How to let your users manage their information visibility

This article describes how to let your users decide which of their information they want to show or not to show in their signatures, disclaimers and automatic replies.

When your organization is licensed to use CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365, you, as an admin, can access a free tool named User attributes manager. It gives you a complete control over all aspects of your users’ attributes that are stored in the CodeTwo Azure AD cache, being available to use in template editor as placeholders. The tool is complemented by User info editor which is a solution designed for your end users to manage their attributes by themselves. The editor offers you and your end users a number of advantages:

  • You can reduce the burden of attributes’ management for yourself, especially when only simple, isolated changes are required.
  • Your users have a greater control over their details to be used in signatures, disclaimers and auto-replies because they can preview them.
  • Your users can enjoy certain degree of freedom (depending on your choices in the User attributes manager) as far as managing their details is concerned.

The last advantage covers a set of possibilities. In this article, we’re going to deal with the idea of your user’s deciding if they want to fill in an attribute’s value or they prefer to leave it empty, so that given information isn’t displayed when a recipient receives an email from them.

To learn more about our attributes’ management solution, read this article (contains a short introductory video).

Basics

This article shows how to configure CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365 for a specific usage scenario. If you need more basic information, use the links below:

How to configure the program for this scenario

From this example, you will learn how to let your users decide if they want to have their mobile phone number included in an email signature or not.

Important

All the changes you make with the User attributes manager as well as your users make with the User info editor do not affect your original Azure AD data. They are reflected only in the signatures, disclaimers and automatic replies added by CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 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

Configure attribute editability

Before your users can make decision about providing or not providing their mobile phone number, you need to use the User attributes manager to make the {Mobile} attribute available for editing by them in the User info editor.

To start, log in at attributes.codetwo.com (the User attributes manager), providing your Microsoft 365 global admin’s credentials.

Info

If you use the manager for the first time, you need to consent to permissions requested by our web app on behalf of your organization.

The Attribute visibility settings page will appear (Fig. 1., item 1). Locate the {Mobile} attribute and make sure that both the checkboxes next to it are enabled (Fig. 1., item 2). That way, your users will be able to both see the attribute (Visible) and edit its value (Editable) in the User info editor. Finally, click Save for the changes to take effect (Fig. 1., item 3).

Editing the visibility and editability of the {Mobile} attribute.
Fig. 1. Editing the visibility and editability of the {Mobile} attribute.

Edit attribute (user’s part)

Now that the {Mobile} attribute is available for editing, you need to ask your users to fill out its value in the User info editor. If a user prefers to have this attribute removed from their signature, they should simply clear its value.

Provide users with the following instructions:

Info

If you use the editor for the first time, you need to consent to permissions requested by the web app.

If the attribute was in the company’s directory, its value will be displayed here. Provide your up-to-date mobile phone number in the field next to Mobile if you want to have it included in your email signature or delete it if you don’t want your recipients to see it. Click Save & update to apply the change. Finally, sign out by clicking your photo/icon and Sign out (Fig. 2.).

User adds their mobile phone number in the User info editor.
Fig. 2. User adds their mobile phone number in the User info editor.

Mind the design

Once your users have edited (or not edited) the {Mobile} attribute according to their liking, it’s time to add it to a signature template by following these instructions.

Doing it, keep in mind that if a user decides not to provide the attribute’s value in the User info editor or deletes the original value, it may negatively impact the overall design of the signature in that user’s emails, e.g. an undesired empty space may appear.

To avoid the problem, you, as an admin, can use either of the following fallback features available with CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365:

  • RT tags (remove empty placeholder) – simply surround the {Mobile} attribute/placeholder with the RT tags. If no value is available for the placeholder, it will be removed from the signature and no unnecessary empty space will be created. Learn more
  • Conditional placeholders – use the {Mobile} attribute/placeholder to create a conditional placeholder definition. In the definition, you can set up a number of conditions, e.g. if no value is found for the attribute, you can insert a generic (company-wide) mobile phone number instead. Learn more

Prevent potential misuses

Letting your end users edit their details and decide which ones to include is definitely a good idea. Thanks to that, they feel in control of their data. On the other hand, this poses certain risks such as:

  • providing incorrect information by mistake;
  • providing made-up, funny, or distasteful information on purpose, e.g. for a joke;
  • not providing information when it’s required.

In this context, the best idea is to generally let your users edit only these attributes that are less important, optional, or require frequent changes.

For example, letting your users edit their job title may not be a good idea. It’s an important information whose change should be consulted with e.g. HR Department. Conversely, allowing end users to edit a CodeTwo custom attribute to store their LinkedIn profile address should be OK. If a user wants to present their professional experience in detail to e.g. potential customers, they can simply add the link in User info editor, following the instructions from the Edit attribute section.

If you simply want to check if there are any misuse cases or you actually suspect that certain users abuse their privilege to edit data, you can use the User attributes manager to easily verify that.

To start, log in at attributes.codetwo.com, providing your Microsoft 365 global admin’s credentials. Go to the Import/Export tab and click the Export to CSV button (Fig. 3.).

Exporting the CSV file listing all the changes made by your end users.
Fig. 3. Exporting the CSV file listing all the changes made by your end users.

Once you save and open the file (e.g. with Microsoft Excel), you’ll see a list of end users and the attributes they changed. That way, you can instantly see who’s modified what. In our example CSV file, we can easily see that user MeganB defined funny but unprofessional and undesirable value for the (Job) Title attribute - most probably because her associates asked her for help too many a time (Fig. 4.).

Info

Empty cells mean the values have not been changed and are the same as in your Azure Active Directory.

Easily locate any misuse in the CSV file exported from the User attributes manager.
Fig. 4. Easily locate any misuse in the CSV file exported from the User attributes manager.

Result

Regardless of which signature mode you choose, if a user decided to fill out the value for the {Mobile} attribute, their mobile phone number will be shown to recipients in the signature (Fig. 5.).

Signature of a user who provided their mobile phone number in the User info editor.
Fig. 5. Signature of a user who provided their mobile phone number in the User info editor.

On the other hand, when a user deleted the value for the {Mobile} attribute or left it empty, no mobile phone number will be included in their signature when a recipient opens their email. Additionally, RT tags prevented unnecessary empty space (Fig. 6.).

The same signature of a user who did not provide their mobile phone number.
Fig. 6. The same signature of a user who did not provide their mobile phone number.

See also

Adding extra information about your user to their signature - learn how to use CodeTwo custom attributes to conveniently include additional details in an email signature, disclaimer or auto-reply.

Letting users manage automatic replies on their own - see how to let your users configure basic settings for auto-replies, including enabling/disabling them, while maintaining control of their contents.

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