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December 2006 : outlook


  adding a "signature" to emails

When you write a letter, you usually end it with something that looks like this:

Sincerely yours,

American Patriot and Statesman

Similarly, you can give your e-mail messages a personal touch by ending them with your own unique signature. In the e-mail world, a signature is a text message or file that you use in the closing of an e-mail message. Your online signature can include the following:

Your name, title, and organization Your phone and fax number Your address A link to your Web page Your organization's mission statement, a witty one-liner, or a favorite quote Your organization’s logo Keep reading to learn how to create a signature for your e-mail messages and how to insert it in a message.

To create a signature

Before you begin, plan what information you want to include in your signature, bearing in mind the recipients of the message. For example, you probably don't want to use the same signature for personal and business messages. You may even want to have a few different signatures: business, personal, family and so on.

Once you've got it all planned out, you're ready to begin creating your signature. Select Tools > Options from the menu. You can control many elements in Outlook here, but for now, concentrate on the Mail Format tab.

Click the Mail Format tab and notice the Signature area at the bottom of the dialog box. This is where you create new signatures, and control which signatures are inserted into a message.

Click the Signatures button. The Signature dialog box appears. If signatures have already been created in your Outlook account, the selected signature and its preview appear in the dialog box. If there aren't any signatures yet, the dialog box will be empty.

Click the New button. The Create New Signature dialog box opens. First, type the signature's name in the dialog box. Then choose if you want to start with a blank signature or use an existing file or template. (You will probably start with a blank signature most of the time.) Click Next to begin creating the signature.

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  quick jump

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The Edit Signature dialog box is where you enter the text you want to appear in the signature. This is also the place to go if you want to change a signature after creating it. Once you've inserted all the required information in the signature, you can close the dialog box. Click Finish and close the remaining open dialog boxes.

To insert a signature

Once you have created a signature, there are two ways to use it in a message:

  • Assign it as the default signature so it is automatically included at the end of every message, or…

  • Apply a signature to individual messages. To set Outlook so that it automatically includes a signature at the end of every message, select Tools > Options from the menu. Click the Mail Format tab. In the Signature section at the bottom of the dialog box, click the “Use this signature by default” list arrow (“Signature for new messages” in Outlook 2002 and 2003) and select the signature you want to add to the end of each e-mail message. Click OK.

While setting a signature as the default is a good way to ensure information is attached at the end of a message, you may not always want to use that signature in your message.

To insert a signature in a single message, just click the Signature button on the message toolbar and select the signature from the list. Or select Insert > Signature from the menu.


  quick reference card

Get the Quick Reference Card on Microsoft Outlook!  Download it for free and print it on your own printer.  You might even want to laminate it.

  schedule a class on Outlook

Request an on-site Outlook class from Applied Office sometime next year to help your employees get more out of this great tool.  Sessions are just $95/hr and your employees will love learning how to better organize their emails, contacts, appointments, and tasks.

Learn more here.

  getting too much junk mail?

One of my clients is MX Resources, a reseller of the award-winning Postini junk mail filtering service.  If your current spam filtering isn't working, visit the MX Resources website and give Matthew a call.