Thursday, November 29, 2012

Adding Signatures and Disclaimers to Email in Exchange Online

Hello all. It took me a couple of weeks to post again because my little daughter was just born and I have been enjoying my time with her.

Today, I will show you how to add signatures and a disclaimer to email messages in Exchange Online. Users can create their own signature and/or disclaimer using Outlook, but signatures created in this way are not centralized and may be not  applied or need to be recreated in OWA or in the mobile devices. Exchange Online has a feature out-of-the-box to manage signatures and disclaimers in a centralized way.

There is a handful of good applications out there that also do this (Exclaimer Signature Manager is one of my favorites); but most of the time, especially in small and medium businesses, managers just want to add a disclaimer or a common signature to all their users without buying third party applications. To accomplish this request, we will use Exchange transport rules.

Transport rules are organization wide and they are applied after messages are created by the end user and before they are delivered to the next email server.

Let’s get started!

The first step is to design and create the HTML code for the signature. You can use any HTML editor for this. If your signature includes CSS, make sure it is included inline with the HTML tags and not as a reference on the top of the page. In this example, I will create the HTML code for the following signature and disclaimer:

In order to replace the user’s name and other information, we can use “predicatives”, which are tags that are replaced by the values of the different Exchange user attributes values. In Exchange Online, the following attributes are allowed:
CustomAttribute1 toCutomAttribute15

In order to replace them by the subjacent value, we enclose them with %%. Thus, to get a signature for the previous example, the following HTML code is generated:

<table border="0" cellspacing="0" cellpadding="2" width="300px">
      <td colspan="2" style="font-family:'Franklin Gothic Medium', 'Arial Narrow', Arial, sans-serif;font-size:16pt;color:#F55200;" >
            Carpio Consulting Co.
      <td style="width:150px;font-family:'Franklin Gothic Medium', 'Arial Narrow', Arial, sans-serif;font-size:10pt;color:gray;vertical-align:top;">
      <td style="width:150px;font-family:'Franklin Gothic Medium', 'Arial Narrow', Arial, sans-serif;font-size:10pt;color:gray;vertical-align:top;">
                  %%City%%, %%State%% %%ZipCode%%<br/>
                  fax %%FaxNumber%%
<p style="font-size:8pt; line-height:10pt; font-family:Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif,'times roman',serif;">This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual(s) addressed in the message. If you are not the named addressee, you should not disseminate, distribute, or copy this e-mail. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, distributing, or copying this e-mail is strictly prohibited.  </p>

Now that we have the HTML code, the next step is to create the actual transport rule. You can do this by going to the Exchange online Control Panel, then clicking on Mail Control on the left. Click on Rules and then click on New...

On the following screen, under the If field, click on the drop down list and select “The sender is…” Select the users you want to apply the rule on.

In the “Do the following” drop down list, select “Add a disclaimer to the message…” Click on “Enter text” and paste the HTML code here.

Under the fallback action, click on “Select one…” and select one action. For this example, I recommend to use “Wrap”. In case the disclaimer cannot be added to the message, the message is wrapped into a new message and the disclaimer is added to this new message. Other options are Ignore (no action) or Reject (message is not delivered and the sender receives a NDR).

The resultant rule will look like the following image:

Finally, you need to enable the rule. To do this, just check the box that is next to the rule name in the rules page:

Now, all messages sent by those users, will have the signature and attachment appended to them, no matter if they are sent by Outlook, OWA or a mobile device.

Tip. You can create groups and assign users to them. Then you can create different rules and apply them to the groups (use the “If the sender is a member of…” option). Thus, you can create different disclaimer and signatures for different departments for instance. Be aware that if a user is member of more than one of those groups, more than one disclaimer will be applied to his messages in the order the rules are shown.

Tip. You can create disclaimer rules for campaigns or holidays and disable them when the camping or holiday is over.

I hope you enjoyed this post!


  1. Great information you have shared with us and I agree with quality Email services provided by
    Email Marketing Services

  2. Email signatures are highly used and popular these days. These are also considered as one of the promising marketing tool. Thanks to you for this quick detail about how to add signatures in email.
    electronic signatures