Creating signatures in Outlook 2011

Simple signatures

In Outlook 2011, signatures can be created via Outlook>Preferences. Click on the Signatures icon, and a new window will open.

Click on the plus (+) symbol in the lower left corner to create a new signature.

You can type your text into the signature pane on the right. Note that there is neither ribbon nor formatting toolbar here; any formatting will have to be done via the Format menu, which offers a number of possibilities, from font size and colour to alignment. You can also copy formatted text from another application into Outlook; this will be discussed in more detail in the next section.

A new menu entry (not found in Entourage, even though it has been one of the most requested features) allows you to create masked hyperlinks not only in your e-mail messages, but also in your signatures. To create a masked hyperlink, select some text, then click on Format>Hyperlink (or hit Ctrl+Cmd+K). Enter a URL, and the selected text will turn into an active hyperlink.

Just like in Entourage, you can add pictures to your signature simply by dragging them from the Finder into the signature window. This method has some disadvantages, though: the picture will appear as an inline character, meaning that you cannot add multiple lines next to the picture. Furthermore, it is not possible to add a hyperlink to a picture.

Complex signatures

Outlook does not offer many features in terms of signature creation; however, it is remarkably flexible when it comes to pasting content into messages and signatures, which is why you can use Word to create more complex signatures and then use them in Outlook. In this example, we are going to create a signature in Word that includes a picture next to some text, and the picture itself is linked to a website. A possible use for such a signature would be a company logo that links to the company’s website, and said logo is placed next to the sender’s details, which might include his/her address and phone numbers.

To get started, open Word 2011 and create a table that has only one row and two columns. Place the cursor in the left column and insert a picture, either by dragging it from a Finder window into the cell or via the Insert>Photo>Picture from File command. In the right column, type your text and format it according to your wishes. Again, you can create hyperlinks by selecting some text and then choosing Insert>Hyperlink (or via the keyboard shortcut Cmd+K). Note that your picture can also act as a clickable hyperlink; to achieve that, simply select the picture, then choose Insert>Hyperlink.

Once you have finished formatting your signature, you should select the entire table and get rid of the borders via Format>Border or the Borders icon in the Tables ribbon. Once you have done that, select the entire table, copy it, and then paste it into a signature in Outlook. The final result should look identical to the table created in Word.

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93 comments to Creating signatures in Outlook 2011

  • Its great for Entourage users that Outlook for Mac supports HTML formatting in signatures.

    Hope they would love it.

  • Hi there,

    Can you set up a separate email for Replies?

    That’d be lovely if so!



  • Michel Bintener

    Hi Simon,
    that is not possible in Outlook for Mac. If you consider it an important feature to have, click on Help>Send Feedback about Outlook and let Microsoft know.

  • Vas

    From what I can see the signature creation is similar to Entourage, and the biggest issue with the way signatures were created with images is that the images were sent as attachments which is a pain. In Outlook images can be created using HTML and absolute paths to the images which meant the images did not come through as attachments. This becomes an issue especially when you are looking for a specific email from/to a client which had an attachment as every email you’ve sent / they’ve replied to will have your images as the attachment.

    Does anyone know a workaround for Office 2011 as i’m sure they must have addressed this issue.

  • SR

    Hey Michel
    is there a max width for a signature ??? i am trying to run a footer/signature across the bottom of the email file is correct size .gif but outlook is making it smaller when it is inserted for the signature drop down box ???

    • I wasn’t aware of a limit. If I understand correctly you are trying to make a footer that goes across the page. I suspect this is not allowed.

      This is the first time I’ve heard anyone say they were trying to make a footer.

  • Leighana Thornton

    The fonts in my signature won’t hold formatting. No matter how many times I create a signature in word in Calibri font, when I try to create a new mail message, the signature is in Lucinda. Calibri is the default font for my messages. Have you heard of anyone else having this problem?

    • I’ve seen reports of some preferences not sticking but not specifically for sigs. Try testing in a new User and see if you see the same behavior. Drag your current sig to Shared folder. Go to System Preferences –> Create a New User in Accounts. Switch to the New User by logging out/in or use Fast User Switching. Drag from Shared your sig to the desktop. Now open Outlook and see if the sig retains formatting. (no need to setup accounts) Let me know if it works in a new User.

  • Tony Faranesh

    Is it possible to set up the signatures so they do not appear on replies and forwards, but only on new composed emails? Thank you.

