, which you can keep or adjust to your needs. For more information on these settings and differences in processing based on message type go to this article.

  7. Save your disclaimer rule settings by clicking Save at the bottom of the new transport rule window.

  8. Test the new signature.

Illegal email signatures


Limitations of the native Office 365 solution

Unfortunately, there are several important things you can’t achieve using the built-in Office 365 central email signature solution. Those include:

      • Inserting the signature directly under the latest email reply or forward
      • Displaying server-side email signatures in users’ Sent Items folders
      • Embedding images in email signatures
      • Skipping lines which contain variables that couldn’t be updated (e.g. because the value wasn’t provided for a user)

To gain the above and other capabilities, you have to use a 3rd party tool like CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.

61 thoughts on “How to create company-wide email signatures and disclaimers in Office 365

  1. Pingback: Signatures via Disclaimers | MarkBaillieDotNet

  2. Richard

    Hi Paweł, does this company wide email signature only work when using Mail online with Office 365 or will the email signature also automatically appear in Outlook etc? I need a standardised but personalised email signature for all users whether they are working on Office 365 or Outlook.

    Reply
    1. Paweł Krzemiński

      Hi Richard,

      The signature is added to emails on the server level, so it won’t appear in Outlook or any other email client when a user composes a message. But it will be added to messages regardless what client they are sent from (Office 365, Outlook, mobile devices, Mac, etc.).

      If you want the signature to display in Office 365 OWA and Outlook when an email is being composed, you need a solution like the one I mention at the bottom of the article, CodeTwo Email Signatures: http://www.codetwo.com/email-signatures/?sts=3955

      Hope this helps,
      Pawel

      Reply
      1. Jeff York

        Is there a way to have the electronic signature that is visible on Office 365 e-mail (on my desktop computer) also be used on e-mails I send from my cell phone ? It is an HTC One android device.

        Reply
        1. Paweł Krzemiński

          Hi Jeff,

          Are you using the solution described in my article? If you are, the email signature should be added to all messages meeting the defined conditions, regardless where they are sent from (Outlook, OWA, mobile device, etc.).

          Best regards,
          Pawel

          Reply
  3. Darren Gino

    when someone replies to an email who works in my company, their signature ends up showing up at the bottom of the email string below my signature for the initial email. Is there a setting that was missed?

    Reply
    1. Paweł Krzemiński

      Hi Darren,

      No, this is correct behavior. Inserting email signatures only at the very top or bottom of email conversations is a limitation of the native Office 365 email signature mechanism (see the ‘Limitations of the native Office 365 solution’ section in my article). If you want to overcome it, you have to use e.g. CodeTwo Email Signatures: http://www.codetwo.com/email-signatures/?sts=3955

      Best regards,
      Pawel

      Reply
      1. Yuriy

        Hello,

        Actually there is a work around for this. Just update your disclaimer with exception where the portion of your disclaimer is specified as a part of subject or body.

        Kind regards,

        Reply
  4. Johnson

    Hi Pawel

    Is there a way to automatically insert the intended recipients email address into the disclaimer?? what I mean is say I have %%Email%% for the sender, which will automatically insert the senders email, is there a variable for the intended recipient??

    Reply
      1. Kamil Glaser

        Hi Alexander,
        Are you positive there is a placeholder for the recipient’s email address? Just like Johnson stated, there is no problem with the sender’s address and other AD attributes, but I do not think there is a placeholder for any message properties.

        Reply
  5. Rutger

    Hi,

    How long does it take before a change of signature (Company wide on all e-mail message) is available/in use for the message’s send?

    Already have outlook installed, executed the steps above, tested it no signature after 5 test’s closed outlook removed exchange account from outlook, installed exchange account in outlook and tested it again. It delivered me a signature.

    I mentioned a type error so i adjusted this. Tested again new message to another e-mailaddress still gave me the wrong signature.

    Hope you got an solutions or answer before i’ll set it up for the company.

