How to set up automatic email disclaimers on Exchange 2007

Exchange 2007 was the first edition of Microsoft’s messaging platform to introduce Hub Transport rules and with them a built-in append disclaimer action. The options available in this action are very basic, the most important limitation being lack of support for dynamic Active Directory fields (see this article for more). Due to this, the action can only be used for creating automatic disclaimers (legal, financial, etc.) and general company signatures without users’ details.

Once you have the Hub Transport role installed on your Exchange 2007 server you can start working on automatic disclaimers for your organization.

Steps to set up automatic email signatures and disclaimers on Exchange 2007:

  1. Open the Exchange Management Console, expand Organization Configuration, select Hub Transport, click the Transport Rules tab in the middle Result Pane and in the Actions Pane on the right click New Transport Rule… (Fig. 1). This will trigger the New Transport Rule creation wizard.

    Creating a new transport rule on Exchange 2007
    Fig. 1. Creating a new transport rule on Exchange 2007.

  2. In the first step of the New Transport Rule creation wizard type in your new rule’s name and description. Check the Enable Rule box to activate the rule automatically upon completing the wizard. Keep in mind that you can also enable the rule later on. Click Next > when ready (Fig. 2).

    New Transport Rule: name and description
    Fig. 2. New Transport Rule: name and description.

  3. In the second step you can define what conditions will have to be met by a message for the action to be applied to it. After checking a box next to a condition in the Select condition(s) section, you can further edit the condition by clicking on the blue underlined phrases in the Edit the rule description by clicking an underlined value section and choosing the value you want. There are many conditions to choose from, but in my case ‘from users Inside the organization and ‘sent to users Outside the organization’ will get the job done. Click Next > when ready (Fig. 3).

    Specifying new transport rule conditions
    Fig. 3. Specifying new transport rule conditions.

  4. In the third step check the append disclaimer using font, size, color with separator and fallback to action wrap if unable to apply action and edit the details in the window below (Fig. 4). Click Next > when ready.The only value you have to provide is the disclaimer text (Fig. 5). The remaining values are set by default and can be modified optionally:
    • append: this option gives you 2 values to choose from – prepend and append; choose prepend to have to disclaimer inserted as a header and append to insert the disclaimer as a footer.
    • Arial: select the font face for your disclaimer.
    • smallest: select font size.
    • Gray: select font color.
    • with separator: inserts a horizontal line separating the disclaimer from the body of the email; choose without separator to insert the disclaimer without the horizontal line.
    • wrap: specify what action will be performed when the disclaimer cannot be applied to a message; 3 values to choose from – wrap (disclaimer applied to new email with original message attached), ignore (original message delivered without disclaimer), reject (original message blocked, sender receives an NDR with details).

    Configuring an automatic legal disclaimer for Exchange 2007 mail
    Fig. 4. Configuring an automatic legal disclaimer for Exchange 2007 mail.

    Specifying disclaimer text on Exchange 2007
    Fig. 5. Specifying disclaimer text on Exchange 2007.

  5. In the fourth step choose what exceptions will have to be met by a message for the disclaimer not to be applied to it (Fig. 6). Click Next > when ready.

    Defining exceptions in a new Exchange 2007 transport rule
    Fig. 6. Defining exceptions in a new Exchange 2007 transport rule.

  6. The fifth and sixth steps are a formality. Read your rule’s summary and click New (Fig. 7). The wizard will notify you about the result of the action (Fig. 8). Click Finish when ready.

    New Transport Rule summary
    Fig. 7. New Transport Rule summary.

    New Transport Rule successfully created
    Fig. 8. New Transport Rule successfully created.

    If in the first step you checked the Enable Rule box, your rule will have been activated without need for additional actions. When composing a message users will not see the disclaimer – it will be added when the message is processed by the Exchange Transport Rule Agent.

    If you didn’t check the Enable Rule box, right-click the rule in the list of transport rules and select Enable rule. By right-clicking the rule entry you can also disable the rule, remove it, access the wizard to modify it and get help (Fig. 9).

    Transport rule management options
    Fig. 9. Transport rule management options.

Limitations and software tips

Exchange Server 2007 allows for stamping emails with disclaimers containing only static text with minimal formating (see point 4. above). If you want to be able to use signatures that include:

  • images, graphics and photos,
  • users’ personal Active Directory data (including photos),
  • hyperlinks,
  • HTML elements, such as font formatting, tables, backgrounds, text allignement, etc.,
  • social media icons,
  • qr codes and other dynamic content,

you will need a 3rd party application like CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2007. Among its additional perks are:

  • built-in WYSIWYG HTML editor
  • rule scheduler
  • option to insert signatures/disclaimers directly under last email reply/forward
  • emails in users’ Sent Items folders updated with added footers
  • 30-day fully functional free trial

CodeTwo also offers the more advanced CodeTwo Exchange Rules PRO: a complete Exchange mail management suite enabling the administrator full control over email routes, content, signatures and attachments.

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