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Using Exchange Transport Rules to Add Email Signatures to Messages

Hamid asks:

We’re hosting Exchange 2010 and I set up a transport rule for a standard signature. It is working, but my problem is that once the email get sent, I see the signature on the sent emails. Also, when the email gets forward or replied, I see my signature on the bottom of the email, even though I’m not the one who started the email conversation.

Exchange Server and Exchange Online are capable of adding email signatures and disclaimer messages by using transport rules. As an example, here is how I would configure a disclaimer for all outbound email messages.

exchange-transport-rule-disclaimer

That rule will add the disclaimer text to the end of all outbound email messages, except if the text already exists (which is an exception I like to set to avoid multiple disclaimers being added to a long-running conversation that is going back and forth).

You could just as easily construct a standard email signature and use a transport rule to apply that instead.

They key point to understand here is that the transport rule will append your disclaimer of signature to the *end* of the whole email message. When the email is first sent, this is not a problem, because the end of the message is where you want it to be. But on forwards or replies, you would want the signature or disclaimer to appear at the end of the part of the message that you wrote, not the end of the whole message.

In other words, you’d normally prefer it to be inserted at the green arrow, not the red arrow.

exchange-transport-rule-disclaimer-02

This is a limitation of Exchange transport rules. The signature or disclaimer text can only be appended to the end of the whole message. Furthermore, transport rules will not update the sent items in user mailboxes, so the sent item will never contain the signature.

To insert the signature or disclaimer exactly where you want it to be, and also update sent items, you would need to use a third party product. There are several products that can do this for you, and that are easy to find in a Google search. Generally speaking, the market leaders are all make pretty good products, but I recommend you take advantage of their free trials to see which one suits your particular needs the best.

Paul is a Microsoft MVP for Office Servers and Services. He works as a consultant, writer, and trainer specializing in Office 365 and Exchange Server. Paul is a co-author of Office 365 for IT Pros and several other books, and is also a Pluralsight author.
Category: Exchange Server

17 comments

  1. Emmanuel says:

    Great article! I literally was just talking this over with management. They want to implement a new standard signature across the organization using Exchange. I tried to explain the limitations and the issues, but this article summed it up very well! I will be taking this to them as further proof that we either need to do this via some sort of deployment via group policies or a 3rd party tool.

    Thank you for the awesome, perfectly timed article.

  2. Jack Taylor says:

    Thanks for the article.

    This is an annoying problem we had to deal with recently. In the end, we felt it was best to go with a third party solution to make managing signatures a lot easier. We decided to go with Exclaimer so that we could have reply signatures and stop signatures flooding email conversations.

    The fact that Exchange doesn’t have an HTML editor also meant, in my opinion, that Exchange is just too limited when it comes to email signatures. Suppose that is why there are third party tools in the first place.

  3. Irshad Ahmed says:

    Please help…how i stop inbound emails in which emails To and Cc does not exist my @domain.com.Because i have received majority of spam through Bcc emails.I think if i create such as rule i can stop spam in Bcc emails.

  4. Gabriele says:

    Hi Paul,
    quick question, in your experience does any of these 3rd party tools work with Exchange Online? Or are those only for on-prem environments?
    Furthermore: will there ever be a way to do this directly from exchange or with MS tools? (Big fan of not using 3rd party software here)

    Thanks!
    Gabriele

    • There are third party tools that claim to work with Exchange Online. They’re easy to find. I haven’t used any of them myself, so you’ll need to do your own evaluation to see how well they perform.

  5. Angel Kiriakov says:

    Great post!
    I am using this already and it is very helpful. The problem appears when some users use certificate to encrypt mails 🙂 Signature became attach file.
    Could give your opinions for this case.

    Regards

  6. Pascal says:

    Dear Paul,

    I have a simple question.
    We added a disclaimer on our Exchange 2013 server.
    How can we proof that we have send our disclaimer?
    The customer could lie and say: sorry, I didn’t received your disclaimer.

    Since the disclaimer does not show up in the send items of the employee I must have some kind of proof that the mail did had our disclaimer added by the server.

    Friendly regards,

    Pascal
    Reply

  7. Thami says:

    HI Guys

    I need some help hear please, am not that clued up, I am new in the field.

    Our disclaimer works fine on everybody expect for one specif user who signature is duplicated even on a new emails.

    It would add four signatures at the bottom of the message sent by her. Check on her outlook found nothing

    Please advise on how do I go troubleshooting this matter.

    Regards

          • Thami says:

            HI Paul

            I might be not answering your question properly, as I said I am new I am new in th field,

            I am told that it is suspected that multiple rules are wrongly applied to this user account, which I need to figure it out,

            I think getting a way out to that would be helpful, in short I think I need to be able to view what rules are applied to this specific mailbox as emai are going out.

            Please can you guide me how, we are on exchange 2013

          • If you have multiple transport rules that are applying signatures, then yes I would suspect that more than one rule is applying for that sender. You’ll just need to go into your transport rules (aka Mail flow rules) and inspect their conditions, and then look at the sender and try to determine why multiple rules are applying.

  8. Rami Ismail says:

    In the Office 365 Exchange online I need to append html signatures on each reply or forwarded message, but the problem is that it appends only at the bottom of the old conversation messages and not inserting a new signature in the new replied or forwarded messages, is there any solution for this?

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