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Using Exchange Online or Exclaimer for Managing Email Signatures (Guest Article)

Guest Article by Loryan Strant - Microsoft MVP Office Apps & Services

A few years ago, I wrote a blog post about managing email signatures in Exchange Online with Office 365 (now Microsoft 365) using out of the box functionality.

At the time, the back-end of Exchange Online was Exchange Server 2010. Since then, this has been upgraded to Exchange Server 2013, Exchange Server 2016 and will soon be Exchange Server 2019. When it comes to managing email signatures and disclaimers, there have been virtually no functionality improvements within Exchange Online over this time period.

The method proposed in my blog piece required the configuration of rules and utilizing variables to deliver the designed signature content. Even with this, someone with HTML and design skills would still have to get involved to make the email signature look visually appealing.

This method starts to crumble when you throw in additional levels of complexity such as:

  • Different departments, groups or locations
  • Dynamic content, e.g. marketing banners, social media links, company logos, etc.
  • Filtering out existing email signatures

Managing email signatures in the modern business world

As the business world evolves, we are faced with a number of challenges surrounding managing email signatures. These include corporate brand consistency, appropriate legal disclaimer, multiple web-enabled devices, and interfaces that offer their own email signature components.

Historically, most email signature management solutions have needed to have an on-premises component such as mail server routing or client add-in to function. However, with email signature software from Exclaimer, this is no longer the case, with the added benefit that it gets rid of the wasted space taken up by Outlook-based signatures in internal emails.

I’ve created a table to highlight some of the key differences between utilising Exchange Online and Exclaimer for managing email signatures:

Feature/Functionality Exchange Online Exclaimer
Transport rules requiredSeparate rule per signature, department or other variableSingle rule to route via Exclaimer
ManagementPowerShell & WebWeb
User attributesAzure Active DirectoryAzure Active Directory
DesignRequires HTML & CSSUse drag-and-drop designer or choose from pre-built templates
Interface usabilityTechnicalEnd user
Access to make changesIT administrators only (RBAC)Anyone you allow

The below screenshot shows the variety of options available for managing email signatures, all from a simple drop-down menu with instant preview:

Exclaimer signature library for email signature managment

You can also see below that email signatures can be applied to individuals or groups:

Rules for managing email signatures

As you can see, the Exclaimer interface is incredibly user-friendly. You could easily give your marketing team control of your organization’s email signatures rather than requiring IT administrators to perform all changes, an ultimately time-consuming, costly and frustrating exercise.

Managing email signatures takes only moments, updates are instant, and the end result is professional branding and consistent messaging across all emails. And if you’re smart, you’ll get the cost paid for out of the marketing budget, not IT’s.

The business case writes itself.

About Loryan Strant

Loryan Strant, Microsoft MVP

A no-nonsense, forthright technology-guru, Loryan Strant is an independent consultant who brings close to 25 years of IT experience to his clients.

A pioneer in the technology industry, Loryan’s love for technology and what it can do for him and for his clients truly shines through his work as an independent consultant, author, webcaster, blogger and public speaker. With the desire to advise his clients to become technologically self-sufficient, Loryan’s focus is to provide them with the skills they need to become aware of their technological needs and acquire the unequivocal confidence to execute a solution and change their technology ways.

Loryan is considered a subject matter expert in the Microsoft cloud area, specifically Office 365 and has been recognized as a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional for Office Servers and Services since 2011. He has developed models around productivity transformation, continual technology adoption, and building raving fans within organizations.

Loryan works with all varieties of organisations from SMBs through to Enterprise, private ownership, public sector, education, and not-for-profit.

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