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What is an Email Signature?

What is an email signature?

We’ve all seen them. They are the words and graphics that some people include at the bottom of their emails.

They are names, logos, titles, and contact information. They are paragraphs of legal disclaimers from our attorneys. They are inspirational sayings. They are suggestions that we “consider the environment before printing,” and they are advertisements for the device from which we are emailing (“sent from my iPhone”).

Should you include a signature below your emails? What information should you include?

Here are some things to think about:

  • Your contact phone number and a link to your website, if appropriate, can be very helpful.
  • Your personal insights or favorite quotations — which are likely not universally shared — may not be appreciated.
  • Graphics/logos are memorable if they are visually pleasing and appropriately sized.
  • Advertising the device from which you are sending (“sent from my iPad”) is just that, an advertisement. If you think that your typos will be excused because your recipient now knows that you are typing from a mobile device, think again.
  • Multiple signatures — one for business and one for personal use, for example — are a good idea, if your email program allows.
  • If you don’t want your signature in a particular email, you can delete it.
  • Some signatures are treated as attachments; recipients might think you attached something they cannot find.
  • If your email address is ever “hijacked” (spoofed), the absence of your ever-present signature will confirm that the email was not really from you.

If you do not know how to set up a signature for your particular email program, you can do a web search for the name of your email program (bellsouth, gmail, aol, comcast, etc.) and “set up email signature.” Each email program differs slightly.

You can also create a signature in your smartphone and tablet, although in some devices signatures are limited to text only, unless you purchase a third-party ap that allows you to include a graphic or multiple signatures.

To decide what to include in your signature, think about the signatures that you have received and how you wish to present yourself.