How to create a modular email signature to be reused by multiple departments

You can use conditional placeholders to create a modular CodeTwo email signature with dynamically changing elements. This will help you to:

  • Prepare an email signature design that consists of a fixed part and replaceable department-specific part(s) that change depending on what’s the department of a sender.
  • Reduce the administrative burden of maintaining multiple email signatures for different organizational units.

A sample modular email signature with common parts and parts that change from department to department (Photo/Logo, bottom part of the signature).
Fig. 1. A sample modular email signature with common parts and parts that change from department to department (Photo/Logo, bottom part of the signature).

Configuration

We’re going to prepare a modular email signature in a few stages:

  • create a common, fixed part of the signature for all the departments that contains basic user’s information, company’s social media icons, etc.;
  • configure a user photo to display for senders from the Customer Service & Sales departments, while the company logo for other ones;
  • configure a department-specific bottom part of the signature that, depending on a sender, changes between the Customer Service, Sales, and Marketing and other departments.

The steps below can be completed regardless of which signature type (cloud or Outlook) you’re using in CodeTwo Email Signatures 365.

Important

For these steps to work, all your users need to have the Department attribute filled out correctly in Entra ID (Azure AD). If you need to supply missing information, you can do it in the Microsoft 365 admin center or (more conveniently) by using our Attributes manager. Learn more

Configure the common part

  1. Sign in to the Signatures app as a Microsoft 365 global administrator or a signature rule admin. Learn more
  2. Create and configure a new email signature rule (learn more). For the sake of this presentation, we’ll create an Outlook (client-side) one.
  3. In the Senders step, add All users to the upper list. This way, all your users (from all the departments) will be able to use this signature in their emails.
  4. Leave the defaults in the Scheduler and Logic steps.
  5. In the Design step, click Edit signature to start designing your signature visually.
  6. It might be a good idea to base your design on one of the available predefined layouts. So, when the Template library window opens, choose a layout template that suits you the most and click it (Fig. 2.).

    Tip

    You can also base your design on one of the ready-made email signature templates. Bear, however, in mind that these designs are preformatted and might be more difficult to edit & adapt to your needs.

Sample layout templates to choose from.
Fig. 2. Sample layout templates to choose from.

  1. Add the signature content that will be common to all your users (regardless of the department) like first and last name, title, contact information, social media icons, etc. to your signature design. For more comprehensive instructions on how to do it, have a look at the guide on designing an email signature from scratch. The ready common part of your email signature (Fig. 3.) might look something like this:

A sample email signature design prepared with CodeTwo Email Signatures 365.
Fig. 3. A sample email signature design prepared with CodeTwo Email Signatures 365.

  1. Before proceeding to the next stage, it’s a good idea to save your signature design and rule without publishing it yet. To do it, click Apply & Close (the Main tab) in the editor and next Save (the Design step) in the Signatures app.

Configure the variable parts

To configure the variable parts of the signature, we’re going to use the Conditional placeholders feature in the template editor of CodeTwo Email Signatures 365.

A placeholder is an element in an email signature design which can be replaced with chosen value/content in real time when a user sends an email with that signature. In contrast to ordinary placeholders from Entra ID (Azure AD) like {First name} replaced with user’s first name, {Title} replaced with user’s position, etc., conditional placeholders can be replaced with one of many values (e.g. Entra ID user’s attribute, a picture or even an entire HTML section), depending on which placeholder’s condition is met.

In short, we’re going to use conditions based on sender’s department to update a conditional placeholder (and hence email signature) with content that’s suitable for that sender’s department – all of that without the need to design separate signatures for different departments.

Proceed to see how to create sample variable parts of your signature – you can simply use the ideas below or let the ideas inspire you to prepare your very own changeable signature contents.

Idea #1: User photo vs. company logo

In case of departments that contact your customers directly, like Customer Support/Success or Sales, it might be a good idea to include a personal photo of an employee in the email signature to add a personal touch and build trust & engagement. For employees from other departments, you might want to include your company’s logo instead. Here’s how to achieve it:

  1. To begin, re-open the editor by clicking Edit signature (the Design step of your email signature rule configuration).
  2. Click inside the area of the signature where you want a user photo or the company logo to appear. Go to the Table layout tab on the editor’s ribbon and note down the Column width value, as you’ll need it later (Fig. 4.).

Checking the column width in the template editor.
Fig. 4. Checking the column width in the template editor.

  1. Click Conditional placeholder on the editor’s ribbon and select Manage (Fig. 5.) – this will open the Conditional placeholders manager.