    Reply
  6. Melissa

    When I receive an HTML email signature from Office 365 into my Outlook desktop email app, I have to ‘click to download’ the images in the signature. (I have “images turned off” for my email in Outlook). Is there a workaround for that?

    Thanks –
    Melissa

    Reply
  7. Lori Murray

    Is there a way to add more than one signature to an email account, and be able to use which ever signature i need at the time?

    Reply
    1. Milena Madej

      Hello Lori,

      As far as I know, it is not possible to use many email signatures in Office 365.

      However, if you use Microsoft Outlook (a desktop version), then you could create more than just one email signature for your email account.

      This article explains how to create email signatures in Outlook 2013/2010 (Fig. 5 and 6): http://www.mail-signatures.com/articles/how-to-create-or-modify-an-email-signature-in-outlook-2010-and-2013/?sts=3955.

      Once you have created your email signatures, simply select a preferred one while composing a new email message (Message or Insert tab>Include section>Signature).

      Hope this helps!

      Milena

      Reply
  8. jen

    hi- when i expand Admin I dont get the admin centre-exchange window as you.

    i get- manage your organization
    service settings
    users groups
    licenses
    domains
    service centre
    support
    website
    message centre
    setup

    none of which have any links to what this instruction advises-

    Can you please assist?

    Reply
  9. Samuel Schoemann

    Is it possible to have an embedded link in an image in the signature – i.e. the LinkedIn icon in the signature that is hyperlinked you my LinkedIn page?

    Reply
      1. rabbani

        Thanks Milena, this works, however, this adds the image/banner for every reply, duplicating/multiplying the image with every reply in the email trail. Any advise on how this could only be limited to just once?

        I have been looking into exception rules but not working for me or I am not using it correct.

        Reply
  10. Frederic Delaunay

    Hi.
    is there a way to define a company wide standard email for “automatic replies”?
    meaning…any employee turning on “Automatic replies” would activate a comany wide standard message….the only flex would be start date/end date
    Thanks – Fred

    Reply
  11. Ryan

    Hi Pawel,

    Because the office 365 is synchronized with our internal AD (without Azure AD) can we take the information such as : (phone number, mobile number, email and job title) and put in the signature automatically ?

    Reply
    1. Paweł Krzemiński

      Hi Ryan, I think you should be able to. Most MS synchronization tools like AAD Connect just keep your on-prem AD and Azure AD in sync. What tool are you using?

      Reply
      1. Ryan

        Hi Pawel,

        Yes I have tried that and is working , at the first time is not working , but somehow it is working now, thanks Pawel.
        But can I put URL image also in disclaimer ?
        ex :
        Because I have tried that but the images is didn’t show up, it just show with the mark “x” like broken images, I already make sure if I go to that link above the image is appear.

        Reply
  12. Fred

    Can i exclude certain employee from the auto signature
    like if %% email %% = ‘Samual@company.com’ skip it.
    Or i have to create a new transport rule for that user only

    Reply
    1. Adam the 32-bit Aardvark

      Hi Fred,
      Yes, you can exclude one or more employees, or even a whole Active Directory Group.
      The easiest way to do this is to add them to the rule as an exception.
      Simply edit the rule and click “More options…” at the very bottom.
      Above, an option to “Add exception…” appears, click it, then choose “when the sender is this person” and choose the employee.

      Reply
  13. Scott

    I created a rule, everything works fine. Though when I deleted the rule the rule still is being applied. Even when I edited the rule the original text keeps showing up. Any idea?

    Reply
  14. Roberta Limpido

    Hi Pawel,
    I love office 365 but i think the problem with the signature is not a limitation, is a BUG! I pay for the office365 license and I must pay more if I want to use the signature feature correctly…

    I’m sorry but I don’t appreciate this!

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Roberta,
      I am sorry you feel that way. I love Office 365, too. At the same time, like most products, it has some areas in which additional tools come in handy. The native signature feature offered in Office 365 may not be perfect, but still, many companies use it “as is.” Third party products help people who want more from this feature.