  • Kurt Garnjost

    I have noted that my signature is not inserted into messages generated from word with the Word document as file attachment. The signature was inserted in this situation in Entourage. Obviously, the signature can still be inserted manually. Does any one know if this anomalous behavior is by design or is a bug?


  • Kerry

    I am using two images in my signature and I can’t for the life of me get them to align as I’d like them, even (especially) in Word. Any thoughts?

  • I am very disappointed on how Outlook 2011 for the Mac does not offer real simple integration with Signatures created either as external text or html documents. This is an important feature.
    People that switch from Thunderbird, Eudora, Mail know that once you create a clean HTML signature, it should be as easy as having an specific location and pointing to it to load it as the email is composed.
    Very frustrating and very poor user experience. Missing this feature and direct HTML source editing make Outlook 2011 for the Mac one of the worst email clients.

  • Tabetha Hinman

    For what it’s worth, I am having the same formatting issues in the text font next to my image. It’s also impossible to adjust the spacing so that it can be dialed in precisely. Seems like it should be a very easy thing to fix!

  • Nikki Bodnar

    How do I set up an animated signature in Outlook 2011? I have a gif image that flashs between 2 images that I would like to use along with text.

    • I certainly wouldn’t want to receive a sig like this so I’ll leave this to someone else to answer.

    • Michel Bintener

      Hi Nikki,
      GIF images can be inserted just like regular images. If the animation does not work, then I guess GIF animations don’t work in mail messages created in Outlook for Mac. I can’t really tell from my own experience, as I never use animated GIFs. As Diane has pointed out, most recipients won’t appreciate receiving animated images in e-mail messages, so consider carefully who your recipients are before you include such a signature.

  • Barry C

    My text from Word appears double spaced when I create a new email with the signature.

    I have tried to make it as simple as I can….it looks fine in the Word doc and also when I paste it in the signature window but not in any email that I create with the signature.

    Double line spaces between each line.

    Any ideas?

    It shouldn’t have to be so hard……

    • Terry Veiga


      I was able to avoid the extra spacing by using a “soft-return” [Shift] + [ Return] at the end of each line instead of using just the [Return] key. Delete your “hard-return” line breaks and then re-try using the key combination above.

      Good luck!

      • Phil Earle

        This worked for me! thanks for the hint

      • Tom

        Thanks for tip. It worked for me too.
        I am still frustrated by having to go through all this to achieve something so simple!

      • Kerryn

        I’ve never gone onto a site like this, and i was getting frustrated with my email signature and found the answer and it was right, i’m so impressed, thank you for sharing the info, my sig now has no double line spacing, and it was so simple. thanks again for your time.

      • Emily

        Thank you so much for providing this information!

  • Kassie

    I have followed all instructions from copying signature from Word or creating a table in Word and copying into the signature but yet both add additional spaces.

    Extremely frustrating, please Mircrosoft can you fix this, am trying to run a business and email signatures play a pretty crucial part.. Thanks!

    • We are not Microsoft so we can’t fix anything. We are volunteers that help users with Microsoft Office for Mac.

      Maybe another user will be able to help with your issue.

  • I too am trying to enter simple HTML with a single logo image (PNG/JPG/GIF/whatever) using an absolute URL. We can get an image in there but it includes the image as an attachment, making it impossible to know which emails have “real” attachments and which are just a signature.

    I’d love to simply put in something like IMG SRC=”” (brackets removed so the comment shows up). Can anyone provide a way to do this using Outlook 2011 for Mac?

    • Brian

      Ok.. After about an hour mucking around with Outlook 2011, I finally found a way to include complex HTML, which includes a remote image(s) that won’t come in looking like an attachment for the other user. I’ve tested this with Outlook 2011, Gmail,, and Yahoo.

      Here are the steps.

      1. Create your signature as you would a webpage, which means using your text editor/WYSIWYG of choice (I did not include the HTML or BODY tags to be safe)
      2. Include your remotely hosted image ( in the file
      3. Once done with designing your signature, save the file to your desktop as signature.html
      4. Open the signature.html file that you’ve just created in Chrome or Firefox. (I have not tested with other browsers)
      5. With the browser open and your signature file displayed, press Command + A to select all on a Mac
      6. Open Outlook > Preferences > Signatures
      7. Click the plus button on the lower left to create a new signature
      8. If there’s content in the big right signature window, delete it, in this case, it was displaying my name.
      9. Press command + v to paste in your signature.
      10. Rejoice

  • Liz

    I’m still unclear from all the above whether we can or can’t create an html signature in Outlook 2011.