Opening the Conditional placeholders manager.
Fig. 5. Opening the Conditional placeholders manager.

  1. Click + in the Placeholders area to add a new conditional placeholder. Name it according to your needs, avoiding special characters like brackets or parentheses. Finally, click OK – the placeholder will appear on the list (Fig. 6.).

Creating a new conditional placeholder.
Fig. 6. Creating a new conditional placeholder.

  1. Go to the Placeholder rules area and click + to add a new placeholder rule. A dialog will pop up – click OK to close it.
  2. First, you need to specify a condition that will trigger the rule. Do it as follows:
    1. Click the ellipsis () button in the Condition column to open a popup window where you can define placeholder conditions (conditions builder).
    2. Since you want your signature to include a photo for people from Customer Support and Sales departments, configure your conditions as follows:
      1. For Sender property, choose Department.
      2. In the Operator column, choose equals.
      3. Type the first department name (e.g. Customer Support) in the Value column. Bear in mind that the name must be exactly the same as used in your Entra ID (Azure AD).
      4. Click + to add another condition and choose Or in the And/or column.
      5. Repeat steps i-ii.
      6. Put the name of the second department (e.g. Sales) in the Value column.
      7. Your conditions should now look similar to the ones shown in Fig. 7.

        Making sure the rule will apply only to people from Customer Support and Sales departments.
        Fig. 7. Making sure the rule will apply only to people from Customer Support and Sales departments.

    3. Finally, click OK in the bottom right corner to close the conditions builder.
  3. Next, decide what content/value your placeholder should be replaced with if one of the conditions is met for a sender. Since you want to display a photo for each employee from Customer Support and Sales departments, click the down-facing arrow button in the Placeholder value column, and go to Message sender > Photo (Fig. 8.).

Setting Microsoft 365 user profile photo as the value of the conditional placeholder.
Fig. 8. Setting Microsoft 365 user profile photo as the value of the conditional placeholder.

  1. In the Photo placeholder properties popup window, select Adjust dimensions and specify the width of a user’s photo displayed in your signature. Use a slightly smaller value than the one you noted down in step 2 to ensure there’s a margin and the photo doesn’t blend with adjacent signature elements. Leave 0 for Height and finally click OK (Fig. 9.).

Setting up the dimensions of user’s photo in the email signature.
Fig. 9. Setting up the dimensions of user’s photo in the email signature.

  1. Your placeholder rule is now complete. All you need to do next is to take care of the users from other departments for whom your organization’s logo will be displayed instead of a Microsoft 365 profile photo. Click the down-facing arrow button in the Default placeholder value area and choose Picture (Fig. 10.).

Setting the conditional placeholder’s value to company logo for the remaining users.
Fig. 10. Setting the conditional placeholder’s value to company logo for the remaining users.

  1. In the Insert picture popup window, add an embedded or an online picture of your company’s logo. Similar to user’s photo set the Width to a slightly smaller value than column width noted down in step 2. Finally, make sure the Keep aspect ratio option is selected, add the alternative text, and click OK (Fig. 11.).

Specifying the company logo image properties.
Fig. 11. Specifying the company logo image properties.

  1. Your conditional placeholder is now ready. Click SAVE at the bottom to save it in CodeTwo Email Signatures 365.
  2. Now, you just need to insert your conditional placeholder into your signature’s design. To do it, click the place where you want a photo or the logo to appear in your email signature, click Conditional placeholder, and choose your newly created placeholder from the list (Fig. 12.).

Adding your conditional placeholder to the email signature’s design.
Fig. 12. Adding your conditional placeholder to the email signature’s design.

  1. Once the conditional placeholder has been inserted, click Apply & Close to save your changes (Fig. 13.). When you exit the editor, click Save to save the changes also in the Signatures app.

Saving the email signature design with the inserted conditional placeholder.
Fig. 13. Saving the email signature design with the inserted conditional placeholder.

Now, proceed to creating another conditional placeholder that, upon sending an email, will turn into department-specific content of the signature, displayed at its very bottom.

Idea #2: Department-specific content at the bottom of the signature

While the top part of an email signature is usually uniform across all users, containing the most basic information, the bottom part gives you more freedom in terms of design. In this section, we’re going to show you a few examples of how you can personalize the bottom of your modular signature per department.

  1. To begin, re-open the editor by clicking Edit signature (the Design step of your email signature rule).
  2. Next, make sure that your email signature design contains an empty table cell at the bottom to accommodate the variable part/content of the signature (Fig. 14.).

