How to set Office 365 custom attributes and use them in email signatures

This article was updated on March 18, 2020

Similarly to the on-premises Exchange, Exchange Online contains several attributes you can set for each user. First name, last name, address, organization-related and contact information – it can all be set up in Office 365. While standard AD fields are enough for some Office 365 organizations, a non-standard field is sometimes needed. This is where custom attributes come in handy. In this article, I will discuss how to set up Office 365 custom attributes and show some of their applications.

Custom attributes in Office 365 set them up and use in email signatures

Why use custom attributes?

There are 15 custom attributes in Exchange Online. They are similar to directory extension attributes known from the on-premises Exchange. They can be used to:

And these are just some of their applications. Custom attributes can be used in many other ways, especially by admins who want to filter results generated by various PowerShell cmdlets. However, before you begin using custom attributes, you have to set them up. Read on to learn how.

How to set up custom attributes in Office 365

There are two methods for setting up custom attributes in Office 365: using the Microsoft 365 admin center, and using PowerShell. Another method – using the Exchange Online admin center – will not get its separate section in this article. It is identical to the first one, except for a slightly different access path.

Even though the first method uses a seemingly more friendly UI, you may actually find it much easier to use PowerShell. Compare the two approaches below and decide for yourself.

Editing custom attributes using Office 365 Admin Center

  1. Log in to your Office 365 tenant and click the Admin app.
    Set up custom attributes in Office 365 01
  2. Next, go to Users > Active users.
    Set up custom attributes in Office 365 02
  3. Select a user with an active mailbox to access their properties. Then, go to Mail > Edit Exchange properties.
    Set up custom attributes in Office 365 03
  4. Click More options to expand the window to show custom attributes. Next, click the Edit button to add additional fields.
    Set up custom attributes in Office 365 05
  5. A new window will open. Here you can modify custom attributes for the selected user.
    Set up custom attributes in Office 365 06

Editing custom attributes using PowerShell

Before you start editing, check if custom attributes have already been populated:

Get-mailbox | FL CustomAttribute*

To edit the first custom attribute for a single user, use the following cmdlet:

Set-Mailbox -CustomAttribute1 <the new value>

You can change a custom attribute for a group of users or for all users:

Get-Mailbox | Set-Mailbox -CustomAttribute5 <the new value>

As you can see, setting up custom attributes using PowerShell is much quicker than going through the UI, especially if you need to change those properties in bulk.

Using custom attributes in email signatures

To use custom attributes in email signatures, you need CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365.

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 is an email signature management service that allows you to unify email signatures and disclaimers in an organization, regardless of email clients and mobile devices used.

Office 365 custom attributes in email signatures

You can use a placeholder in an email signature template to insert an individual value of your users’ custom attribute. This simple action allows you to:

  • Add one-click customer satisfaction surveys to your emails. One-click surveys are an easy way to collect feedback about your services from your customers. Most people are not willing to fill in a lengthy questionnaire about their customer experience. One-click surveys allow a much more friendly option of just clicking a rating button. Read more about CSAT surveys in email signatures.
  • Provide scheduling links. A scheduling link in an email signature is a great way to make it easier for customers to book a demo or any other kind of meeting. Instead of troublesome back-and-forth emails to book time, you can automatically direct your customers to your or your team’s calendar. It is especially helpful if you and your customer reside in different time zones. Read more about the easy scheduling of meetings.
  • Add additional contact details. In some cases, you need to add additional contact information or specific IDs to your email disclaimer. Using custom attributes, you can any kind of user-specific attribute to their email signature, automatically.
  • Run A/B tests of your marketing campaigns. If you insert different links as users’ custom attributes, you can use the exact same email signature template with different banners and landing pages. As a result, you can easily let your marketing team test the effectiveness of their email campaigns.

How to use Office 365 custom attributes in email signatures

Using a custom attribute in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 is much easier and quicker than adding one in Exchange Online. All you need to do is open the Signature template editor, pick a placeholder with the custom attribute you need, and every user’s signature will be personalized using the values of attributes selected.

In addition to the use cases mentioned in the previous section of this article, you can also add social media buttons linking for example to your employees’ LinkedIn profiles automatically:

Add LinkedIn social media link 2

You can add a link to WhatsApp chat in the HTML code directly:

Add custom attribute to HTML

If you don’t want to add a link to every user’s signature, you can always leave the Office 365 custom attribute field empty and add the {RT} tags:

RT tags in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365

This way, if a given attribute is not defined for a user (the field in Azure Active Directory is empty), the whole element between the {RT} tags will not appear in this user’s email signature.

Learn more about using custom attributes in CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365

More about Office 365 email signatures

Email signatures are often a neglected aspect of communication in organizations. CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 lets you upgrade your organizational email signature from an invisible addition to an invaluable, attractive asset. Build your branding and gain more marketing opportunities thanks to our software.

Suggested reading:

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 is the world-leading and highest rated email signature solution for Microsoft 365 & Office 365. It’s a cloud service deployed on Microsoft Azure in a region of customer’s choice, backed up by world’s only 4-level security system compliant with ISO/IEC 27001 & 27018 and a free 1-year Microsoft 365 data backup service, which makes it the most secure signature software on the market. Our product is co-engineered with Microsoft and awarded by Microsoft for exceptional Customer Experience.

CodeTwo offers solutions for organization-wide email signature management, data backup and migration for Microsoft 365 & Exchange Server, developed for 15 years and used by over 90k organizations worldwide, including Facebook, Samsung and UNICEF.

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