This article was first published on February 25, 2019. It’s been updated to reflect the current steps required to get direct links in the listed image and file hosting services.
You might wonder how direct image links or direct URLs are related to email signatures. If you can use an embedded image, you do not have to worry about any links. However, linked images have some upsides: for example, they don’t increase the email size. What is more, there are situations in which linked images are the only available option. To add a linked image, you need a direct URL to it.
[Update]: This blog post was first published on July 13, 2017. It’s been updated to reflect the current steps required for a proper mail flow rule setup in Exchange Online.
Do your email signatures pile up at the bottom of your conversation threads? Well, I have bad news and good news for you. The bad news is that this is the default setup for Microsoft 365 / Office 365 email signatures. The mail flow rule responsible for appending email signatures can insert them at the very top or at the very bottom of the entire email thread. The good news is that there are ways to work around this. Let’s get right into the details.
Using social media icons in an email signature is a must if you want to compete in today’s digitalized world. A company that doesn’t have at least one social media account, may look like it doesn’t even exist in eyes of potential customers. Companies gain trust by posting regularly, by being available and responsive on social media. Including your email communication in the social media strategy is a perfect way to take advantage of all branding and marketing opportunities. And there’s no easier way than simply adding social media icons to your company’s email signature.
[Update]: This article was first published on September 15, 2015. It was completely rewritten to reflect current trends and changes in email signature branding best practices.
We’ve seen how professional, visual-identity-compatible email signatures have evolved from a new trend to marketing and branding basics. Now, only the most conservative companies stick to the old ways and insist on including only first and last name in their email signatures. Most companies have recognized the potential of email signatures for marketing and branding purposes. I’ll show you how best to realize this potential.
The cost of unprofessional email signatures
Email signatures have become more than just a regular, tiny detail of corporate identity. They’re included in every single email every employee sends. It doesn’t matter if you’re in a tech company or not – as long as you send emails, people will judge you based on what your company’s email signatures look like. It shows how much attention the company pays to communication with prospects and partners.
In other words, if your email signature includes, for example:
social media buttons linking to dead profiles or platforms (G+, anyone?),
outdated contact info,
just your name,
recipients will automatically assume that this aspect is out of your company’s control. And it’s quite natural to take assumptions a step further and think that it may not be the only thing beyond control. You lose trust and valuable marketing opportunities. But let’s not focus on what you can lose – let’s see what you can gain.
Advantages of professional email signatures
For ‘not convinced’ ones, let’s see what kind of information you may disclose when you send an email with your optimized signature.
Basic contact details, such as your name, job title, branch, company, phone number, email, location, etc.,
While adding all of those elements into one signature at the same time is not the best plan, the above list should give you an idea on how much you can do with each email your employees send. The elements you add to signature should go with what you want to focus on and who is the final recipient of your message. Keep in mind that a potential customer will use the signature to gain insight about you (as a company). This might be a point where they decide to engage or withdraw from further interaction.
Enhance your company’s visual identity
In general, visual identity is a base on which you build your brand trust. It’s the message you want to send to everyone who interacts with your company. If you want to boost your branding, the signature needs to communicate the same message and comply with your business identity.
Marketers have come to a point in which effective brand promotion is harder than ever. Your target audience often turns a blind eye to advertisements as a rule, use ad blockers, or the campaign simply doesn’t reach them. And there’s no point in great promotional offers if nobody knows about them. Fortunately, email signature marketing lets you bypass those limitations. Most of your recipients are not random people – you know which campaigns can be of their interest. And if you set up the email signature right, marketing banners will always be noticed.
As for the specific elements, your choice will depend on what you want to achieve. Social media links, article links or feeds could show your audience that you provide valuable content on a regular basis (hope you do!). This less direct way of promoting your services or products tends to be effective, since recipients aren’t feeling they are forced to click on your links.
Where to start with email signature branding?
Every journey starts with a single step. In case of email signature marketing, you need to design the signature before doing anything else. There are quite a few difficulties you might face at this point.
After reading the first part, you probably have some ideas on what to include in this branding-friendly and visually optimized email signature of yours. You have the visual identity sorted out and all the needed images are sitting there, ready to shine. Now comes the specific layout of the signature – how to arrange all this data, so that it looks good? And then, you need to convert this signature into HTML, making sure it won’t break in various email clients.
For most people that’s a bit too much. That’s why we’ve brought to you a completely free email signature generator. It lets you easily create professional HTML email signatures, even if you don’t know what HTML code is. And if you just need some inspiration, our signature template gallery lets you download pre-made templates and re-design them however you see fit.
After you’re done, you get a well-designed template for email signature branding purposes. The thing with visual identity and branding is that it doesn’t apply to a single employee only – for the good changes to take an actual effect, they need to be company-wide. So, the final thing is to get a personalized version of this email signature for everyone in the company.
How to set up email signatures for the whole organization?
When setting up signatures for an entire company, you might face some challenges, as the video below shows:
Now you can see, it’s not as simple as it sounds. So, if you need to manage email signatures for all employees, you might need to use a dedicated tool. This way, you could, for example:
ensure unified company-wide branding with no end-user interaction required,
deploy email signatures for all email clients and mobile devices with a few clicks (no HTML knowledge needed),
make sure your branding and marketing content always gets through, thanks to embedded images,
customize signature rules, so that different departments can have different signature elements (while following your visual identity guidelines),
make instant updates to all email signatures at once.
It might be the right time to take your email signature branding to the next level with award-winning solutions.
The celebration time for all Americans is about to begin as the 4th of July is just round the corner. Why is this date so important? Well, something huge happened in American history on that day – back in 1776, the United States declared its independence from Great Britain.
Fourth of July 2022 email signature templates
There are many ways Americans honor this national holiday. Firework displays, picnics, barbecues, and parades are great ideas for outdoor celebrations. To show your festive mood in a professional setting, we encourage you to use one of these free signature templets in your email conversations.
Simplicity and elegance
It’s just classic. A great fit for any business that wants their emails look neat and simple, yet fully compliant. This professional signature template has four clearly distinguished blocks of information. The first one emphasizes user’s name, job title and company website. The second one presents users photo, contact details and social media icons. Then, the Independence Day banner designed specifically for this occasion adds a nice festive feeling to business correspondence. The last part of this template is a disclaimer, an essential element for ensuring legal compliance.
[Update]: This article was first published on March 15, 2016. It’s been updated to reflect the current steps required to set up an email signature on respective platforms.
Back in the day, when Exchange 2016 was released, OWA was replaced with a brand new and shiny Outlook on the web, known from Office 365 (or Microsoft 365, as the name also changed in the meantime). Since then, Outlook on the web went through some visual upgrades, but there wasn’t another name change (yet). What’s interesting is that despite the same name used for both on-premises (Exchange 2016 and Exchange 2019) and cloud environments, those Outlook versions are a bit different. Even though both clients are similar when it comes to setting up signatures, there are some noticeable differences. One of them is the path to the email signature editor.
Microsoft Outlook is the go-to email client for most businesses and enterprises. This is no surprise, as it has been around for decades and managed to become the ‘gold standard’ of this software category in the meantime. Outlook has evolved a lot since its first appearance, leading to its supposedly final form, “Outlook 365”. In this article, I’m going to quickly explain what Outlook 365 stands for and how to set up email signatures in this Microsoft-365-powered email client.
Outlook 365: Outlook for Microsoft 365 vs Outlook on the web (OWA)
It might come as a bit of a surprise, but officially, there’s no such thing as “Outlook 365”. There are two Outlook versions which this name may relate to: Outlook for Microsoft 365 and Outlook on the web. Both come as a part of the Microsoft 365 subscription, which is probably the reason why so many users came to name them “Outlook 365”. This can be very confusing, especially since the name doesn’t explain whether the user means the app installed locally or the webmail version. The name stuck nonetheless and nowadays can be found all over the Internet, including tech community forums and specialist websites.
To be precise, Outlook for Microsoft 365 is the version of the app installed on desktop or laptop computers. It’s the most recent iteration, originating from a long line of apps included in Microsoft Office suites and standalone programs, so you might say it’s the longest known, as it brings to the table all the features and improvements implemented over the years.
Outlook on the web, on the other hand, is the webmail version of Outlook, allowing you to access your email account through your web browser. Besides being part of a Microsoft 365 subscription, it’s also available for organizations using on-premises Microsoft Exchange Server 2016 & 2019. By the way, the name “Outlook on the web” is being used interchangeably with “OWA”. The abbreviation actually stands for “Outlook Web App”, which was the official name of the app used with Microsoft Exchange Server 2013 & 2010, formerly called “Outlook Web Access” in case of Microsoft Exchange Server versions older than 2010. The biggest difference in comparison to Outlook for Microsoft 365 is that you don’t have to install anything on your computer or mobile device to use Outlook on the web.
Now, let’s dive in and have a look at individual processes of setting up email signatures in Outlook for Microsoft 365 and Outlook on the web.
Outlook for Microsoft 365
Follow the steps below to set up an email signature in the desktop Outlook 365:
Open the Outlook for PC app from the Start menu or from the taskbar.
In Outlook, click File > Options.
In the Outlook Options window select the Mail tab and click Signatures in the Compose messages section.
Note: Another way to start configuring your signatures is to open a New Email message, click Signature in the Include group and again Signatures.
In the Signatures and Stationery window, click New and provide a name for your signature.
Create your signature in the Edit signature section. Use available formatting tools to modify its appearance.
Note: The formatting tools offered in the Outlook signature editor are quite basic. If you wish to achieve a more sophisticated and polished design, you can use a free email signature generator to create an advanced signature template. Simply choose Outlook as the target email platform, select one of the many available templates, adjust it to your needs and there you go. Your signature is ready to be copied and pasted into the Outlook editor.
The Choose default signature section can be used to define which email account should get the signature (in case there is more than one email account set up in Outlook), and whether it should be added to new messages and/or replies/forwards. Once you are done, save changes by clicking OK.
In case you selected your signature to be treated as default for new messages, you will see it every time you compose a new email.
Note: If you didn’t select your signature as the default one, you will still be able to add it manually every time you write a new email. It will be available after clicking the Signature button in the Include group.
That’s all there is to it. If you wish to create more Outlook signatures, simply follow the steps from point 3 onwards. You can create as many of them as you need – they will appear on a list visible after clicking the aforementioned Signature button.
Outlook on the web
The steps required to configure email signatures in the ”Outlook 365” webmail client are a bit different than in case of the desktop app:
Open your Outlook on the web either by selecting the Outlook App in your Office home page, or by using this direct link.
Click the Gear icon in the top-right corner and select View all Outlook settings.
In the navigation pane on the left, go to Mail > Compose and reply. You can also use this direct link to reach the signature editor panel. Use the provided editor box to enter your signature text, apply formatting as well as to add images or links.
Note: If you wish to achieve a more refined appearance, you can use a free email signature generator with lots of advanced signature templates that you can fill in with all the necessary details and copy into the editor box in Outlook on the web.
The two drop-down menus under the signature editor let you decide whether the created signature should be added automatically to your new messages and replies/forwards respectively.
Note: It is possible to create and use multiple signatures for a single mailbox – similarly to the Outlook desktop client. Just click the New signature button after you have saved your first signature to create another one.
Once you are done, save changes and close the settings window.
If you select your signature(s) in one of or in both drop-down menus, it will appear in the compose message window as you type your email in the appropriate scenario. In case you left the menus’ default settings (No signature), you will still be able to add your signature manually while composing email.
Limitations of signatures set up by users
As you can see in the above guides, setting up a professional email signature is a fully manual process. From the company’s viewpoint, it comes with some limitations and risks:
If a company cares about their brand and wants to have unified look of their emails, the process needs to be repeated individually for or by everyone within the organization. It’s highly time-consuming, especially when you consider some less proficient users who will require support to properly apply their signatures. Not to mention the recurring efforts in case of any signature updates in the future.
The more users requiring signatures, the higher the risk of incomplete or outdated data, inconsistent design, missing legally required information (no disclaimers or company data).
Creating original, visually appealing (and working properly across different email clients and devices) signatures requires advanced HTML and CSS skills.
Nothing stops users from using wrong personal information or applying custom layout.
Being aware of those limitations, you may want to change the way email signatures are managed in your organization. Instead of leaving this task to users, many companies decide to manage email signatures centrally.
Central management of email signatures
Building and promoting a company’s brand is a continuous process and every employee interacting with customers or business partners needs to be seen as a brand ambassador. Email correspondence takes up a considerable part of that professional interaction, therefore email signatures should not be underestimated. They are a powerful way to convey the sender’s professionalism and tell the recipients whether the organization cares about its image.
Managing email signatures centrally ensures that they are kept under control and stay up-to-date, consistent in design and aesthetic and are personalized across the whole company. This way, email signatures can be carefully crafted (and implemented organization-wide) to send a strong message that helps the brand, promotes offers and supports the business.
It also allows for automation of a rather unexciting task, letting employees focus on their own work instead. Not to mention getting rid of issues connected to user carelessness or lack of technical skills.
Central management via Exchange Online
Exchange Online allows for central management of email signatures and disclaimers for the entire Microsoft 365 organization. It is possible to set up email signatures and legal disclaimers, which are added to email messages that enter or leave your organization. To achieve this, it is necessary to create a mail flow rule (with the Append the disclaimer action specified) that adds the required information to email messages. And since mail flow rules may include many different conditions and exceptions, it is also possible to create separate signature templates for different departments or even specific users.
However, the process might turn out to be troublesome for someone doing this for the first time. That is why we’ve prepared a short video guide explaining:
How to set up an email signature rule in the Exchange admin center.
Where to get the HTML code with Active Directory 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 are possible to make the signature-adding-rule more useful.
Besides the Exchange admin center, it is also possible to achieve similar results using PowerShell and VBScript. The immediate drawback of these two methods is that the former only works for Outlook on the web (OWA) and the latter only for the desktop client.
Although those management methods are better than setting up all email clients separately, they are still not perfect. They come with a lot of limitations:
Lack of a dedicated, user-friendly HTML editor.
No automatic users’ photos in email signatures.
Delegation of signature management is impossible.
Signatures don’t show up directly under replies/forwards.
It’s not possible to use embedded images.
Signatures not visible while typing or in Sent Items.
Blank spaces in signatures in case of missing Active Directory values.
Central management via CodeTwo Email Signatures 365
While the above list seems a long one, overcoming all those limitations is easier than you might think. Although they cannot be fixed natively, a dedicated tool, such as CodeTwo Email Signatures 365, can solve all related issues and do much more for your Microsoft 365 email signatures.
The service reinvents handling email signatures in Microsoft 365 organizations:
Manage all signatures centrally You can use a single rule to apply personalized email signatures to everyone in a Microsoft 365 organization. Signatures are added to emails sent from every device and email client. You can adjust signature templates to look differently for chosen departments or users.
WYSIWYG HTML template editor Easily create advanced email signatures that work on all email clients and mobile devices, automatically convert your signatures into HTML, Plain Text and RTF formats, insert Active Directory placeholders, edit signature layout, change colors and fonts, insert images, logos or Microsoft 365 users’ photos, etc.
Signatures visible while composing emails and in user’s Sent Items folders CodeTwo Email Signatures 365 is the first email signature management software for Microsoft 365 that allows you to preview signatures that will be added in the cloud and to display signatures in users’ Sent Items folders across various devices and email clients.
Support for AAD fields and custom attributes Besides the fields available in Azure Active Directory, you can add custom attributes that are not available in Azure AD, or you can let your end users update their signature information themselves (without impact on the original values stored in AAD).
Embedded logos and images Add company logo and marketing banners as inline attachments. This way, images are not blocked by recipients’ email clients on receiving an email.
User photos in email signatures Add Microsoft 365 users’ photos to email signatures.
Hyperlinks or simply links are at the core of the Internet. They allow you to instantly travel between different places of the Web, or, for example, start a call by clicking on a phone number. Nowadays, links are not limited to websites – they are common in email communications, too. In this article, I am going show you how you can enrich your email signature with different types of links.
Why use links in your signature
An email signature is a perfect carrier of your contact data. Adding a website, blog, or social media links to an email signature lets your recipients conveniently access these resources. Thanks to that, signatures become more interactive and… attractive.
Additionally, you can now use other link types which can facilitate communications between you and your recipients, e.g. ones that let your recipients directly contact you over the phone or an instant messenger.
In general, hyperlinks are an essential element of contemporary email signatures. Using them lets you stay up-to-date with the latest trends, and ensure effective and fruitful communications.
How to make use of links in your signature
In this section, I am going to show you how to add various link types to your email signature. Each type serves a different purpose but, in the end, it all comes down to making your communications more convenient for your recipients.
How to insert a link to a website
A simple, quick, and free way to start is to use our signature generator. Once you choose a template, you can easily add a link to your website, by typing its address in the Website field of the Company Data section. The change will be reflected in the preview and the link will be preformatted to suit the color theme of the signature template. You will be also able to test your link immediately.
If you need more personalization options, copy your signature template from the generator by clicking Apply your signature (see screenshot above) and Copy. Below the Copy button you will see detailed instructions on how to paste the template into your email client’s editor.
In the examples below, I’ll use Outlook 365 but you should easily grasp how to do it in other email clients, as procedures are quite similar.
Going back to the gist (and Outlook 365), if you simply want to change formatting of your link (e.g. color, apply bold, etc.), highlight your website address and use one of the options available in the Outlook’s editor. You can format any link in your email signature in the same fashion.
If you don’t want your recipients to see merely your website address but prefer to use a phrase (e.g. Visit our website) which will be linked, you need to first delete your website address from the signature. Next, enter the phrase (to be linked) and highlight it. Finally, click the button for adding a hyperlink (#2 in the screenshot below), type/paste your website address in the dialog that opens, and click OK. Save your signature template, and close the Outlook’s signature editor.
Keep in mind that Outlook’s editor will change link’s formatting to the default one (blue font with underline applied). So, to finally personalize your linked phrase’s appearance according to your needs, highlight it and use the formatting tools shown in the previous screenshot above.
If you need to insert more links, simply move the cursor to a place where a link is to be inserted, click the button for adding a hyperlink, and fill in all the details (address, text to display). As simple as that.
How to use additional link types
Apart from common website hyperlinks, you can use special types of links that link to phone number, email address or an instant messenger app. Such links are very useful – once clicked or tapped, they automatically take your recipients to an appropriate app, inserting relevant contact information of yours. For example, if someone clicks a link to your email address, their default email client will open with your email address inserted in the To field. Or when a recipient clicks a link to your phone number, a phone app will open with your phone number dialed. This is especially convenient when your recipient reads emails on their mobile phone.
To make use of this type of links, prepare your signature template in our free email signature generator, and next copy and paste it into the signature editor of your email client (e.g. Outlook 365, as shown in the previous section).
Create a link to an email address
Signature editors of the most popular email clients (e.g. Microsoft Outlook, Outlook.com, Gmail.com) usually use smart features to automatically turn the email address in your signature into a link to your email address. However, if your client doesn’t offer such smart solutions or, for whatever reason, fails to apply them, proceed with the instructions below.
Highlight your email address and click the link-adding button. Next, select E-mail Address on the left and in the E-mail address field type mailto: immediately followed by your email address. Optionally, you may provide a phrase which will link to your email address by changing the text in the Text to display field. Finally, click OK, save your signature template, and close the signature editor.
This is the most basic version of the email hyperlink. However, there are many more possibilities (e.g. you can add a predefined email body text). To learn more, read this article.
Create a link to a phone number
Creating a phone hyperlink is fairly similar to the email one. After highlighting the phone number in your signature and clicking the button to insert link, you need to choose Existing File or Web Page on the left and type tel: immediately followed by your phone number. Remember to precede your phone number with the plus sign (+) and your country code. That way, your recipients will be able to reach you over the phone, regardless of which country they call you from.
Examples of other useful link types
Apart from the most popular mailto: and tel: link types, there is also a bunch of other ones, e.g. callto: which initiates a Skype call or sms: which allows your recipients to go straight to their SMS app to send you a text message. Remember, however, that these may not be supported that well and may not always work as intended. Learn more
How to add a link to an image
If your email signature template includes a photo or any other graphical element, you can add a link to it as well. That way, for example, when your recipient clicks your banner, they will be taken to your special offer landing page.
The easiest way to link an image in a chosen signature template, is to use the Graphics section in our free email signature generator. Once there, you need to provide your link(s) in the …linking to field(s). As a result, the images will become linked, clickable elements.
Alternatively, you can add a link to a graphical element in your email client’s editor. This is done similar to adding a basic link to a text. Once your template is copied into the editor, highlight your graphical element and click the link-adding button (#2 in the screenshot below). In the dialog window that opens, type/paste the target address. Finally, save your changes and close the editor.
That’s not the end of the story
This is just the basics. If you’re into HTML (the language of modern signature templates), there’s much more you can do with links. For example, you can download a selected template from mail-signatures.com, manually modify every element of hyperlink’s code, and insert the fully-customized template into your email client.