Knowledge Base

Changing signature in Outlook overwrites email content


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.


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:

Remove old signature together with the adjacent lines

When manually removing the ‘old’ signature, highlight its visible elements together with the preceding line and the following line. This should remove the entire signature, including the white (invisible) characters.

The highlighted signature together with the lines with invisible (white) characters before and after it.
Fig. 2. The highlighted signature together with the lines with invisible (white) characters before and after it.

Change message format

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).

Keep in mind that changing the message format will remove all the text ‘decorations’ from your message like font type, color, bold, underline, etc. That’s why, this method is advisable only when your message includes a simple text without any formatting applied.

  1. First, change the message format from HTML to plain text by clicking the Format Text tab and going to the more options icon > Message Format > Plain Text, as shown in Fig. 3.

Changing new message’s format.
Fig. 3. Changing new message’s format.

  1. Next, highlight & remove the signature (changed into its plain-text version).
  2. Switch the message’s format back to HTML by following the instructions from step 1 and choosing HTML instead.


    Keep in mind that changing the message’s format to HTML is the only action in the process that is irreversible. As a precaution, you can copy your message contents to e.g. Notepad.

  3. Insert the ‘new’ signature.

If methods above don’t work, you can always use the Ctrl+Z keyboard shortcut to undo the text removing action (the only exception: switching to the HTML format). 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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