Creating Signatures In Apple Mail

Technically this is a How-To but because I’m using a 3rd party product to achieve the end result—it could be seen as a blatant product plug. Not that that’s a bad thing. So I’ll state for the record that I paid for and own the product I’ll be talking about. I’ve used their mail plugins for years. I always like to be up front about those things.

I’m not sure exactly when it started. Creating signatures in Apple Mail use to be pretty straight forward. But somewhere in the not too distant past, Apple decided that it would no longer make it easy to create custom HTML based signatures. Whether it was because of possible security issues, or it was just one less thing Apple wanted to support , the outcome was making a custom HTML signature got a lot more complicated. It’s true that within the current abilities of Apple Mail it does support “rich text” to allow a modicum of text formatting. Though the only way to add an image is to paste it into the Apple signature window. The problem with that?  The receiver gets that image as an attachment—which on some mail servers (like gMail) can be seen as a possible virus threat and your email ends up in the recipients spam folder, and not the intended Inbox. Using rich text signatures may not be functional or robust enough for everyone. Enter HTML signatures.

The current way to create a signature in Apple Mail is a bit convoluted. But it can be done. Here’s the down and dirty version:

Start coding the signature in an HTML editor like Adobe Dreamweaver CC, Espresso, BB Edit, or even Apple’s TextEdit. Or you can start with a free online HTML signature creation service and design from a template. You can then always use that file as a starting place and edit in the tool of your choice. Using a program like Dreamweaver keeps editing in the WYSIWYG realm: what you see is what you get. But if you have HTML chops all you need is a simple text editor. The other thing to remember is you can’t use a CSS stylesheet to format your text, you must hard code using HTML styles into your HTML. This is very important! You can also include any images, image links, social media icons and links, or text links in your HTML signature code.

Get as fancy or simple as you’d like, it’s all up to you. Just remember that every time you and a recipient volley back and forth a round of eMails your signature with 97 images in it may be repeated in the ensuing eMails. It can look quite ugly and a bit unprofessional if your signature is huge in comparison to a two line reply.  Restraint and simple design usually have the most impact. Once your masterpiece is done, copy only the body portion of the code. Copy the HTML in-between the <body></body> tags. Don’t include any <header> or <footer> sections that a program like Dreamweaver will add to a basic HTML file. Before doing anything else, save the .html  file to your desktop. While still in your editor, select all the code & delete it. Then paste in the code that was on your clipboard into the now empty, named, saved document. Save the document again. If you’re making more custom signatures, create new files, rinse and repeat until you’re done.

This is my sorta simple signature. I do use a few icons and my company logo, but it’s pretty straight forward. All my images are stored on my hosting company’s server. Now all I have to do is include that hard link where I want the image to appear in my design. I center the entire signature and contents between two <hr> horizontal rules and the contents will even fit a smartphone screen even without adding media query and viewports.

Even the icons are big enough for finger touches on a phone screen yet small enough to not be overbearing. And it looks good on any screen size.

This signature is part of a series I created for a client and members of his team. It’s big and deceptively simple. The signature uses a table to help format placement of objects, but it also uses a media query to make its objects responsive and fit smaller smartphone screens easily.

Smart, clean, professional, and responsive at all screen sizes = winning combo.

How To Use SigPro To Import A Signature

1) Launch Apple Mail.

2) Open the menu item Mail > Preferences.

3) Select the Signatures tab.

4) Select the account you want the new signature in.

5) Click the + button to create a new blank signature.

6) Rename the signature & delete any text in the signature field.

7) Control click in the signature field & select “Replace with HTML…”.

8) Select the HTML signature to load & click Open.

9) Your new signature is now ready to use.

The only thing left is to select the default mail signature from the popup menu. If you only have one signature for that account there will only be one choice. If you have multiple signatures for the same eMail account, chose the one signature that will be the default on newly created eMails or replies.

You now have a new HTML signature for your account. Install others you may have created, in the same way.

And for a little extra bonus … a small “How To” on getting those new signatures on your iPhone. I won’t go into great detail. Check the General system preferences on your Mac. Make sure you’re signed into iCloud on your Mac and your iPhone. At the bottom of the Mac’s General prefs window, “Allow Handoff between this Mac and your iCloud devices” is checked. Make sure that on your iPhone in the Settings App > General > Handoff, Handoff is on. Once you are sure of these things you are ready to copy your HTML signature from your Mac to your iPhone using Handoff and Universal Clipboard.

How To Copy HTML Signature From A Mac To An iPhone Using Universal Clipboard

1) Launch Apple Mail.

2) Create a new eMail.

3) Select the eMail account to copy signature from.

4) Click in the eMail body and do a “Select All” ⌘-A, then “Copy” ⌘-C.

5) On your iOS device open the Settings app .

6) Scroll down & select Mail.

7) Scroll down & select Signature.

8) Select Per Account.

9) Touch into the account field you want, choose “Select All”.

10) On the keyboard hit the Delete key.

11) Touch back into the empty field to bring up actions, select Paste.

12) If Handoff is working properly you will see this:

13) Your HTML signature should now be pasted with proper formatting.

14) Click on the Mail button and your signature is saved and ready to use.

If you run into problems with Universal Clipboard not working and your signature is not pasted at all, you may have to log out of iCloud on both your Mac and iOS device, reboot them both, and log back into iCloud on both devices. If that doesn’t work you might try this iGeek article.

And there you have it! You can now create HTML signatures to your heart’s content. If you do buy a full copy of SigPro, you will also find out it has many other features that you may or may not use. The most important feature for me and my clients is it’s ability to make HTML signature use in Apple Mail fairly painless—and that’s always a good thing!

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