Nowadays, similar to other holidays, Halloween has become not only a time for family celebration, but also a great business opportunity. Let’s back it up with some figures from US’s National Retail Federation (NRF). From 2015, the total Halloween spending in the US has been generally on increase (except for 2020 due to the COVID-19’s impact). It amounted to $6.9billion in 2015 and rose to $8.4billion in 2016 to eventually reach $9.1billion in 2017. The following years saw the stabilization of the trend at around $8-9billion. In 2021, Americans are expected to spend up to $10.1billion in total.* Obviously, masks and costumes are still very popular products but, interestingly, party food and drinks are now having the greatest share.Continue reading
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:
- To create a new OFT file, start composing a new email in Outlook. Once you prepare your email contents, click File and Save as.
- Now, from the Save as type dropdown, choose Outlook Template. Type in a file name and save the file.
- To use a saved Outlook email template, click New Items > More Items > Choose Form.
- Finally, from the Look In dropdown, choose User Templates in File System, click the appropriate template and then click Open.
Pros and cons
- They support all the formatting options.
- Fine for new emails.
- Can be used in Outlook rules as an automatic response.
- 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:
- 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 three dots icon) and then My Templates.
- 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.
- Now, the My Templates 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.
- 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
- Similarly to Outlook Quick Parts, it’s easy to use.
- Can be used if you reply in the email preview pane (you don’t need to open the message in a new window).
- Works for both desktop Outlook and Outlook on the web.
- 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.
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
- 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!
- 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.
Microsoft 365 lets you set up email signatures and disclaimers for the entire company. The setup process includes the native mail-flow rule mechanism and the Append Disclaimer option. As a result, your company can centrally manage message footers, legal disclaimers, and email signatures in Microsoft 365. The problem is, the process includes a few steps which aren’t exactly intuitive if you are setting them up for the first time.
That’s why we’ve created a step-by step video guide, which shows you how to easily set up email signatures in the new Exchange admin center.
And if you’d like to learn more about central management of email signatures in Microsoft 365, read on.
How does it work?
Mail flow rules used to set up an organization-wide email signatures are applied to messages when they are sent from your Microsoft 365 organization. Here’s how it works in practice:
- A Microsoft 365 admin sets up the email signature rule in the Exchange admin center.
- Users send emails, but they do not see any signatures in their email client.
- Exchange Online adds the signatures to the bottom of each email sent, substituting AD placeholders with the user’s personal data.
- The recipient gets the email with the signature applied.
The video shows how to add a unified email signature to all emails, but you can adapt the solution to your needs. Since mail flow rules include many different conditions and exceptions, you can use them to create different signature templates for various teams or even specific users.
Why manage email signatures centrally?
So, how is this better than letting users set up email signatures on their own?
Building and promoting your brand is a continuous process. Each interaction with your customers, leads or partners is an opportunity to promote your products and services or simply make a good impression. Unifying your email signatures helps you make sure that no such opportunity is lost due to user carelessness or lack of technical skills.
Unless you leave the management of email signatures to your Marketing or Communications Team, you will not achieve consistent results. Some users will stray from the template you provide, while others will not set up the signature at all. There will also be those who encounter various technical problems during setup.
And even if all users manage to create their email signatures successfully, they will remain in charge of keeping everything up to date and updating them whenever needed. As a result, manual email signature setup becomes a major, extremely time-consuming distraction. Learn more
Managing email signatures in Microsoft 365 centrally allows you to turn every user into a brand ambassador. It also allows you to automate a rather uninteresting task, letting your employees focus on their own work instead.
The limitations of Microsoft 365 mail flow rules
Using mail flow rules to manage email signatures and disclaimers is better than letting users handle them on their own. The problem is, using mail flow rules to manage email signatures is not the perfect solution. There are numerous limitations of this native mechanism, for example:
- Embedded images cannot be added to the signatures. This means that most recipients will not see any graphics when they first open your emails.
- Signatures cannot be placed directly under the latest replies and forwards. They are applied at the very bottom of the conversation, which often renders them useless in longer email threads.
- Users cannot see their signatures and disclaimers before they send their emails or in their Sent Items folders.
- Outdated or empty AD fields cannot be replaced or omitted. As a result, if a user doesn’t have some attributes assigned, it is impossible to use a default value instead or remove the signaling phrase.
How to overcome native limitations
You can overcome the native limitations and do much more by managing your email signatures via a dedicated service such as CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365. See the product’s page to learn more and test the service for free or watch this short video to learn why companies choose our software:
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
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
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.Continue reading
In this article, you will find out how to automatically and globally add NMLS unique numbers to email signatures in Office 365. For this, you will need a subscription to CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 – a cloud-based service for central email signature management in Office 365.Continue reading
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.
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:
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: