Knowledge Base

Changing signature in Outlook overwrites email content

Problem:

When composing an email, you highlight an email signature and remove it from message body. Next, you type your message. When you insert a new signature, the text you’ve just typed disappears and is replaced by the new signature.

Solution:

Apart from the visible elements, an email signature may include so-called white characters (invisible characters) in the line that precedes and in the line that follows the visible elements. It is especially common for signatures with their design based on a table.

When you manually highlight and remove the visible elements of the signature, the white characters are still there, and Outlook assumes your signature is there, too. As a result, when you insert a new signature using the Signature button on the ribbon, Outlook removes the text that you’ve typed in the lines with white characters, considering it to be a part of the old signature.

To learn how the process looks like, see Fig. 1. below:

Inserting another signature makes your text disappear.
Fig. 1. Inserting another signature makes your text disappear.

To prevent the text of your message from being mistakenly deleted, use one of the following tricks:

  • When manually removing the ‘old’ signature, highlight its visible elements along with the preceding line and the following line. This should remove the entire signature, including the white characters.
  • Before you intend to remove the ‘old’ signature, change the message format from HTML to plain text. Next, highlight & remove the signature (changed into its plain-text version). Finally, switch the message’s format back to HTML, type your text, and insert the ‘new’ signature.

    Important

    The second solution is possible for new messages only, as you cannot change the format set by the original sender (when you use the reply/forward option).

    To change the message format in a new message window in Outlook, click the Format Text tab and go to more options icon > Message Format > Plain Text, as shown in Fig. 2. To switch back to HTML, select HTML in the last step instead.

    Changing new message’s format.
    Fig. 2. Changing new message’s format.

If methods above don’t work, you can always use the Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcut to undo the text removing action. Then copy your text to store it in a safe place and finally paste it once you’ve inserted the desirable signature.

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