      Reply
  15. Obliterator

    Great article, but the solution doesn’t work for email sent from iPhones or iPads.

    By default, iOS sends emails in plain text (unless the user applies some styling to the mail).
    This fails, because the html signature in the transport rule gets appended in plaintext – resulting in garbage.

    How can I force Exchange to convert the message to html first (or avoid appending the signature to plaintext emails)? Can’t find a good option to force iOS html format either (less desirable).

    Surely I can’t need a third party tool to have a usable signature in O365?!

    Reply
  16. Thomas Moser

    Hi all.

    I try to add an image from our webserver as Signatur at the end of an email if recepient is an external user.
    This works fine.

    When i now send an email to an external user, he answers me and i write back again, the image is added a second time to the end of the mail. So i have then two times the same image.

    How can i configure the signatur that the image is only insert once in a dialog ?

    Thank you all for your help.

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Thomas,
      This is the default behavior, but there is a way to change it. If your disclaimer includes some text, the solution is easy and rather effective. Edit the rule which adds a disclaimer, click more options and specify the rule should be applied Except if… The subject or body includes… the text from your disclaimer. If your rule adds only an image, you could add an exception if subject includes… “RE:”, but this is far from being foolproof.
      You could watch this video tutorial, it includes adding an exception like the one you need.

      Reply
  17. Thomas

    Hi Kamil.

    Thank you for your feedback.
    I have no text in the signature, it is ony an image and a link to a website behind the image .

    Can i use the link text as criteria so Outlook 365 does not add the image a second time ?
    I already tried a few things like “if mailbody contains this text” but it did not work, the image was added a second or a third time.

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      Please try using this exception type: subject or body matches these text patterns… and then insert the link text or the name of the picture you add.

      Reply
  18. Mahesh

    Hi,

    Is there any way where original personalized signature will be overwritten by company wide signature?
    Issue is such that email not displaying 2 signatures personal and company wide.

    Reply
  19. Mothusi Mampane

    Hi Pawel,

    I have created the signature transport rule in office365 but when i test it fails to add/apend my credentials. What could be the cause?

    below is the response i get

    {First name} {Last name}
    {Title}
    t: {Phone}
    m: {Mobile}
    e: {E-mail} {Company}
    {Address 1}
    {Address 2}

    {Web page}

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hi Mothusi,
      It seems that the placeholders you use do not have the right format. For example, instead of using {First Name}, you should use %%FirstName%%. The table in this article can help you correct the placeholders’ format.
      You can also use our Free Signature Generator. If you choose Exchange Online as your platform, the generator can give you HTML code with the right placeholders, ready to paste into the mail flow rule.

      Reply
  20. Mike

    Hello – really useful article and chat – thank you.
    Just for clarity – if we create a server side enterprise signature, and a user has a local personal signature – when the compose their message their personal signature will be seen/added, and when the message is actually sent the enterprise signature will also be added – so the recipient may see two signatures the personal one from the sender and the enterprise one – is that correct ?

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      Hello Mike,
      Yes, if users add their own email signature, the server signature will be added, as well. That is unless you create a keyword-based exception.
      The best way to prevent this problem is to inform the users not to insert their own signatures and, just in case, block personal signatures in OWA and Outlook. If you need instructions on how to achieve that, please refer to the articles below:
      How to prevent Outlook from adding signatures
      Disable OWA signatures

      Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      The company-wide solution presented in this article is limited to Exchange Online users. For users who don’t have Office 365, you are limited to an individual, client-side approach.

      Reply
  21. Sebastian

    Is there a way to see if it works without having admin rights?
    I am currently just at this company to help them with thing so i dont have access to the admin page on exchange online.

    Reply
    1. Kamil Glaser

      There is no way to perform administrative tasks in Exchange Online without admin rights.
      If you want to test the disclaimer feature in their environment – you need them to assign you admin rights or ask an admin to configure the disclaimer for/with you.
      If you want to see for yourself how it works and you do not have any access to an Office 365 tenant, you could try creating a test tenant. It includes a fully functional trial period.

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *