Tag Archives: email signatures

All about canned responses in Outlook, part 2: Outlook templates & email signatures

Canned responses part 2 - Outlook templates, OFT, email signatures

Canned responses can make your job much easier. They save you from having to do repetitive work and make it quicker to provide helpful answers to recurring questions. This article shows how to use canned responses with Outlook email templates (OFT files as well as with the My Templates add-in) and with email signatures. At last, I’ll show you how to manage canned responses for the whole team or organization at the same time.

This is the second part of the article about canned responses in Outlook. See part 1 in which I explain how to use Outlook Quick Parts.

Outlook templates (OFT)

There are two kinds of Outlook templates: OFT and My Templates. I’ll dive into the first variant first, as it is the better-known one.

OFT (Outlook file template) is a separate file which contains not only the email body but can also include a subject that you define. Here’s how to use them:

  1. To create a new OFT file, start composing a new email in Outlook. Once you prepare your email contents, click File and Save as.
Outlook - new OFT template
  1. Now, from the Save as type dropdown, choose Outlook Template. Type in a file name and save the file.
Outlook - new OFT template - save as OFT
  1. To use a saved Outlook email template, click New Items > More Items > Choose Form.
Outlook - use Outlook email template
  1. Finally, from the Look In dropdown, choose User Templates in File System, click the appropriate template and then click Open.
Use Outlook email template

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • They support all the formatting options.
  • Fine for new emails.
  • Can be used in Outlook rules as an automatic response.

Cons:

  • Extremely troublesome to use them for replies and forwards (and canned responses are, by definition, replies).
  • No way to insert them directly into a reply.
  • Don’t work in Outlook on the web.
  • No way to centrally manage them for a team or the whole organization.

My Templates in Outlook

My Templates is a built-in Outlook add-in which lets you add canned responses similarly to Quick Parts, but I find it a bit more intuitive. Here’s how it works:

  1. In a message composing window (it works in email preview, too), click the View Templates button. In the desktop Outlook, it’s located in Message > My Templates, while in Outlook on the web, you need to click more options (the tree dots icon) and then My Templates.
Outlook desktop - My Templates button
Outlook on the web - My Templates button_2
  1. In both Outlook email clients, clicking this option will show up a new pane to the right. To add a new canned response, click the plus (Template) icon.
Outlook on the web - add a new template
  1. Now, the My Template editor has no formatting options. You can use keyboard shortcuts to make slight adjustments (like Ctrl+B for bold), but it’s easiest to simply compose your canned response in the standard Outlook new message window and paste the contents here. Click Save when you’re done.
Outlook on the web - save a new template
  1. After your template is saved, all you need to do is open the My Templates add-in and click the template you want to use.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Similarly to Outlook Quick Parts, it’s easy to use.
  • Can be used if you reply in the email preview pane (you don’t have to open the message in a new window).
  • Works for both desktop Outlook and Outlook on the web.

Cons:

  • The editor does not support any formatting options. You can paste formatted text and images into the add-in pane, but it will not be displayed correctly in the preview box.
  • There’s no way to centrally manage canned responses for a team or entire company.

Email signatures

I won’t elaborate on how to add and use email signatures. You can refer to this guide if you need instructions on how to set them up.

The email signature feature is usually used for your professional HTML email signature. They often include contact details, company branding, a marketing banner, maybe a legal disclaimer. But if you dare to think a bit out of the box, the signatures feature is perfect for canned responses.

Pros and cons

Pros:

  • Support all the formatting elements and images.
  • Work in desktop Outlook and Outlook on the web.
  • Can be managed centrally for a team or entire organization!

Cons:

  • By default, you can set up only one email signature in Outlook on the web. However, in the next section I will show you how to fix that with a third-party tool.

Centrally manage canned responses for your team

If you want to centrally manage canned responses (via email signatures) for your team using native options, you can use the following solution:

VBScript: create an HTML Outlook email signature for the whole company – this method uses GPO to create personalized HTML email signatures for the whole company. You can use it to deploy canned responses as well. It deploys signatures to Outlook for Windows. The problem with this solution is that it requires some scripting and HTML knowledge. It also personalizes signatures based on local AD, which is a problem if you use Azure Active Directory. It’s also quite problematic when it comes to updates.

Fortunately, there is a third-party alternative which doesn’t suffer from those limitations.

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 lets you create email signatures for the whole company directly from a web browser.

One of the out-of-the-box examples of use is to manage canned responses for a team or the whole company. You can set up as many canned responses as you need. They can include the message body itself as well as a signature and a relevant disclaimer. Each user (or users belonging to certain groups) will be then able to pick the canned response directly in their Outlook or Outlook on the web.

How to use email signatures as canned responses – see this guide to learn how to set it up.

Email signatures in Dark Mode

Email signatures in dark mode can look really funny (or scary if you like) if they don’t support the dark-mode environment. Well, this may be funny if you are the recipient of such a signature. You can look at it and roll your eyes or just smile when seeing a serious company sending you an email where the signature looks like chaos in your dark-mode-enabled Outlook or OWA. But what if you run this serious business and use email signatures that don’t support dark mode? Don’t worry. After reading this article, you will know how to look at your email signature to save your face in front of customers and business partners if they enabled dark mode in their email clients.

Continue reading

Zoom in on Zoom – online meeting invitations in emails

Online meetings are becoming an increasingly important form of communication between companies and their business partners. One of the popular platforms that enable you to host such online events is Zoom. In this article, we will discuss how to make the most out of your online meetings by effectively inviting everyone you think should attend and keeping them up to date on details using email signatures.

Continue reading

VCards in email signatures

While most people consider vCards as obsolete (or have no idea what they are) others use it on a daily basis in their email communication. So what exactly are those vCards? Why use QR-coded vCards in email signatures? And how to do that? Read on to find out.

How to add vCards to email signatures
Continue reading

How to create Outlook 2019 signature?

This article shows how to create and set up client-side email signatures in Outlook 2019. If you have an older version of Outlook, see how to create signatures in Outlook 2016/2013/2010.

How to create Outlook 2019 signature

Create email signature in Outlook 2019

Creating email signatures in Outlook 2019 is easy. The only inconvenience you may encounter is that the Outlook’s signature editor has rather basic set of formatting tools. To set up email signature in Outlook 2019, simply follow these steps:

Continue reading

How to manage company-wide 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.

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

Set up email signature on Exchange 2019

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

Continue reading

All you need to know about fonts in email signatures

What fonts are best for email signatures?

[Update]: Last updated on November 27, 2019.

Every element of a signature block plays an important role. Contact details, user’s photo, images, hyperlinks, social media icons, or font need to go together to make the signature look professional. One of the basic elements that can significantly impact the signature’s readability and visual perception is an improper font. That is why, in this article, I will discuss the best fonts for email signatures.

Best fonts for email signatures

To choose the best font for your email signature, you need to look for one of the safe fonts. By “safe fonts”, I mean fonts that are available on most devices. No matter if this is PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad or Android – you can be pretty sure that the font you use in your signature is also installed on the recipients’ side. This will guarantee that the signature template will look just the way you see it on your screen.

Continue reading