    I’m on an iMac and use Mac Mail, where I’ve created several html signatures.

    Can we follow the same process for Outlook?
    1. Establish an email signature through Outlook via Preferences->Signature. I’m hoping that the file for this sig will appear in Home->Library->Mail->Signatures Folder like the Mac Mail ones do.

    2. Code my signature in html using TextEdit, including a link to my logo on my server.

    3. Open that html file in a browser to view. Then save as Web Archive file to desktop.

    4. Go back to the sig file established earlier and copy its exact name. Then, overwrite the web archive’s name with this saved file’s name.

    5. Delete that sig file and replace it with the new web archive file with the exact same name (so Outlook recognizes it as the signature for your email account).

    Will this work?

  • Fred Davenport

    Add me to the list of those that are looking to add logos and graphics to BOTH the body of the email, AS WELL AS, my signature. This appears to be something that the developers of Outlook 2011 just plain missed and/or skipped.

    Hopefull they will fix this quickly as this is a HUGE omission especially for those of us who have used Apple Mail, where this feature if available and very, very easy to hyperlink graphics, photos and logos to the body and signature of my emails.

  • Basil Beighey

    When I use the “Mail link to this page” menu command in Safari, the link always appears below my signature in Outlook. Is there any way to make my signature appear below my “transferred” content every time?

  • Ed

    Hope the double space will be fixed soon. My signature looks fine in Word, copy it into Office and I get double spacing between the line.

  • steven

    Does anyone know how I can use my signature for new emails but not have it added when replying or forwarding an email?
    I am probably missing something really obvious – if so, I do apologise!!

  • Andrew

    Poor effort, need to be able to add html signatures

  • jon

    I am trying to find out how to disable signature for email forwarding & reply. I cannot find this setting anywhere and its driving me crazy!

  • Justin Grant

    Is anyone aware of how to migrate the Outlook 2011 signatures from a corrupt identity which keeps needing to rebuild to a fresh identity? I tried drilling down into the signatures folder and moving it to the fresh identity at the same location but nothing was recognized. This was a simple file move in Entourage but in Outlook I cannot get it working.

    Let me echo that Outlook 2011 is another tremendous disappointment as was Entourage 2004 and 2008. Still no way of archiving and breaking up the massive database file flexibly? but I digress…

  • Shuba

    I have two emails set up in Outlook. Each has it unique signature. However when I create an email, it uses only one of those.

    I did not have the same issue with Entourage 2004

  • Patrick Glass

    Is it possible to take off my personal signature in reply emails? Thanks

  • Not at this time. Personally, I use a shortcut to enter my sig so I can select the sig or no sig I want. See this article for help.

    Insert text automatically into a message

  • Nancy

    Nice idea, but I too cannot get the text to align properly with the image. Furthermore, the way it appears in the signature box in Outlook does not reflect the actual spacing/alignment that appears when sent through email; I sent myself several emails to test.

  • Nancy

    Here’s a link to a signature template for Outlook 2007 I found on the official Microsoft website; is there any way to get this to work with Outlook 2011 for Mac? If so, it might solve the spacing/alignment issues.|

  • Lindsay

    When I insert my signature, it shows that there is as an attachment. It only seems to be a major issue when I email PC users. Is there a way to fix this?

  • Gail P

    I just migrated over everything from Entourage 2004 to Outlook 2011. When I try to click on signature to add it to a message, Outlook says it needs to rebuild the database. I’ve tried to delete the signatures via Preferences, but as soon as I highlight the signature to be deleted, it says I need to rebuild the database. Any suggestions on where to look in my file structure to delete the signatures? Or any other ideas?

      1. Quit Outlook
      2. Open the Office 2011 Identities folder in the Microsoft User Data folder in Documents.
      3. Select your Identity folder
      4. Open Data Records > Signatures
      5. Drill down until you find the .olk14Signature files
      6. Delete
      7. When you open Outlook you will have to rebuild.

      The size of your database and the amount of free space will affect your rebuild. You might need to create a new Identity and import from Entourage again but this time don’t import your signatures. Create them new in Outlook.

  • Nicole

    The colours I used to create my signature do not come out in the actual email. They just turn to black font. Anyone else have this problem?

