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How to Use Active Directory for Email Signatures

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It’s one thing to create an amazing email signature design. It’s another to ensure that every user’s contact details populate their signature correctly.

For organizations using Microsoft Exchange Server or Office 365 (now Microsoft 365), personalization in email signatures can be achieved by adding placeholders integrated with contact information from Active Directory (AD). This is where all of their users’ details will be stored. For organizations using G Suite (now Google Workspace), Google Directory would be used for contact information instead.

Using Active Directory for email signatures effectively

Active Directory in email signatures

Using Active Directory for email signatures means each template will be automatically populated with accurate contact information. Examples include a user’s full name, job title, phone number, and email address. Using Active Directory in email signatures has the benefit of adding contact details at the server level. An organization would then use transport rules to implement signatures for all users.

Now, both Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 let you do this without any external help required. Changes might take time, and email signature management is complex, but it can be done with patience. However, Exchange and Office 365 don’t support all Active Directory for email signature user attributes, known as AD Attributes. This means using Active Directory for email signatures can be slightly limiting.

What AD Attributes can I use in Exchange and Office 365 signatures?

Below is a list, in alphabetical order, of the AD attributes you can use in Exchange and Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) email signatures. The left column shows the LDAP attribute name in Active Directory, and the right column shows the corresponding Active Directory Domain Services display name for when you are deploying a signature via a VBS script.

Note: Every AD Attribute you use needs to include two percentage symbols on either side of it, e.g.: %%DisplayName%%

Microsoft 365 Display Name Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Name
Zip/Postal Codepostalcode

Using additional Active Directory data in email signatures

More AD Attributes can be used in Microsoft Exchange and Office 365 signatures. However, you will not be able to add them if you implement email signatures manually.

Microsoft 365 Display Name Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) Name
{CustomAttribute 1-15}extentionAttributes

There are 15 {CustomAttributes} available to use when it comes to Active Directory in email signatures. You must replace CustomAttribute/ extensionAttribute1 with the appropriate number between 1 and 15.

How to effectively use Active Directory in email signatures

If you use a dedicated email signature management tool like Exclaimer, you’ll be able to use Active Directory in email signatures much more effectively. Every email signature remains personalized and tailored for each user.

  • Synchronize user contact details for all members or, if required, select members.
  • Enable additional Azure AD Attributes (up to 100 AD fields).
  • Upload user attributes or overwrite the existing data that is read from the Azure Active Directory.
  • Upload user photos so that they can be added to your email signatures.

Exclaimer also allows an organization to let users edit specific contact information in their email signatures. This is all without having to make change requests to IT:

  • Personal titles
  • Job titles
  • Surname/family changes
  • Personal phone numbers
  • Working hours
  • Next holiday period

The IT team always maintains control over all user information. They determine which details are editable and which are not, ensuring that all email signatures remain accurate and compliant. This is also good for companies that might not have the most up-to-date data in Active Directory for email signatures.

The data is also stored independently of your Active Directory. This means signatures can use information you might not necessarily want to be housed in Active Directory for email signatures. You can then switch back to default AD data when necessary.

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