Email Signature Etiquette

by Tricia Goss

Using a signature in the email messages you send allows you to include details about yourself and your business instantly. While most email applications allow you to embellish your signature with pictures, hyperlinks and font variations, there is etiquette that should be considered, especially if you are using your email signature for professional purposes.

Email Signature "Should's"

There are several items and features an email signature should include. First, all of the lines in the email signature should be aligned to the left of the signature box. This includes any pictures or hyperlinks as well. The first line of an email signature should be a closing sentiment, such as "Thank you," or "Sincerely." The email signature should include sufficient contact information, which will vary depending on the contact information you want email recipients to have. It should include your name, possibly your department and title, your company name and website, if applicable. If the business does not have a website with your address and phone number easily accessible, you may want to include these items as well. A business motto is also appropriate. Do keep the email signature simple and easy to read. Four to six lines of text is a good rule of thumb. It is also a good idea to have at least two email signatures from which to choose. If you are emailing a coworker or family member, they obviously know where you work and how to contact you. In addition, consider changing your email settings so that the more elaborate email signature is only used for new messages. If you have an ongoing email conversation, your signature will not be necessary on every single response.

Email Signature "Shouldn'ts"

You do not need to include your email address in the email signature, since it is easily found in the message heading. Refrain from using unique or fancy fonts that may not be enabled on the computers of your email message recipients. Stick with basic, legible fonts. If you use an image or a graphic, remember that less is more. Keep any pictures small and tasteful. Large or animated graphics will make for email messages that are large and take up space on your recipients' computers or email servers. Don't use a jumble of different fonts, sizes or colors. If you want to include some artistic flair, stick with two fonts in the same family, such as "Arial Narrow" and "Arial Bold," or use two different font colors that are in the same color scheme.

Other Considerations

Add a few blank lines at the top of your email signature to keep it from being too close to the body of the email message. After you have created an email signature, proof it carefully for spelling and punctuation errors before putting it to use.

About the Author

Tricia Goss' credits include Fitness Plus, Good News Tucson and Layover Magazine. She is certified in Microsoft application and served as the newsletter editor for She has also contributed to The Dollar Stretcher, Life Tips and Childcare Magazine.

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