  • Reija

    How do I insert an email hyperlink into my signature line? It tried control > command > K, but it ended up linking me to my homepage (as I also have a homepage link in my signature line).

  • Sammyvee

    Can anybody assist with creating a signature that contains a watermark that covers the entire body of the emails? Head office have insisted we use their corporate watermark in all our emails. I created this on Outlook 2000 in the signature but ever since I have upgraded to Office 2011 I am having great difficulty including the watermark image as a background. The image is displayed as an inserted image, and appears only once in the email. It does not appear as a background watermark that covers the entire body of the email. I have been at this for hours now, please help.

  • Rachel Levy

    Looking at the above comments, I’m still confused about how to add a photo to the signature without it showing up as an attachment. I have the logo hosted remotely, but am not sure how to do it with that.

  • Can you assist me how to reply/forward outlook email 2011 at Mac OS without signature?

    Thanks and Regards,

  • Tiffany

    Thank you so much for your help!! Very Very VERY much appreciated! 🙂

  • Aaron A

    Is there a way when inserting say a PNG file into the signature to fix its size so when the recipient gets it and there window is huge it doesn’t fill the whole screen?

  • Steve Pershing

    Hello all–kudos and humble thanks to Diane Ross for all the helpful replies she’s posted here! I’m writing about double-spaced signatures in Outlook 2011 for Mac; the soft return (shft + enter) suggested in an earlier post doesn’t relieve the problem. I’ve deleted hard returns and replaced them with soft ones, and I’ve tried creating new sigs with soft returns. What else do you suppose I could try? Thanks.

    • Create the signature in Word, layout everything the way you want, add pictures if need be, and then copy all, and past in TextEdit. Make the necessary (re)adjustments there, then copy and paste in the Signatures in Outlook.

      Why the extra steps?

      Word offers quite a few decent layout options you could not acchieve in TextEdit, but whenyou copy, the signature gets copied as awfuly complicated HTML code that leads to various errors.TextEdit will render the signature the way WebKit can deal with it so all the readjustments should clean things up and allow the signature to display properly from there on.

      This fix was posted by Corentin Cras-Méneur on Answers

  • Steve Pershing

    Aha, I finally got soft returns to take effect by deleting the line break and putting in a soft return immediately after the logo in the Word document that I then copied and pasted into the signature creation dialog box. All is well!

  • Steve Pershing

    Gosh, this is now exactly what I need to do–an inserted image makes my e-mails huge. I’ve uploaded the logo image to a server, my Dropbox as it happens, but I don’t know how to hide the URL in the signature block so that the e-mail recipient’s system simply goes to the URL and gets the image. What’s an “absolute URL,” and how do I insert it in a signature block?

    • Zxxx xxx=”” width=”250″ height=”200″ alt=”my logo” /Z

      Replace the xxx xxx with img src
      Replace the Z at beginning and end with brackets

  • sheri h

    Great info, but I am trying to add the FB and Twitter icons in the signature box and there is no place to add picture etc. Can you advise?

    • Personally, I don’t have a solution. Hopefully, someone can chime in with a solution. All I can advise is use absolute links for images or you’l bloat your messages with your signature. For users that are a limited storage this will not make your popular.

  • Taurice

    How do can I setup a separate signature for replies?

  • Wow! It’s hard to believe that Outlook for Mac doesn’t allow what at least some of us consider the MOST basic feature of Outlook. For over a decade, I’ve depended on Outlook to send emails which could have a little photo in the narrative, or to send a ‘post card’ from a trip or insert a funny or supportive animated .gif in the body, whenever and wherever I wanted. I see the need and importance for signatures with a logo or photo or whatever image, and see that it can be scripted to .html, which may be fine as a regular script for a signature, but does NOTHING for the basic right (imm) of a user to be able to insert images within emails. I spent over a decade, interacting with colleagues this way, generating articles, and the occasional holiday card (with an animated .gif) or baby photo.

    “You don’t know what you got – until you lose it” (John Lennon)

    Seriously, Outlook for Mac has *no* way to (imm) send a basic, 20th (or 21st) century email with the feature that kept me using Outlook (for PC) lo those many years – NO ‘INSERT IMAGE’ option at all? So users can read it in-context rather than having to work at opening it as an attachment, on any platform?

    Sorry, that is wrong, that is *$@# poor user-friendliness and a slap in the face of anyone who seriously uses email (still) – Signatures reflect our image, images within emails reflect our feelings. Should we give up email and live on Facebook in order to share photos, or will Microsoft wake up and regain its clarity?

