Just like with a note or letter, a written communication should include a signature. Now that so much has gone digital, emails have become a common way to communicate, for both business and pleasure. And, a signature at the end of your message can make all the difference. This is especially important in the business world.
We’ve previously explained the benefits of email signatures, including openness to communicate and professionalism as well as providing a networking and promotional tool. All of this can be done with a simple signature that includes your name and contact information, and optionally, your website and business address.
This being said, if you use Outlook for your emails then creating a signature is super easy. It does not take much time, offers flexibility, and can provide you with multiple signatures for business and personal communications.
How to Add a Signature in Outlook
If you are unsure how to create a signature in Outlook, you must first access the setup screen. You can open this area in two different ways in the Outlook desktop application.
- The first method is to click File > Options > Mail. You should see the option for Signatures and just hit that button.
- The second way to access the setup window is on the email composition screen. Select the Insert tab, the Signatures dropdown box, and pick Signatures.
Both of these methods will bring you to the Signatures and Stationery screen. This is where you will create your signature and configure its settings.
How to Create a Signature
To begin with your first signature creation, make sure that you are on the E-mail Signature tab in the setup window. Then, select the email account you want to use on the right, if you have more than one address set up. Remember, you can create multiple signatures for multiple accounts.
Click New, which should be the only accessible button if there are no other signatures yet.
Next, you will need to give your signature a name. This is as important as it is handy if you plan to set up more than one signature. For instance, you may choose to have different signatures for new messages and replies or for in-office and out-of-office messages. So, try to use a meaningful name that you will recognize at a glance.
How to Format a Signature
Now comes the fun part, creating a standout email signature in the text editor. Of course, you can keep it simple by just inserting your name and contact information. But you can use the tools available to change the font style and size, format the text, change its color, and align it to the left, right, or center.
If you want to make those adjustments, you can use the tools before typing your signature or after. Let’s start by clicking inside of the Email Signature text box and typing your signature to make the changes afterward. Then, we will look at the other options to insert a business card, image, or link.
For changing text in the signature after you type it, just select the text and make changes to the font style, size, formatting, or color. For example, maybe you would like your name to appear larger and in an elegant font. Or perhaps you would like your business name and phone number to display in your company colors.
One nice feature of creating your signature in the Outlook desktop is that if you want to add a link to a website, the application does it for you automatically. For instance, if you begin typing “www.” and then the rest of the URL, when you hit the Enter key, the text is linked to the site for you.
Alternatively, you can link the text yourself and use different language with the Hyperlink button. This allows you to compose any text you like and link it. As an example, you may want your company name to appear as it is but link it to the company’s website.
To do this, select the text and click the Hyperlink button at the top of the editor. Under Link To make sure that Existing File or Web Page is selected, confirm the text to display at the top, and then enter the URL at the bottom, in the Address field. Click OK and you’re set.
You will notice that you can also link to an email in that same box, which is another handy way to format your email address. You can even include a subject line so that you know the message is from a user who clicked your address in the email. Just note, the user can likely adjust that subject line with their own application.
Another great way to make your signature stand out is by inserting an image. The most common use for this is for your company logo. And many businesses actually require their logo to be in your signature. Either way, adding this is just as easy as adding a link.
Move your cursor to the spot in your signature where you want the image and click the Image button. Browse for your file in the popup window, select it, and hit Insert. That’s it, your image is then inserted into your signature.
If you realize after inserting the image that it could use some formatting, you can do this too. Just double-click on the image to open the formatting window. Then, you can adjust the size or colors and lines, as well as enter alternate text and crop the image.
Another terrific way to format an image in your signature is to link it. This way, your recipient can just click the logo and head right to your company website. To do this, add the image and insert the link with the above steps.
While maybe not as common as the other formatting tools, the option to add a business card is available. Just put your cursor where you want it, click the Business Card button, select the location in the Look in dropdown box, and click OK.
If you have a business card saved that includes your name, job title, and company name, this is a convenient way to add those details quickly.
How to Configure a Signature
One final piece after you create your signature is to decide when it should be used. You have already chosen the email address to attach it to, but there is more. You can use the signature for new messages, replies and forwards, or both. And, you can create different ones for each.
For instance, if you have a signature that includes much detail along with your name, you might not want all of that included when you are simply replying or forwarding an email to someone. At that time, you may just want a simple “thank you” along with your first name instead.
So, you would keep the name of your new email signature in the New messages area and then create another new signature and select its name in the Replies/forwards box. Keep in mind that these choices will be inserted into your emails by default but can be changed in the email before you send it.
How to Use a Different Signature
Now that you have your default signatures set, you do not have to worry about inserting them when you compose, reply, or forward a message. But, what if you want to use a different signature in that particular email?
In the new message window, click the Insert tab. Then, select the Signatures dropdown box and pick the signature you want to use. You will then see your choice pop right into your email replacing the default.
How to Change a Signature in Outlook
You may have all of your signatures set up now, but realize you need to make a change. How do you edit an existing signature? This is just as simple as creating one.
Once again, access the signature set up window by clicking File > Options > Mail. Or on the email composition screen, select the Insert tab, the Signatures drop-down box, and pick Signatures.
Then, pick the name of the signature in the Select signature to edit box. Make your changes within the editor and then click Save. You can also rename your signature from this area too if needed. Click Rename, give it a new name, and click Save.
Signatures Are for More Than Business Emails
You may be in a situation where your company has strict rules for email signatures and formatting. Or perhaps you just prefer to keep your signatures simple for professional reasons. But email signatures are not just for business and with the tools Outlook offers, you can make your personal emails fun and creative.
Here are just a few suggestions.
Add some holiday cheer to emails you send to friends and family. You can pop in a cute holiday image, add a cheerful closing, and spruce up your signature with festive colors.
Include motivation, inspiration, or good old humor with a quote. You can make any words look fancy or funny with the formatting tools in Outlook.
Show your team spirit for football, basketball, or baseball season. You can insert a photo of your favorite team, link it to their official website, and use the team colors for a cool effect.
Don’t Forget the Web
If you occasionally access your Outlook account on the web, you can add a default signature there too.
Click the gear icon at the top to open your settings. Then, select Options > Mail > Layout > Email signature.
While you can currently only create and use one signature on the Outlook site, you can still format it, add images and links, and configure it to the message type.
Share Your Signature Tips and Suggestions
For business emails, signatures can be simple, attractive, and useful all at the same time. They give your recipients an easy way to see your contact information and visit your company website. For personal emails, signatures can be unique, fun, and entertaining. They can show personality and spirit.
What tips do you have for others regarding email signatures? Do you have a general rule you would like to share for business messages or a creative idea you want to suggest for personal emails? Share your thoughts with us below.