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My company have 10 or so sales reps that all need our email signature that is frequently updated - it contains things like our exhibition dates, any new products logo's we take on etc, so it's a big pain to have to go through the process of explaining how they can update their signatures every time - some even require me to do it on Teamviewer, so it's becoming quite a lengthy process.

Is it possible to host HTML/plaintext (both, ideally!) signatures elsewhere to be embedded in Outlook signatures? I could have sworn I'd seen the feature in Outlook before but can't find it in the latest version.

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5 Answers

up vote 3 down vote accepted

As Outlook will allow you to have HTML pages as signatures a simple solution might be to have local pages with an embedded frame (eg below the person's name) which points to an external webpage which you could update with all of the changing information.

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Hi HaydnWVN, thanks for the answer - decided against this as per my answer below, though your answer will work so I'll mark it as correct for anyone else that might stumble across this. –  Anonymous Apr 11 '12 at 12:12
    
No problem, i've done similar here, but used images hosted on our website for the 'interactive' parts which change. Also hosting the company logo & certifications to reduce overall e-mail sizes, it's upto the recipients if they want to enable image viewing upon receipt. –  HaydnWVN Apr 11 '12 at 12:20
    
Do webmail clients allow you to include frames/iframes in messages? Because I know images are disabled by default, and javascript is always disabled. Seems like allowing iframes would be a big security risk. –  Lèse majesté Apr 11 '12 at 12:27
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Sidenote: Outlook 2000 (+2002/XP) doesn't support the hosted images, it'll always insert the image into the e-mail as an attachment, then prompt people to download it. Outlook 2003, 2007 and 2010 will let you embed the images into the signature aswell as use hosted images. –  HaydnWVN Apr 11 '12 at 12:33
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The best solution is probably to just keep your signature short and simple (no attachments), and just include a link to a page with the product updates/etc. that the recipient can click on if they're actually interested. –  Lèse majesté Apr 11 '12 at 12:47
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If you're using Exchange 2010, you can set a transport rule to append a signature (that you control centrally), which can use HTML formatting. Here is an example using this technique that I've been considering. It has a few disadvantages, such as not being appended to the latest message, and not being able to add images inline, but you can purchase third party tools to deal with some of these issues. One such tool that I've found with good reviews (but have not tried) is CodeTwo's Mail Signatures

Alternatively, you can distribute a VB / Powershell script to (assuming you have shared filespace, here) run / schedule, which updates the users signature based on files (even automatically inserting user details from AD). Here is an example of this approach using Powershell. This is what my company currently uses (I inherited some VB scripts), though I'm considering transitioning to the first approach as our approach is a little unwieldy.

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This is a great answer should it provides two really good solutions. –  Ramhound Jan 25 '13 at 11:55
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I've decided against doing this, as including externally hosted content in signatures will trip most spam filters which is no use. I've created a word file with my signature template in which I'll just have to send to everyone with comprehensive instructions of how to copy and paste it into their email clients.

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You're correct about the spam trip, embedding a hosted image (which you could change) would probably be more acceptable. –  HaydnWVN Apr 11 '12 at 12:21
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There are a few ways of doing this and I've implemented a couple of them. Each depends on your own circumstances of course.

If your user numbers are less than 250 or so I'd suggest using one of the external providers who provide you with email signatures that are appended to the email as it passes through their cloud based service. You can centrally manage everyone's email signatures, disclaimers etc. or you can pass it on to the marketing department, but it definitely gets rid of the headache. The reason I say less than 250 users is that after this number you probably need signatures on internal emails as people don't know each other's details. Try Brand and Sign by The Email Laundry. www.theemaillaundry.com

For more than this number you can look at exclaimer which is software that sits on your exchange.

There are other solutions I've been involved in but these are the simplest to implement that I've experienced so far.

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There is an alternative to hosting it externally, which is to use an email system that lets you automatically update your users' email signatures. For instance, if you use Google Apps, and your company uses Gmail for your company email, then you could simply use the Google Apps API to update everyone's signatures without their intervention.

If you're using a different email client, it's a little trickier. For outlook, here's a script that lets you change the signatures of all users listed in Active Directory. There are also more elegant solutions that fetch signatures from AD and other ways of centrally managing employee signatures. The comments on this blog post lists a few.

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Why are you talking about Google Apps and other email clients besides Outlook when the user is using an Exchange sever and Outlook? –  Ramhound Jan 25 '13 at 11:57
    
@Ramhound: I don't see where the user says he's using Exchange. I mentioned Google Apps as an example of an email setup that lets you easily centralize client configurations, and then I provided a way to do something similar in Outlook. What is wrong with that? –  Lèse majesté Jan 25 '13 at 22:00
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