    Any updates on this issue? I’m going to seriously look towards a 2nd computer or email client which allows natural, spontaneous, image insertion, anywhere, anytime, which the reader can just see, without needing to open as an attachment. “What’s up with that?” Any news?

    • You can insert an image into an HTML message. Just drag the image into the body of the message or use the Picture icon in the Ribbon to select the image to insert. There is no way to resize the image in the message. Apple Mail does have a resize option (small, medium, large)

      Signature images are a different issue.

      We are not Microsoft. I suggest you send your feedback request for features to Microsoft.

  • Ruud

    Is it possible to edit the plain text signature? I’ve a complex html signature, but if I reply to a plain text e-mail, the signature is ugly with urls to images etc.

    • You cannot insert an HTML sig into a plain text message. You need to create a plain text sig to use in this situation or toggle the message to HTML.

      • Anonymous

        Thanks for your reply, but i don’t know where I can create a plain text signature?

        • When you create a plain text signature, do not apply any formatting to the text. Do not include pictures or hyperlinks. You can add a URL but not as a hyperlink.

          • Ruud

            Ok i understand, but I don’t even know where in the program you can create a plain text signature? I only see the option to create a normal HTML signature.

          • It’s the same window. Just don’t apply HTML formatting or rich text.

          • Ruud

            In Outlook for Windows you can format the html AND the plain text version of 1 signature. Because you have for example images en tables in a html signature and you don’t want the URL’s etc of the images in the plain text version.
            So this is not possible in Outlook for Mac?

  • Joash

    Hi can anyone help with this issue that I’m having currently? I created my signature on Outlook, however when I send emails to my other colleagues or friends, they dont receive the exact same font that my signature in Outlook is in. However, on my sent mails, it looks perfect!

    Wondering whether does this have to do with an OS Lion glitch?

    • If you are using a font that is not commonly found, their computer will substitute a font to replace. If you create an image with the selected font, then they will see it as you designed. However, please use a URL for your image so they don’t have to download a large image file to view your signature.

  • Heidi

    Hi! Does anyone know how to have the signature automatically change when sending an email from a different account? My signature keeps popping up on both accounts, even though I set up separate signatures for the 2 email accounts on my Outlook 2011 for Mac.

    • Switching sigs is broken. You will have to manually select the sig on the other account, or use one of the 3rd party applications like TypeIt4Me, Typinator, TextExpander and SpellCatcherX to insert the text for you. See this article to see how this works.

  • HTML formatting in Outlook signatures is simply great. People will definitely like it.

  • Michael

    Hi, everytime I send an email with Outlook 2011 for Mac my photo is there at the right of the subject line…a photo from my Mac Air camera. How do I get the computer to not put the picture there?

    • This is not seen by other users. You might see photos from MobileMe users but unless you have someone’s photo on your computer this does not show up.

      Michael, look for my email reply for testing.

  • I have two signature block; one for initial emails I send out and one for replies to incoming email. Any way to have Outlook 2011 automatically insert the correct signature block? I have the default email signature set to emails sent from me. In Outlook for Windows, you can set up both.


    • Currently this is broken in Outlook Mac. In one of my comments I explain how to use TypeIt4Me, TextExpander, Typinator or SpellCatcherX to insert my sig of choice.

  • Neil

    For about an hour and a half now I’ve been trying to simply copy my previous Office 2008 for Mac Entourage signature to Office 2011 for Mac. It did come over once I did the import but I noticed the ‘P’ in my Webdings font didn’t. No matter what I do I cannot get this to activate. I can easily write this in Word but I cannot even cut and paste it to signatures. Any ideas?

    Also, I agree with the VERY small font change comments. My previous Tahoma 10 is microscopic in Office 2011.

    • Entourage used points for rendering fonts but the new, WebKit based editor in Outlook uses pixels. The difference is that pixels will typically render much smaller on your device that the same point (search “points vs pixels” for a deeper explanation).

      I use size 14 which is equivalent to 2008’s 12. Just up your font size. As long as your receiver is in a relatively modern e-mail client (anything in the last 10 years), they won’t see anything odd.

      I suggest creating your Identity again using Word 11. You might be able to open Entourage or Word 08 to copy your sig.

      Did you delete duplicate fonts installed by Office 2011?
      See Font Management for help: