Thursday, October 4, 2007

External logo for Outlook Signature blocks

This is real geeky stuff but it's what I do all day. We have had an ongoing problem with logos in Outlook Signatures being broken or missing. This is especially a problem for the executive staff who do lots of email from home. We'll set up their signature block to point to a local copy or a server copy of our logo.

Then somehow that logo will get deleted or moved or a mapped drive will fail to map on logon or something else will cause it to not work. There's nothing more unattractive and unprofessional than receiving an email from the CEO with a big red X where the company logo should be. In fact it can be downright embarrassing when trying to impress a new client.

So we decided to point the signature block address to a copy of our logo stored on our external web server. Then we just make sure that we have set up the signature properly on whatever machine the employee uses to access Outlook email - at work or at home or both. It even works great for our road warriors who live out of their laptops.

It really is quite simple. The signature block is simple HTML code. We don't like to create the signature directly in Outlook because it bloats the file and creates subfolders for the logo - or rather for a copy of the logo. So we create a lean and mean piece of code with an embedded link to the logo on the web server and put it in the right folder on the workstations.

By the way, that folder location is Docs & Settings \ Username \ Application Data \ Microsoft \ Signatures. Once you place the HTML file in the folder and turn on the signature block from within Outlook it automatically creates the .txt and .rtf versions of the file that it requires. Of course Outlook must be set to use HTML format when creating or responding to emails in order for the logo to show up.

Here is picture of the sample code that worked for us.


Anonymous said...

This is exactly what i am trying to do so that my logo does not show up as an attachment on all my emails. Could you post a sample of the "lean and mean piece of code with an embedded link to the logo" so that i could try this myself.


Tim Malone said...

I've added to the post a picture of the HTML code that we use in our signature blocks.

Anonymous said...

Tim, Thanks for this post. It was a big help! Question: Now that my HTML signature with hosted graphic is working, in order to get it to display properly, I need to turn off the option, "Use word as email editor" Do you know of a way to use this technique and continue using word as email editor?

Thanks, User 65425147154685

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this post! I have been trying to figure this out for awhile!

Anonymous said...

I have been looking at your blog and would appreciate any help that you can give me. I am trying to create an email signature for Outlook 2003 for our agency. I can create one for myself by going through the advance editor feature and have the logo show up but when I paste a copy of this doc in another users folder, the image does not show up. The text is the only part of the doc that shows up. I noticed that you have code written to help with this but I am unsure as to where this code would be placed.

Tim Malone said...

The problem is probably related to where the logo is hosted. If it is located on your computer, then the other user would not be able to see it even if you copied the code from your folder to theirs.

That's one of the reasons why we hosted our logo on our outside website. That way all users point to that outside location to get the logo. You may host your website on an internal server. It just needs to be centrally accessible.

It really doesn't matter where you host the logo image - either on a public folder on an inside server or on your outside website. We chose our outside website because many of our executives work from home.

So place a copy of your logo somewhere where everyone can see it. Then change the signature block you created to use that logo. Make sure it is not pointing to a logo that is only stored on your computer.

You can then copy your code to another user's folder and it should 'see' the logo. By the way if you do not want to change the location of the logo from say the local C: drive, make sure you copy it to the other user's computer.

mrunal said...

I tried the above with Outlook 2003 and the problem I'm runing into is that with the MAPI client, I don't see the paper-clip for the attachment. However, I see the paper-clip indicating that there's an attachment when I sync my iPAQ. I believe our Blackberry users are also seeing this. Is this behavior there by design?

Anonymous said...

I've set up my outlook signature like this as well. However, I fear that for recipeints who use flash-session mail applications like AOL (snatch email off the server then go offline), the logo may not show up because the computer may not be connected to the Internet when the recipient goes to read the downloaded email. I haven't tested it but I think it is likely the case.

John Brassner,
Realtor in Las Vegas, NV

AugmentYourMarketing said...

I'm not having any luck. I cannot find the place where you are saying to put the code into. I'm very challenged technology wise. I couldn't find the Application data/ series files to put the code for my logo so it will not show up an attachment in my emails.

Trisha A. Houston

Tim Malone said...

