How to add extra information to your signature with custom attributes
Learn how to use CodeTwo custom attributes to enrich your email signature, disclaimer or auto-reply with additional & unique information about your users.
When it comes to email signatures, the basic set of Azure AD attributes (e.g. First Name, Display Name or City) is usually sufficient for most organizations. If you need something more than that, you usually go for built-in Microsoft 365 custom attributes (CustomAttribute1-15). These additional attributes, however, aren’t the most convenient solution because:
- they require lots of manual clicking through your users (and if you want some automation, you are stuck with PowerShell);
- you cannot change these attributes’ names, so you always have to remember what each attribute stores;
- even if you need to implement a single change in details of a single user, you cannot make something as simple as asking that user to do it on their own.
Fortunately, if your organization is licensed to use CodeTwo Email Signatures 365, you can access the User attributes manager. This free tool lets you handle scenarios previously achieved with custom attributes (and more). In addition, it is easier and gives you the option to let users manage some of their personal information available in signatures, disclaimers and auto-replies. For more information on our attribute management solution, read this article or watch this short video:
With the manager available at attributes.codetwo.com, as a global admin, you can quickly and efficiently create as many custom attributes as you wish. Next, you can use them to insert the following extra information about your users into their signatures, disclaimers and automatic replies:
- academic title,
- information about an award (e.g. teacher of the year),
- preferred first name,
- professional license number,
- NMLS ID,
- LinkedIn profile address,
- and many more.
This article shows how to configure CodeTwo Email Signatures 365 for a specific usage scenario. If you need more basic information, use the links below:
How to configure the program for this scenario
In this example, we will create a CodeTwo custom attribute to store a physician professional license number. The path is essentially the same, regardless of what custom attribute you’re planning to deploy.
All the changes you make with the User attributes manager (creating custom attributes included) do not affect your original Azure AD data. They are reflected only in the signatures, disclaimers and automatic replies added by CodeTwo Email Signatures 365. If you want to restore original Azure AD data in your signatures, disclaimers, and auto-replies, you can do it as well. Learn more
Create custom attribute
First of all, you need to create your custom attribute. To start, sign in at attributes.codetwo.com using your Microsoft 365 global admin credentials – the Attribute visibility settings page will appear. In the CodeTwo custom attributes section, click Add. Next, provide your attribute’s name, e.g. physicianLicense, and click ADD (Fig. 1.).
Fig. 1. Adding a new CodeTwo custom attribute.
That’s it. You now have a new custom attribute that is by default available and editable to all users in your organization (Fig. 2., item 1). By changing the Editable checkbox you decide whether users will be able to edit the attribute in a dedicated tool. The only thing you need to do now is to save the changes by clicking Save at the bottom (Fig. 2., item 2).
Fig. 2. Saving the newly created custom attribute.
Fill in values for your custom attribute
When it comes to filling in values of any new CodeTwo custom attribute, you have two options:
- Ask your users to enter the value of the attribute themselves
- Bulk add the value on your own for all users
Asking users to fill in attribute’s value
This option is OK when your user base is not that big or, for example, you don’t know the information about your users that needs to be provided.
To get the attribute’s value filled in, instruct your users as follows:
Go to user.codetwo.com in your browser and sign in with your Microsoft 365 credentials. In the User info editor, locate the physicianLicense attribute, fill out the field next to it with your physician license number, and finally click Save & update to save the change (Fig. 3.).
Fig. 3. Your user has provided their custom attribute’s value – now they need to save the change.
This is where you user’s part ends. Remember to allow some time for the change to propagate.
Bulk editing custom attribute value for your users
If your user base is large or you cannot ask your users to fill out the necessary field for a different reason, the User attributes manager lets you update users’ attributes in bulk, too.
To begin, sign in at attributes.codetwo.com once again, but this time go to the Import/Export tab, and click Export to CSV (Fig. 4.). Save the CSV file to a convenient location and open it for editing in e.g. Microsoft Excel.
Fig. 4. Exporting CSV file from the User attributes manager for bulk editing.
Once the file opens, paste UPNs of all the users for whom you want to use the physicianLicense attribute into the UPN column. Next, hide some columns, so that you can see the UPN and physicianLicense columns close to each other for easy editing (see Tip below for more information). Finally, fill in the value of the custom attribute for each user. In our example, this will be a physician professional license number (Fig. 5.).
Since CodeTwo custom attributes are located in the CSV file after all the standard & additional AAD attributes, it’s a good idea to temporarily hide most of the columns listing these AAD attributes, so that you can easily see for which user you edit the value of the CodeTwo custom attribute (e.g. physicianLicense). To hide columns in Excel, select the columns, right-click anywhere inside your selection and choose Hide.
Fig. 5. Bulk editing your custom attribute for chosen users.
Once you’re OK with all the changes, save the file and import it back to the User attributes manager. To this end, sign in at attributes.codetwo.com, go to the Import/Export tab, and click Import from CSV. Next, select your CSV file, choose Selective import, and click IMPORT (Fig. 6.).
Fig. 6. Importing the updated CSV file into the User attributes manager.
That’s it. Your changes are saved automatically - you don’t have to do or click anything.
Add your custom attribute to signature
Once the physicianLicense attribute is configured, it’s time to add it to a signature template.
Sign in at app.codetwo.com and choose or create the signature, disclaimer or automatic reply to which you want to add the custom attribute.
You can use CodeTwo custom attributes with any rule type: cloud (server-side), Outlook (client-side), or autoresponder.
Make sure to add the users for whom you want to use the custom attribute in the Senders step. You can simply choose All senders as well. Learn more
Next, go to the Design step and click Edit signature (or Edit reply message). The template editor opens. Put the cursor in the place where you want the extra information (e.g. the license number assigned to the physicianLicense attribute) to appear in your user’s signature, disclaimer or auto-reply. Then, on the editor’s ribbon, go to Placeholder > Message Sender > Additional attributes and choose your custom attribute (Fig. 7.).
Fig. 7. Inserting the CodeTwo custom attribute into the signature template.
Optionally, if you don't always want to include the extra information in your signature or auto reply, or wish to avoid the situations when there's an empty space because a user forgot to fill in the custom attribute's value, you can use the Remove empty placeholder option, as shown in Fig. 8. Learn more about this option and how to use it
Fig. 8. Using the RT tags to remove the line with the custom attribute if its value is missing.
To apply your changes and exit the editor, click Apply & Close. Remember to also save your rules’ configuration in the signature management app.
Now every time a user sends an email which meets the rule’s criteria, the placeholder will be replaced with the extra information (Fig. 9.).
Fig. 9. The signature with the extra information fetched from CodeTwo custom attribute – physician professional license number.
Thanks to that, recipients will be able see all the relevant data about them, including the information that is not covered by standard Azure AD attributes - all of that with no clicking through admin centers, syncing, tokens, etc. And, for example, if a new physician joins your medical center or hospital, you will be able to quickly update their info by asking them to enter it at user.codetwo.com or by adding a single entry to the CSV file.
Letting users manage their information visibility - see how to let your end users decide which information about them should appear or not appear in their signatures, disclaimers and automatic replies.