Signatures and Automatic Replies

Learning Outcomes

  • Create a signature and automatic reply


Creating an email signature is a helpful way to provide email recipients with pertinent information without you having to retype it every time you send an email. An email signature can be added to the end of your email messages individually or automatically.

If you are using a company email, your company may have signature standards for you to follow, or you can use a colleague or manager’s signature as an example.

To create an email signature, follow these steps:

  1. Begin a new email by clicking New Email.
  2. Go to Include>Signature>Signatures.
  3. Click New and name your signature. Click OK.
  4. Create your signature in the Edit signature box. There are formatting options available for the font, font color, size, alignment, etc.
  5. Use the dropdown menus in the Choose default signature area to assign this signature to be used for all new messages or for replies/forwards.

Notice that when you are in the Signatures window there is a link to Get signature templates. You can click this link to use one of Microsoft’s templates to create a signature.

Hint: It’s often a good idea to have a condensed version of your signature for replies/forwards compared to new messages.

Consider the following items you may want to include in your email signature:

  • Full name and/or your preferred name, if applicable. For example, “James (Jim) Swarthmore”, or just “Jim Swarthmore”.
  • Your title. If using company email, include your title and possibly department. For example, “Product Marketing Manager, Appliances”.
  • Your company name, and possibly your company logo or website.
  • Contact information. Typically the most important contact information is your phone number, but depending on your position, you may also want to include a company address or fax number. Some people include their email address in their signature, but in most cases, that is unnecessary since they will have your email address from the sender field of the email.
  • Links to your company’s social media sites, such as LinkedIn, twitter, and facebook. These can be added as small icons that are links so they don’t take up too much space in your signature.
  • Pronouns and/or pronunciation guides. Some people choose to include their pronouns or, if their names are difficult to pronounce, a simple pronunciation guide.

Here are two different examples of professional email signatures:

Example of an email signature showing name, position, organization, phone number, email address, website, and social media links Email signature showing name, position, company, address, phone number, email, website, and company logo

The screenshots below are an example of a student setting up an Outlook email signature that can be used to email professors and potential employers. You can see that this student has created one signature for new messages and a condensed version for replies and has named them in Outlook as “New email signature” and “Reply signature” respectively.

New email signature:
Screenshot showing the popup window for a signature in Outlook with a signature that includes a name, major, expected graduation, college, phone number, email, and LinkedIn link
Reply signature:
Screenshot showing the popup window for a signature in Outlook with a condensed signature that includes a name, major, college, phone number, email.

Automatic Replies

If you are going to be out of the office and unable to respond to emails for a period of time, it’s a great idea to set up an automatic reply. To set it up, click File>Automatic Replies.

You can then select the start and end dates/times for the automatic reply and type the message you would like sent as your automatic reply. If your email is set up by your organization, you may see options to set a different automatic reply for people inside your organization and people outside your organization.

Screenshot showing the popup window to set up automatic replies in Outlook