Email signatures have always been there, along with problems connected with using them. Ensuring that all users have the same signature and disclaimer template requires some effort. Fortunately, Exchange 2010 enables central management of signatures and disclaimers. This option makes the task of unifying signatures much easier. However, you have to keep in mind that you cannot do everything using native tools only. Here is the list of drawbacks that Exchange 2010 centrally managed signatures have:
No WYSIWYG HTML editor. Graphic designers do not have to be skilled HTML code users. Therefore, it requires a highly skilled and versatile person to make genuine graphics and ensure that they display in a neat, appealing way. The email signature editor looks like that:
So it’s a good thing that Microsoft Exchange platforms offer several means of controlling the email footer situation in your network. The most popular one is the Apply disclaimers feature available via Exchange transport rules, which I’ve talked about extensively on this blog (see respective guides for Exchange Online, 2016, 2013, 2010 and 2007).
Another way of deploying email signatures from one place across an Exchange organization, is using the Set-MailboxMessageConfiguration PowerShell cmdlet with the -SignatureHTML parameter.
This method allows you to populate the Email signature box in end-users’ Outlook Web App / Outlook on the Web clients with any type of HTML content: text, tables, images, links, etc.
Below you will find details on what you have to do to set up your own server-level automatic email signature or disclaimer using the built-in Office 365 tool.
A little info about the tool: like most today’s email signature solutions, it supports HTML content such as tables, images and font formatting, but In contrast to e.g. Google Apps for Business, it also allows for automatic personalization of individual signatures. Limitations include no option to insert the signature directly below the latest email reply or forward and lack of preview on the end-user’s side (learn more…).
Steps to set up an email signature policy in Office 365:
Log in to the Office 365 portal using an Exchange Online administrator account and access the Microsoft 365 admin center as shown in the below image:
Expand Admin centers and click Exchange.
Fig. 1. The Exchange option in the Microsoft 365 admin center menu.
Possibly the biggest surprise brought about by the release of Exchange 2016 is… how similar it is to Exchange 2013. In fact, in terms of email signature management it’s pretty much identical (if you’re familiar with the 2013 version of Microsoft’s email server, you’ll see what I mean). However, many of you may have never had the opportunity to poke around Exchange 2013, so let’s get to work:
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:
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.
Fig. 1. Creating a new transport rule on Exchange 2007.
In this article I explain how to set up a company-wide email signature using Exchange 2010 Transport Rules in 7 steps. Note that this method has its limitations, such as not displaying the signature in users’ Sent Items folders and no way to add the signature under latest messages in email chains (learn more…).