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Using Office 365 Transport Rules


By Exclaimer

For many organizations, it is often preferable that all email messages contain a specific signature or disclaimer that is consistent for all users. Rather than relying on each employee to be take charge of their own email signature design, IT administrators find it easier create a signature and apply it from one central location. For an organization on Office 365 (now Microsoft 365), this is done using something called Transport Rules.

Office 365 Transport Rules - example for a disclaimer

What are Office 365 Transport Rules?

In basic terms, Office 365 Transport Rules, also known as mail flow rules, look for specific conditions within emails sent by your organization and take an action you specify. They are similar to inbox rules used by many email clients like Outlook, but a Transport Rule will take actions on an outgoing message that is in transit rather than after it is delivered. Office 365 Transport Rules come with a large set of conditions, exceptions and actions, giving you a number of messaging policy options.

Using Office 365 Transport Rules

The main reason that Office 365 Transport Rules are used is for business compliance and security requirements. For example, you could decide that you want to block anyone from receiving emails with attachments for legal requirements, so you would set up a Transport Rule to block all messages sent to and from your users with attachments. You could then set up another action where a recipient is sent a separate email to let them know that a message has been blocked because it contained an attachment.

Creating Office 365 Transport Rules using the Exchange admin center in Office 365.

Other reasons to use Microsoft 365 Transport Rules include filtering confidential information, redirecting emails before delivery and, of course, applying Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) email signatures to all messages.

For a step-by-step guide to creating your Office 365 signature, visit this article

Limitations of using Office 365 Transport Rules for email signature management

  1. Using Office 365 Transport Rules lets an organization set up and apply a disclaimer to all inbound and outbound messages. Notice that we say disclaimer rather than email signature; Office 365 only really lets you create a plain-text disclaimer to appear at the bottom of your email.

    A disclaimer built using Office 365 Transport Rules.
  2. So, let’s say that you want to your email signature to include imagery. To do this, you’re going to have to use HTML. Assuming you’re comfortable using HTML, you’ll then have to paste this code into the Office 365 disclaimer editor and ensure that all images are web-hosted (embedded images won’t work).

    You have to copy and paste HTML email signature designs into the disclaimer editor when just using Office 365.
  3. You’ll probably want to see how your signature looks and test it to see if it functions correctly. Using just Office 365 Transport Rules means you won’t be able to test how your email signature design looks or see how it ‘behaves’ before it is deployed to your users.

  4. Different email clients render HTML in different ways. Just because your template works in Outlook doesn’t mean it’ll work in Gmail. It’s important to also note that HTML in email signatures operates differently to HTML on websites, so your signature could end up looking very different to what you planned when it goes live.

  5. You might want to give different signature templates to different departments. This means creating a new rule for each department. Depending on the size of your organization, this could potentially lead to hundreds of different rules you then have to keep track of, not to mention how time-consuming this process will be.

  6. Then, there are other issues like blank spaces appearing within contact information, the fact that signatures won’t work on mobiles or that you won’t be able to create separate reply signatures to consider.

To find out more about what you can and can’t do when creating an Office 365 signature, visit this article.

Is there an easier way?

Without using a third-party solution, you’re going to find email signature management a chore if you rely on Office 365 Transport Rules alone. You’ll find that this task will take up time you’d rather spend on other more important jobs.

This is where you need Exclaimer Cloud Signatures for Office 365. The perfect tool for managing email signatures in Office 365, this award-winning service ensure that all emails in your organization will get a full, dynamic and professional Office 365 signature when sent from any device, including on Macs and mobiles. It also allows for easy management of other signature elements such as social media icons, promotional banners, and email disclaimers from one intuitive web portal.

Move away from Microsoft 365 Transport Rules today with Exclaimer

How Exclaimer Can Help:

If you're looking for an easy way to design and manage professional email signatures across your whole organization, we're here to help. Find out more or start your free trial today!

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