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Outlook 2003 – Insert Signature

Matthew E. sent me a nice e-mail message to say that he’d been “searching for 2 hours trying to figure out how to turn on the ability to insert a signature in Outlook 2003” and finally found the solution in a comment I’d left on Mike’s site. I’m glad it helped. Hopefully this will make it more findable.

If you’re having trouble inserting signatures, visit Tools, Options, Mail Format tab and un-check Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages. Now when you’re editing messages, you should have the ability to Insert an Signature easily.

You’ll also find that the editor starts up more quickly. I’ve almost never used Word as my e-mail editor, so I don’t know what features you’ll be missing.


  1. You’ll be missing the automatic Spell Check, for one. :(

    Is there a way to have Word as the editor AND the Insert > Signature capability? hmm…

  2. Mike Smullin is right — the Word email editor is great… you get the full power of Word (inline spell-checking, autotype, auto-correct, macros, etc.) and the Outlook email editor is just not as good (although it does load faster). The problem is that for some crazy reason Word doesn’t integrate Outlook’s manual-insert signature features. I don’t why, and I can’t find a simple workaround… arrgh!

  3. ??? not sure about the spelling issue. Outlook has a built in spelling checker. May need to renable it.

  4. also, workd has the signature option, it is located in the option drop down menu along with a few other things like stationery.

  5. James:

    The E-mail signature item in the “Options” dropdown does not have the insert feature that is described above. This item simply allows you to view/edit/add signatures, and to designate a default for ALL messages.

    I agree that this is a sorely lacking feature in the Word editor. I mean, how difficult could it be to say, use an “external” signature for messages destined for addresses outside of your domain and “internal” signature for the same domain?

    It’s as though the MS designers on the Outlook team don’t send external email, and user requirements were never really gathered …

  6. I found this on another website (after much googling!):

    To change the signature to an alternative signature:
    • Right click somewhere in the inserted default signature. A shortcut selection will appear.
    • Select the signature of your choice. The default signature will be replaced by the alternative that you select.

  7. You can store the signature as AutoText in Word (format the first line of your signature with the “Signature” style to make it show up under “AutoText->Signature”, then format it to your liking). Then, if you use Word as your Outlook editor, instead of going to Insert->Signature, you go to Insert->AutoText->Signature.

  8. To one-up myself: You can record a macro in Word, recording the Insert->AutoText->Signature-> sequence. You can then add the macro to a menu or toolbar, even add it to the Outlook “Insert” menu.

  9. Email signature only appears in black (Outlook 2003); After reviewing and attempting “Wybren’s” suggestion, it doensn’t appear to how/where do you create a “signature” to insert from “Insert->Autotext->Signature->”? “New” doesn’t appear to work even after formatting the first line.

  10. Steve’s workaround works fine, thank you soooo much! i create signatures that contain text that i send out often, so its an easy way to just insert a template of text- i don’t really use this for signatures.

  11. Thanks, Wybren…it isn’t pretty, but it works. Why they don’t have that feature is beyond me.

  12. Great post, exactly the answer I needed. thanks!

  13. I also use Word for editing my emails in Outlook. What I’ve done is that I’ve added an AutoCorrect entry in Word. So now I just type “sig” and hit enter and Word automatically replaces “sig” with my signature. Of course you can use whatever word you like.

    To do this, just select your signature->Tools -> Autocorrect Options…->enter your word and hit Add.

  14. wow, it does work!

    Macro is definitely the way to go. I had been struggling with this for a while.

    Copy the text you want in your signature
    Tools -> Macro -> Record New Macro
    Set it to Keyboard
    You can even give it a hotkey (mine’s Ctrl+Alt+Shft+s)
    Stop recording
    Highlight what you just pasted
    Insert -> AutoText ->Autotext
    That’s it!

    Thanks a lot, Wybren!

  15. I found this to be easiest:

    Open a new email, which should insert your signature. Then, highlight your full sig, click insert, auto-text, new. Give your signature auto-text a useful name, and save it. Then, go into:

    View->Toolbars->Customize, choose the middle tab “Commands”, scroll down to auto-text. Find your auto-text signature, and then drag it up to your toolbar. Then, whenever you’re forwarding/replying, etc. just click the button on your toolbar.

    Works for me!

  16. I need help and Steve’s post on the 21st Feb was exactly the solution I needed.
    Thanks a lot Steve for your post!!

  17. David solution is the most flexible.

    You can have multiple signatures recorded and select the one you need at any time.

    thanks David

  18. Steve’s solution was like Manna from Heaven! Thanks!!!!

  19. David’s solution is great – thanks!

  20. Thank you David, that was exactly what I was looking for. Spent way too much time in outlook help trying to find out how to insert my signature whan I wanted to. Now I can, thanks to you! Lesson learned: Next time, google it first!

  21. One less thing I need to curse Microsoft for…
    Thanks David!

  22. From my experience signatures are best handled with simple AutoCorrect keystrokes. It’s the most efficient way as it let’s you continue typing without using the mouse.

    I use AutoCorrect and AutoText for many uses including a wide variety of signatures.

    I have at least four signatures that I use frequently, two for each of two companies. In Outlook I have new emails going out in black font color and responses are blue. So for each company I use two different signatures, one in black and one in blue. (Hey, I’m like that – I like to see my signature match the email). Here are my email keystrokes for my four signatures:

    1. “sig1” – company 1 signature in black font color
    2. “sig2” – company 1 signature in blue font color
    3. “sig3” – company 2 signature in black font color
    4. “sig4” – company 2 signature in blue font color

    It’s easy for me to remember what signature is what so I can quickly type the text for the AutoCorrect shortcut.

    I also use them for many phrases, sentences and pages (AutoText) and I have an easy way to remember them. Let’s say there’s a company name of “ABC Lithographic Services” and they also go by the name “ABC”. I simply double the last letter of the easy to remember text. In this case I would create an AutoCorrect entry which types “ABC Lithographic Services” whenever I type the letters “ABCC” (the last letter is doubled).

    I use this for all kinds of AutoCorrect shortcuts. I double the last letter of my initials and it types my full name automatically. I double the last letter of:

    * “addresss” = my full address
    * “emaill” = my email address

    and many others – you can easily create your own.

    I hope you find this helpful.

    -MMD in SoCal

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