Hi Trisha,

It's possible that you need to change your file folder view. In any folder dialog box select tools, then folder options, and then view. Make sure that "Show hidden files and folders" is selected. It is turned off by default. Once you have turned on your hidden files, you should be able to see the Application Data folder under your user name folder in Documents and settings. Good luck.

KB said...

Hopefully you can help me! I am trying to make a signature block that looks like a business card (with logo) and tabs for links. Everything works except for the text boxes that I created to house the contact information. When you use it as a signature in Outlook the text boxes show up with just the red X's. Any ideas?

Tim Malone said...

Sorry K,

I'm a visual kind of guy. I'd have to see it. Perhaps you could send me an email with the logo. Anytime you see a Red X that usually means it can't find the image. It has to point to some source that can be seen by your email client software. Good luck.

Kat Clair said...

I hope you still check this. I'm having a problem that our IT dept. can't solve. One day, out of the blue, my signature in Outlook (Text plus picture) started acting as an attachment. That is, there is a paper clip icon on all of my sent emails now. I've determined it's the picture, because when I delete it, everything works just fine. SO my question is this: can I stop that from happening? Others have pictures in their signatures, and it seems like our formatting is the same, so no one can figure out what caused it.

Tim Malone said...

Hi Kat,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Yes, I still check it and receive email notices when visitors leave comments. Here's one possibility:

In Outlook, click on Tools, Options, then Mail Format, Message Format section.

Where the entry reads "Compose in this message format" make sure it is set to HTML and NOT Rich Text.

Here's another possibility:

Make sure that no theme is selected in MS Word Email options.

Launch MS Word, then go into Tools, Options and Select ‘General’ tab.

Then select Email Options at the bottom right of the General tab

Make sure that to the right of ‘Theme’ you have ‘No theme currently selected’


dcesq06 said...

Great blog Tim -

Do these instructions work for Outlook 2007? (I noticed that the signature block set up is a bit different than with previous versions of Outlook).

When I add the link to the folder you specified and then select it in Outlook, my signature block is just the link.

Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...


We currently deploy the same solution that you've described. We have one problem.. if the website is down, our outlook 2007 will hang if it can't find the logo. Do you know of a workaround besides making the website fault tolerant (99.999%)? Any info you can provide would be helpful. Thanks.

Tim Malone said...


We have not yet deployed Office 2007 so I cannot answer if this solution works in that environment. Sorry.


Unfortunately, I cannot provide any insights into Outlook 2007 operation using this scenario. Our external website has gone offline one time for one hour in the last three years. We all knew it was down because the Outlook logo failed. I kind of like that immediate warning system. Sorry I can't provide more assistance.

Anonymous said...

I have a slight problem with this. I changed the logo in the signature to a more festive one for the xmas period, I have now changed the image on the server but Outlook still insists on displaying the festive one. Is there any way to stop this from happening??

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the blog. It works fine for external recipients, but it doesn't work when sending within the company. Any ideas?

Tim Malone said...

Hi anonymous 1-30-09: We use this method for all external and internal users. As long as you can reach your website and the image is stored there, it will work. If you can't open the image directly in a seperate web page, then there is something wrong with the way the iamge is stored - perhaps it is a permissions issue.

For example, this link to my company logo, a stand-along GIF on our website, appears just fine:

Anonymous said...

The signatures location with Outlook 2007 (Vista x64) is:

Crip said...

For the external logo to work You have to use an URL, ie
c:\users .... is not a proper url and therefore it will not work.

Store Your logo in a subfolder on the web server and point to it using an URL and it will work fine.


Anonymous said...

I just followed your instructions to set up signatures for our office staff, using the html code and a remotely-hosted image. Thank you for the helpful post!
In order to get the signature to show up, I had to turn off the Microsoft Word editing feature. However, everyone on staff (including me) has gotten used to using Word as their email editor, and I'm afraid if I take that option away, there may be an office rebellion!! Do you know if there is a way to continue using Word to edit emails AND use an html code?
Thanks, Karen

Tim Malone said...

Hi Karen,

We use Outlook 2003 on an Exchange 2007 server, although I doubt that the server makes a difference. We continue to use the MS Word editing feature and the signature block with the remote logo show up without any problem.

If you are using Outlook 2007, perhaps it doesn't like the greatly reduced HTML code. That's the only thing I can think of that might casue the problem you are describing. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

hmm...we also use Outlook 2003. Any ideas why it won't insert the html signature unless I uncheck the Word editing feature?

Unknown said...

I've been similar problems (unfortunately still supporting Outlook 2003) and when I create the HTML file, I've learned that I need to name it .htm for Outlook to create the txt and rtf files.

This technique works fine on new emails, but when it's used in a reply, red x's abound for some reason. I can't figure it you have any advice? I would really appreciate the help...

Unknown said...

Hi, this is probably a dumb question, but I copy and pasted a logo into my 2007 OWA email signature. Not only did it not work, but now I can't remove where I pasted it to. The logo is not showing up, but when I click to type you call tell where I pasted it. How can I get this off?. Right now I can't type anything in my signature box. I need to delete where I pasted it and nothing I try works. Please help!!

Tim Malone said...

Matt: Sorry, I've shared just about everything I know about the technique in this blog entry and in the comments. I'm assuming you use the same signature for new emails and replies. Outlook gives you the option of selecting different ones for each. Perhaps you might want to verify that they are the same.

Tim Malone said...

Kim: Not a dumb question at all. I think I munderstand what is happening. Be sure to highlight the area where the logo was pasted. It should show up as an outline with handles - the little squares on each corner and edge. You should be able to delete the image area once it is selected or highlighted. As an alternative, just ensure that your cursor is at the end of the block and hit backspace until you are certain that you have deleted everything.

Allen said...

Tim, thanks so much for the great tip. I'm actually doing this for my company as well, and it works perfectly. We are using Outlook 2003 and the only problem we're experiencing is that when launching Outlook for the first time (and then opening a new compose message box), there is a WinWord app that opens in the background which asks if it's ok to download the remote image. I know how to Alt+Tab to it, but many people at my company don't know how to...and let's face it, it is a nuisance. I've played with security zone settings and nothing appears to be working to prevent that dialogue from popping up. Would you have any idea as to how to disable this?

Thanks so much!

Tim Malone said...

Hi Allen,

Have you tried turning off "Use Word as HTML Editor" in the options for Outlook 2003? For us, it works either way - the image still shows up using Word as the editor or not.

In Outlook 2003, try going into tools, options, security, Change Automatic Download Settings and check each of the boxes. That's how we have ours setup.

I think the answer might be in this box: "Permit downloads from sites in this security zone: trusted zone." Make sure that you've added your corporate website where you've stored your logo into your list of trusted sites in Internet Explorer.

Cheryl said...

Finally - someone who knows what I'm talking about!!!! I've created a really funky html email signature in Adobe GoLive (yes, I knwo it's now outdated). I've tested it on multi-platforms and it seems to hold all formatting, and I've dragged it into the correct folder for outlook to recognise it as a signature. But every so often the damned thing dropps of my email signature list and gives me this message: "The signature "Name of Sig Here" could not be located. This signature may have been removed" - any ideas? Similarly I am about to load on to 100+ machines and can't have it dropping off intermitently. HELP!

adviper said...

My user got this kind of problem where his email received his signature logo as attachment. I tried delete the signature folder and let it re-create automatically but the problem is still the same. Any idea on how i can fixed this

iuliu said...

I really want to host the signature files on a web server. But neighter Outlook or other mail clients wuld let me do this.
Does anyone have any idea on how to do that?

Anonymous said...

Hi Tim,

Thanks for your post. I am using Office 2007 on Win 7 and I just created an HTML file in the users/username/AppData/Roaming/Microsoft/Stationery folder.

Then I went to "Tools"-->"Options"-->"Mail format"--> "Stationery and Fonts"-->Email signature"-->"Theme" to select my html file. But when I sent the email to myself, outlook required me to "download" in order to see the pictures. Otherwise I would just see some red Xs.

I put all the images on the server. May I know how to embed the images so the receiver don't have to "download"? Or did I install the theme or did it in a wrong way?

Thank you so much for your time!

Tim Malone said...

Sorry Anonynous, can't help you with your specific situation. This post describes the idea of hosting the logo on an external web server. From what I read on your comment, it looks like you are trying to host it on an internal server. You might also want to check some of your security settings that may be blocking image downloads. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Tim! All the images in my html file have their own absolute paths.

And outlook 2000 can view the images without problem but not 2003 and 2007. I think it's the receiver's security settings right? Or do you think I can do anything about it?