Outlook Forms

Posted on 2006-11-21
Last Modified: 2011-09-20
I have created a form item in OL2003 which I access from Tools ->Forms ->Choose Forms ->User templates in file system.
Whenever I open one of these items, my signature block attaches itself to the top of the mail.
The text from the form item appears as it should and my signature also appears at the bottom of the mail as it should.
Is there any way to prevent my signature adding itself to the top of every form I create?

Question by:ketkana
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LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17987332
Hi ketkana,

> I have created a stationery item in OL2003 which I access from Tools ->Forms ->Choose Forms ->User templates in file system.
That's not stationery, that's a template.  If you put your signature in the template, then turn signatures off in Outlook.


Author Comment

ID: 17987451
Thanks David for your prompt response, I've moved over from Lotus Notes so am getting used to all the OL terminology ;-).
I understand that turning off my signature will prevent the block from being added to the template. This will however also mean that any new mail items I create will not have the signature added unless I insert manually.
Is there a way to create a template, prevent a signature block at the top, and still be able to create regular mail without having to turn the signature on/off each time?

LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 17988753
Hi, Ket.

I understand (about the switchover from Notes).  Why not just leave the signature out of the template and let Outlook apply it?  
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Author Comment

ID: 17995891
David, I have tried this but still have the issue that the signature is automatically added to the top of the form rather than the bottom.
If I turn my signatures off completely so that I have to insert manually, then naturally I can move the insertion point and Insert -> signature.
I would then need to do this for every email that I send. I would rather leave the auto signature on and have it inserted automatically at the foot of the form rather than the top.

Any ideas why Outlook does this?


LVL 76

Accepted Solution

David Lee earned 500 total points
ID: 17999334
Outlook inserts the signature at the top because it assumes every new message starts off with no content at all.  It inserts the signature and places the insertion point above it effectively putting the signature at the bottom of the message.  Outlook does not allow you to change where the signature is inserted.  My last suggestion may have been a bit off base because of confusion over the difference between templates, forms, and stationery between Notes and Outlook.  So, let me start by clarifying what each of those items is in Outlook terminology.

1.  Template.  A template is an item, most oftern a mail item, that is partially filled out and saved for reuse.  An example would be a message thanking the sender for sending a message, or a message acknowledging receipt of certain messages.  Think of a template as a form letter.  They are often connected to a rule as a means of providing a canned response to certain messages.

2.  Forms.  A form is the visual construct you see onscreen when you create or open any Outlook item (i.e. message, appointment, task, contact, note, etc.).  Existing forms can be customized, there are limits on how much some item types can be customized, and new forms can be created based on Outlook's five item types (message/note, appointment, contact, note, task).  

3.  Stationery.  Stationery only applies to mail items in HTML format.  The point of stationery is to allow the user to apply a pre-defined HTML format to a message.  Stationery can define fonts, colors, graphics, positioning, etc.  It is essentially like applying a CSS file to a web page.  Outlook can be configured to use a default piece of stationery for all messages.  This default can then be overridden on a per message basis.

All three items handle signatures in the same manner.  If Outlook is configured to apply a signature to all messages, then it will apply it without regard to whether the item already contains a signature or not.  Signatures are all or nothing propositions.  If a signature is set, then Outlook applies it all messages without regard to whether the message is based on a template, a custom form, or uses stationery.  Outlook has no means of knowing an item already contains a signature, so there's no way to apply any logic that says if the item contains a signature then don't add another one.  Since Outlook has no knowledge of what was used to create a message it assumes that all messages start off completely empty.  The signature is applied to the message and the insertion point placed before it, effectively placing the signature at the bottom of the item.  This behavior is built into Outlook and cannot be changed through any manipulation of Outlook settings.

If you are using a template, then your only option is to include the signature in the template and leave signatures off in order to prevent Outlook from inserting a second one at what would be the top of the template.  You will have to manually sign (i.e. apply the signature) to messages you create that do not use the template.

If you are using stationery, then depending on the HTML formatting you can either include the signature as part of the stationery, in which case the same rules I layed out for templates will apply, or you can allow Outlook to add the signature to stationery as each new message is created.  If Outlook doesn't place the signature in the right place in your stationery, then you're back to the rules for templates.  You'll need to include the signature in the stationery and manually sign any messages you create that do not use the stationery.  

An alternative is to create a macro that applies your signature to items meeting some distinctive criteria.  For example, say you have a template that includes your signature and you don't want a second itteration of your signature applied to it but do want to sign all items that don't use the template.  You'd need to come up with a way of postiively identifying items that use the template.  Once that's done you could then create a macro that would check items as they are sent.  Items based ont eh template would be sent without applying a second signature while items not based on the template would have your signature added before sending.

Author Comment

ID: 18003554
David, many thanks for the comprehensive explanation and your time. Guess it's a 'feature by design' as MS would put it!
LVL 76

Expert Comment

by:David Lee
ID: 18003588
You're welcome, Ket.

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