Email Signature Netiquette

Ever wonder how some people setup that nice block of contact information that is automatically added at the bottom of their email? This is called an email signature and they are very useful. Think of them as your business card at the bottom of your email.

A well-written email signature will contain information like your email address, phone number, job title, business name, and maybe something fun like a quote or joke if you choose to make it more personal. Keep in mind that signatures should be concise, so don’t go overboard on information. Also, if you choose to have a quote or joke, consider your audience, message, and what that quote or joke may convey about you. Some may not be the best choice for a professional email.

General rules for formatting your signature include keeping it 4-6 lines or less in length, keeping it 80 character’s wide or less, and using plain text rather then fancy text created with HTML. These rules came about when the Internet was much more simple and are still pertinent today. By not following these rules, users increase the size of their email unnecessarily and run the risk of relevant information in their signature not being read.

Here is an example signature template:

Job Title
Business Name
Phone Number
Email or Website Address
Quote or joke (optional)

So that’s all very interesting you say, but how do I setup a signature in my email program? Take a look below and find the email program you use for instructions. The email programs listed include: Thunderbird, Eudora, Outlook, Mac Mail, Gmail, Yahoo Mail Beta, and Windows Live Mail Beta (Hotmail).


  • Take a word processing program and open a new document.
  • Type your signature.
  • Save the file as a ‚Äú.txt‚Äù or text only file format. This means font choices, font styles like bold and colors will not be saved. It will be plain text only.
  • Go into Thunderbird and click on ‚ÄúTools‚Äù and select ‚ÄúAccount Settings‚Ķ‚Äù
  • On the first option screen, locate the checkbox that states ‚ÄúAttach this signature:‚Äù and put a checkmark in it.
  • Click on the ‚ÄúChoose‚Ķ‚Äù button next to the box below it to browse for you new signature file.
  • Select your signature file and click the ‚ÄúOpen‚Äù button.
  • The file path to your signature will appear in the box next to the ‚ÄúChoose‚Ķ‚Äù button.
  • Click on the ‚ÄúOK‚Äù button at the bottom of the options window to save and close the options.
  • Test your new signature by clicking on the ‚ÄúWrite‚Äù button at the top of the window to open a new blank email.
  • Your signature will appear in the body field. Proof read it for typos. If any corrections are needed, open your text file, make changes and save. Test the signature in Thunderbird again to see the new changes.


  • Once in Eudora, select ‚ÄúWindows‚Äù and then ‚ÄúSignatures.‚Äù This will open up a window showing your stored signatures. You should see ‚ÄúStandard‚Äù and ‚ÄúAlternate‚Äù as defaults.
  • Double click on ‚ÄúStandard‚Äù to see what has been set for that signature. It will be blank by default.
  • Type your new signature and save.
  • Close the window and select the ‚ÄúNew Message‚Äù button to see your new signature.
  • Proof read it for typos and repeat these steps if you need to make any changes.


  • In the main window for Outlook, under the "Tools" menu choose "Options" and then choose the "Mail Format" tab.
  • In the "Compose" in this message format menu choose the message format that you want to use for the signature.
  • In the lower area of the window, the "Signature" area, choose "Signature‚Ķ", and then click on "New".
  • Enter a name for this signature in the Enter a name for your new signature box.
  • Under "Choose" how to create your signature, select the appropriate option.
  • Click "Next".
  • Type your new signature information in the "Signature Box" or paste this info from another document.
  • You may change the font or paragraph format by selecting the "Font" or "Paragraph" button, then select the options that you want. These options are not available if you chose plain text as your message format.
  • Click "Finish" when you are done.

Mac Mail

  • Once in your Mac Mail program, select the "Mail" option at the top of the screen and select "Preferences".
  • In the window that opens, select the "Signatures" tab.
  • Click on the "+" button at the bottom of the white boxes to create a new signature.
  • By default it will be labeled "Signature #1". Double click on it to change its name or proceed with creating your signature in the right most box.
  • If you would like the signature to appear by default, use the "Choose Signature" drop box to select your signature.
  • Now close the Preferences window and select the "New" button on the mail box window.
  • A new message with your signature should appear. If you didn't set your signature to show up by default, use the "Signature" drop down to select it for this message.
  • Proof read your signature for typos and repeat these steps if you need to make changes.


  • Log into Gmail and click on "Settings" in the top right.
  • On the "General" tab, go half way down to the "Signature" section.
  • Type in your signature and click on the "Save Changes" button at the bottom of the screen.
  • You will be taken back to your inbox. Click on the "Compose Mail" option at the top left to open a new message and see your new signature.
  • Read over your signature and repeat these steps to make changes.

Yahoo Mail Beta

  • Log into your mail and click on "Options" in the upper right and select "Mail Options".
  • Select the "Compose" option on the left.
  • Select the radio button "Show a signature on all outgoing messages" to activate the signature box.
  • Type up your signature in the box.
  • Click the "Save Changes" button at the top.
  • Click the "Back to Mail" button in the upper left to return to your mail box.
  • Type "n" or click the "Compose" button to create a new message and see your signature.
  • Read over your signature for typos and repeat the above steps to make changes.

Windows Live Mail Beta (Hotmail)

  • Log into your mail and click on "Options" in the upper right and select "More Options" at the bottom of the drop down.
  • Scroll down to "Customize your mail" and select "Personal e-mail signature".
  • Type your signature in the box and click the "Save" button. You will be returned to the "Options" screen.
  • Return to your inbox and select "New" to see your signature in a new message.
  • Read over your signature and repeat these steps to make any changes.