How to set up server-side email signatures on Exchange 2019?

This article shows a step-by-step guide on how to create an Exchange 2019 central email signature using a native method. Although the native method is not free of limitations, it should help organizations meet basic requirements regarding corporate email signature management.

Note: In the last section of the article, you can find how to overcome the limitations of native email signatures.

Set up email signature on Exchange 2019

Follow the steps below to create an Exchange 2019 email signature:

  1. To start, access the Exchange admin center.
  2. In the Exchange admin center, click mail flow > rules.
    Mail flow rules
  3. Then, click New (the + icon), and Apply disclaimers.
    New rule, apply disclaimer.
  4. A new rule window will open. Before you start creating your signature rule, you can click More options to unlock additional conditions.More options
  5. Provide a name for your rule. Then, in the Apply this rules if… section, select a condition that, if met, will trigger this rule. In my case, this would be The sender > is external/internal.
    Set up conditions for your rule.
  6. In the following window, I set a sender location to Inside the organization, so that the rule applies to all users within the organization.
    Select sender location
  7. If you want to narrow down the extent of your rule, you can click add condition to set up another condition. For example, the recipients is located > Outside the organization. This way only emails sent to external recipients will get the signature.
    Add conditions to rule
  8. Then, in the Do the following section, you should already see a pre-selected action, which is Apply a disclaimer to the message > append a disclaimer. If not, add it as shown in the screenshot below.
    Apply a disclaimer to a message.
  9. Now, enter text of your signature. As there is no WYSYWIG editor, you need to wrap your signature text in HTML code if you want to look it more appealing.
    Specify disclaimer text Note: If you are not fond of creating HTML signature by yourself, you may want to use one of the ready-to-use email signature templates or get help from this free email signature generator (it generates HTML code of a selected signature so you can just copy/paste it to the Exchange text box)
  10. Click Select one to choose a fallback action if the disclaimer can’t be added.
    Select a fallback action for your email signature rule. Note: You can choose from three fallback actions. Wrap is a default value. It adds the original message to a new message as an attachment and inserts the signature to that new message. Ignore takes no notice of the rule so the email doesn’t get the signature. Reject drops the message and notifies the sender with an NDR.
  11. Once your email signature is ready, you can go to other options of the rule, like exceptions, or finish the setup by saving the changes.
    Set up other rule options.
  12. Send a test message to see if the signature works as expected.
    Verify your email signature.

That’s it! Your Exchange Server 2019 email signature is ready to go.

Native Exchange 2019 email signature management limitations

When you manage email signatures using native functionalities, it is worth being aware of a few limitations that come with this solution:

  • Signature text editor – the lack of WYSIWYG signature editor may cause pain when designing complex email signatures. To write a piece of working code that displays signatures correctly on different email clients requires some advanced HTML skills.
  • Signatures always land at the bottom of email thread – when you reply to a message, you would perhaps expect to have the signature added under your response. But, instead, you get the signature inserted at the very end of an email conversation. If exchanging emails goes on, the pile of signatures grows. This is default Exchange behavior.
  • Blank spaces in signatures – user information in signatures is, in most cases, dynamically pulled from Active Directory. However, if some fields in AD have no values, then no information can be pulled into a signature. As a result, the signature contains blank spaces not filled with contact details. For example, you can see empty space instead of the user’s mobile number like “Mobile: [blank space]”.
  • No signatures in Sent Items – native Exchange signatures are added on the server, so after you hit the Send button. Because of that, you will not be able to see your signature in the Sent Items folder to verify whether it looks as expected.

The above examples are only a few of Exchange 2019 signature limitations. If these are not acceptable for your company and you would like to format email signatures via WYSIWYG HTML editor, get signatures added right under the lasted reply or be able to see signatures in Sent Items, you need to use a third-party solution like CodeTwo Exchange Rules Pro.

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