Create custom email signatures in Mail

MailboxAn email always has a From: that contains the sender's email address and sometimes it even contains a proper name. However, this is not an excuse to end an email improperly and not include a signature. A signature can contain more than just your name and it is an essential component of an email message. You may not have realised it, but you can create impressive signatures in Mail in OS X on the Mac.

A signature will always contain your name, but the rest of the content is up to you. When a new email message is created, Mail automatically adds the signature at the end of the message to save you having to type it in. It is a great way to save time and effort.

A signature for a business user might contain information relating to your company, your position and ways to contact you, but a personal signature could contain some fun elements too. Mail lets you create multiple signatures and you can have both business and fun ones, and select the one you want to use.

Start Mail (I am using OS X Mavericks, but you can try this in older versions of OS X). Go to the Mail menu, select Preferences and then select the Signatures tab. If you have never created a signature before, select an account on the left and click the plus button at the bottom. Click in the right-hand pane and type whatever you want to include at the end of an email. Here is an example:

Mail signatures in OS X

What you may not have realised is that the right hand pane is a mini rich text editor. Think how you would use TextEdit without the menus and you'll get the idea. For example, you can select text by clicking and dragging over it with the mouse. You can then use Command+B to make it bold, Command+I for italic, and Command+U to underline it. You can mix these too, as shown in the top line here, which has both bold and underlined text:

Mail signatures in OS X

That is looking better already, but there is more we can do. Press Ctrl+Command+Spacebar and an Emoji window pops up. There is a toolbar down at the bottom to select the character set and a scrollbar on the right to scroll through them. Click an Emoji character to insert it, press Ctrl+Command+Spacebar to insert another. In the example here, I pressed Command+I to turn off italic after RAW Mac otherwise I would have got an italic Emoji:

Mail signatures in OS X

After creating your custom signature, close the window and click the button in Mail to create a new email message. You'll see the email signature added to the bottom of the message. This looks far better than plain text and you can have a lot of fun creating entertaining signatures to impress your friends.

Mail signatures in OS X

Notice that the signature includes a link to a website and an email address. You might be tempted to try to turn them into a hyperlink and mailto link. Don't bother because it isn't necessary. When this email is received by someone, the hyperlink and mailto link magically work:

Mail signatures in OS X

This last screen shot shows an interesting effect and the Emoji characters aren't quite the same. Unlike fonts where Times New Roman or Arial is the same on every computer and program, it appears that there isn't a standard for Emoji. The screen shot of the email above was taken in Google Chrome. It's running on a Mac, but it appears to be using  its own Emoji character set rather than the one in OS X. The differences are minor though.

Intro image is public domain from


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