How to manage email signatures on Exchange Server 2010

Adam the 32-bit AardvarkSoftware Developer
Microsoft Exchange Server, Office 365 and Outlook expert with a penchant for tech forums. Looking forward to sharing skills and knowledge.
Unified and professional email signatures help maintain a consistent company brand image to the outside world. This article shows how to create an email signature in Exchange Server 2010 using a transport rule and how to overcome native limitations using CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010.

Consistent and professional email signatures can become one of the company’s best, trust winning, assets. Exchange 2010 allows you to go a little beyond the standard, enhancing its central configuration with additional properties. In this article, I will walk you through the Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 signature central management elements.

Exchange Server signatures and disclaimers are deployed to e-mail messages by means of transport rules. Initially created to equip administrators with tools that facilitate the implementation of limits and rules to company’s email communication, they also carry out the possibility to add HTML text disclaimers to messages. To generate a new transport rule over your Exchange Server, you will need to complete the configuration of three general components: set specific actions (like appending signatures), determine conditions (e.g. only to messages sent by X) and exceptions.

Signatures management

In order to manage your signatures in Exchange Server 2010, follow the steps below:

1. Assigned the administrator’s permissions, run the Exchange Management Console (EMC) from your Windows start menu.

2. In the console, click the Organization Configuration section on the left pane and then Hub Transport. This will expand the right-sided action pane, choose New Transport Rule.

3. New Transport Rule wizard will pop up. Here you can set your signature rule.

Remember to name your new rule and add a short comment to it. This will put away the disarray when you’ll have multiple rules to manage.

When checking the Enable Rule box in the Introduction tab, it will enable signature deployment immediately. There’s no possibility to preview or test a signature within this wizard. You have to remember about carrying out the test yourself.

Further steps will take you through three transport rule setup components: conditions, actions, and exceptions.

4. In the Conditions section, you can select conditions which will trigger the rule. Check out the transport rule predicates for more details. Click Next.

4. To design the signature, check the append disclaimer text and fallback to action if unable to apply box at the Action tab, and then open disclaimer text from the bottom pane to open the disclaimer text editor.

Things to remember:

  • As the native editor does not offer any formatting tools and only supports using HTML tags, this may be challenging especially when HTML coding is not of your interest. If that is the case, you may want to use one of those predefined useful templates or this Email Signature Generator.

  • One of the most practical features of transport rules is the ability to use Active Directory attributes (such as FirstName, LastName, Department) rather than individual user credentials in order to create personalized signatures. For the attributes to work properly you have to enclose them between two doubled percentage signs (%%). For example, to use the FirstName attribute, you need to type %%FirstName%% (view the full list of attributes supported). The attribute tags are later replaced by the corresponding user’s Active Directory values.

  • Pictures inserted into a signature have to be hosted externally. Otherwise, they may end up displayed as red crosses in the recipient’s emails.

5. When you’re done with your signature template, click OK. To continue, click Next.

6. Last components to set are the Exceptions - characteristics of messages which once met will prevent the rule from being applied. Click Next.

7. In the Create Rule tab, if everything is configured the way you wanted click Next.

8. In the Completion tab, click Finish.

Limitations of email signature management on Exchange Server 2010

Being one of the essential instruments of your company’s everyday communication, emails can become a blessing or a course to its reputation. Details matter, and believe me, you don’t want to miss out on that one. Designing your company’s email signatures is definitely worth the effort. Having said that, I’m very aware of the fact, that Exchange Server native signature management process can get very frustrating and time-consuming. Exchange transport rules limit your signature administration options by:

  • Inserting empty credential fields in place of vacant Active Directory attributes
  • Not providing users with Active Directory placeholder picker
  • Not allowing custom Active Directory placeholders
  • Not providing users with a possibility to schedule signature automatic deployment
  • And other.

To overcome these limitations, you would need to use a third party solution like CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010.

Try CodeTwo Exchange Rules for free!

CodeTwo Exchange Rules, the Exchange email signature manager, was designed to help server administrators to centralize the management of email signatures and disclaimers in on-premises environments. It will help you quickly create and set up professional signatures for all employees in your company, without end users’ involvement.

The software:

  • Inserts your signature under the latest reply
    If signatures attached to your messages pile up at the very bottom of the message thread, your current email service is unable to divide a message chain into separate units. CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010 is capable of inserting every signature under the latest message in the conversation.

  • Displays email signatures in the Sent Items folder
    The ability to have signatures visible in your Sent Items folders ensures the compliance with legal obligations, which mandate retention of unaffected electronic documents. Additionally, this feature allows end users to verify whether their emails are correctly inserted into a message.

  • Inserts individuals’ photos into email signatures by pulling them from Active Directory via a {Photo} placeholder
    The software provides the possibility to insert individual users’ photos inline your signature by pulling them out of your Active Directory database. The only thing you will need to do is to include the {Photo} placeholder in the signature where you want the user picture to display.

  • Provides graphical HTML editor
    With CodeTwo Exchange Rules solution you will be able to create the signatures’ templates within a user-friendly editor with the text-editor-like interface (no HTML knowledge required). Adding text, fonts, sizes and colors as well as images or hyperlinks is very easy and intuitive. The editor will also allow you to insert placeholders which will pull information from Active Directory to your signatures on the fly.

  • Allows you to add headers and/or side banners to messages and track email signature campaigns performance
    CodeTwo Exchange Rules solution makes it possible for you to insert marketing banners or call-to-action buttons to your corporate email signatures and then measure their influence.    

  • Recognizes custom Active Directory placeholders    
    With this software, you are not limited to default AD placeholder list anymore. CodeTwo Exchange Rules lets you add users’ important yet rare data in the form of custom placeholders.

  • Enables composing different signatures for new messages and different ones for replies/forwards
    Not only will you be sure that the software inserts your signatures right below your latest email, but you will now be able to insert different email signatures to newly composed messages and different ones to subsequent emails.

  • Allows delegating signature administration to a different person
    Allowing you to reduce admins workload by sharing your email signatures configuration with people responsible for company’s image, e.g. Marketing Department.

  • Enables applying multiple rules per message  
    CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010 makes it possible to apply many rules to one message. This feature will take your signature adaptability and reputation to a higher level.

  • Supports all email clients and devices
    CodeTwo Exchange Rules works with all email clients that are compatible with Exchange Server on all the essential devices. There’s literally no boundaries to where and what for you are assembling your email signatures.

  • Provides Rule Scheduler
    The program has a built-in Rule Scheduler that lets you set up activity periods for a selected rule, which will automatically enable or disable that rule once the time settings are met.  

  • Supports multi-server environments
    Now you can automatically propagate your changes to all Exchange mailboxes regardless of their host servers.

  • Allows putting new rules to a test
    To prevent sending messages marked with flawed signatures, CodeTwo Exchange Rules provides the Rule Tester where you can test them before sending to production.

Can it get any better? Yes! There’s much more to it. Feel free to try CodeTwo Exchange Rules for free or learn more about this solution by visiting the official website of CodeTwo Exchange Rules 2010.

If you have any questions about the program or want to share your opinion, feel welcome to contact us! We are open 24/5, from Monday to Friday.

Adam the 32-bit AardvarkSoftware Developer
Microsoft Exchange Server, Office 365 and Outlook expert with a penchant for tech forums. Looking forward to sharing skills and knowledge.

Comments (0)

Have a question about something in this article? You can receive help directly from the article author. Sign up for a free trial to get started.