Alternative Use of Outlook’s Email Signature Feature

Today’s tip comes to us via a work colleague… I didn’t know that the Signature feature in Outlook could be used in so many different ways! Check out the two links below for details on how to create, use, and manage signatures.

The key to inserting any of your signatures in an email is to place your cursor within the body of the email (wherever you’d like the signature text to go) and select Insert > Signature.

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And now… on to the tip…

One of the cool things about many software functions and features is that they can often be used for purposes other than they were originally intended. One such function that can provide multiple uses is the Signature feature in Outlook.

Note: If you’re not familiar with how to define and use “Signatures” in Outlook, see these two good references:

Create a Custom Email Signature in Outlook

Creating, Using and Managing Signatures

Beyond a Signature

In addition to defining one or more “email signatures,” you can define other “messages” that can be quickly accessed when writing an email or responding to an email. In recent versions of Outlook, your personalized signatures can include not only text but rich text, images and other types of media.

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Here are a few of the ways I use Outlook’s Signature feature:

Providing Links to Certain Documents

I’m often asked to share certain information and links to information. In those instances I create a signature with that information so the information is readily available when someone asks for it.

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Responding to Vendors

While I generally ignore inquiries from 3rd parties trying to sell me something, some vendors are very persistent and won’t go away until I tell them I’m not interested. When this happens, I select my “Vendor Thanks but No Thanks” signature.

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Some Other Ideas:

Sharing Information about Your Team

Include an overview of what your team does including roles and key contacts. Add links to your teams SharePoint site.

Plug an Upcoming Event

Share information about an upcoming event or conference.

Use it as a “Parking Lot” or Scratchpad

If find yourself regularly typing the same information when creating or responding to an email, just key all that info into a signature so it’ readily available when you are crafting your message. To my knowledge, there’s not a practical limit to what can be stored in an Outlook email signature. So you can define one signature – call it “Working Storage” and use it to store all the bits and pieces of info you regularly use.

To be sure there are other approaches and tools to effect the same functionality but the nice thing about putting it in a signature is that the info is always just three quick clicks away.

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