An empty table cell where variable content will be inserted based on conditional placeholder’s rules.
Fig. 14. An empty table cell where variable content will be inserted based on conditional placeholder’s rules.

  1. If not, add a table cell by using the controls on the Table layout tab of editor’s ribbon. For more detailed explanations, see this article section in user’s manual.
  2. Once the empty cell is there, click inside it and go to the Table layout tab to check its width (Fig. 15.), as you will need it later.

Checking the total width of the bottom table cell.
Fig. 15. Checking the total width of the bottom table cell.

  1. Next, click Conditional placeholder on the editor’s ribbon, and select Manage to access the Conditional placeholders manager once again.
  2. Create a new conditional placeholder by clicking + in the Placeholders area and name it e.g. Department specific.
  3. This time, before proceeding to define any department-specific conditions, let’s first decide on the default placeholder’s value/content that will be displayed for all the users that do not belong to departments for which you’re going to define the conditions. In our example, it will be a standard company banner. Of course, you can decide on something completely different, e.g. a simple (plain) text or an HTML element. To add the banner, click the down-facing arrow button (in the Default placeholder value area) and select Picture (see Fig. 10.).
  4. In the Insert picture popup window, add an embedded or an online picture of your standard company banner. Set the Width to the value that equals the column width you checked in step 4. Finally, make sure the Keep aspect ratio option is selected, add an alternative text, and click OK (Fig. 16.).

Adding a standard company banner – the banner width matches the previously checked table cell width.
Fig. 16. Adding a standard company banner – the banner width matches the previously checked table cell width.

  1. Now, let’s move on to configuring placeholder rules responsible for inserting department-specific content. For a start, click the + sign in the Placeholder rules area and click OK to close the dialog that pops up.
  2. Click the ellipsis () button in the Condition column to open another window where you can define a condition for a department (the conditions builder) (Fig. 17.).

Adding a new placeholder rule and accessing the conditions builder.
Fig. 17. Adding a new placeholder rule and accessing the conditions builder.

  1. Configure the condition as follows (Fig. 18.):
    1. Choose Department for Sender property.
    2. In the Operator column, choose equals.
    3. In Value, type/paste name of a chosen department (Customer Support, in our example).
    4. Click OK to save the condition and close the condition builder.

Defining a condition for the Customer Support department.
Fig. 18. Defining a condition for the Customer Support department.

  1. Next, click the down-facing arrow button in the Placeholder value column and choose the type of content you would like to insert into the signature when a member of the Customer Support team sends an email. You can choose to use a property/attribute, picture, plain text, or an HTML element. We’re going to choose the last option (HTML content), as it gives you the most flexibility (Fig. 19.).

Choosing the type of value/content that will replace the conditional placeholder on sending an email.
Fig. 19. Choosing the type of value/content that will replace the conditional placeholder on sending an email.

  1. An HTML snippet editor will open, letting you to freely design the content to replace the conditional placeholder with. You can use the icons in the Insert group to add different elements. In our example, we’re going to insert a table for an even alignment of the content and next add a links to useful documentation, a special banner, and information about the guaranteed response time (Fig. 20.).

    Tip

    To ensure good looks of your email signature elements, go to the Table layout tab of the HTML snippet editor and make sure the column width is the same as the one you checked in step 4 above.

An example of content designed for the Customer Support department.
Fig. 20. An example of content designed for the Customer Support department.

  1. When you’re done, click Apply & Close on the ribbon to save your design (see Fig. 20.).

    Tip

    It might also be a good idea to save the changes in the Conditional placeholders manager every time you finish configuring a rule (condition + value) by clicking SAVE (see the bottom of Fig. 17.). This lets you avoid losing your progress, e.g. in case your browser crashes.

    To return to creating another rule of the conditional placeholder (for next department), simply reopen the Conditional placeholders manager by clicking Conditional placeholder on the editor’s ribbon and selecting Manage.

  2. Next, repeat steps 9-14 to prepare a separate condition and the content for each other department. Take a look at Fig. 21. and Fig. 22. below for some ideas:

An example of content designed for the Marketing department.
Fig. 21. An example of content designed for the Marketing department.

An example of content designed for the Sales department.
Fig. 22. An example of content designed for the Sales department.

  1. Once you’ve prepared the conditions and the contents for all the desired departments, click SAVE in the Conditional placeholders manager main window (Fig. 23.) to save your conditional placeholder, which by now should look something like this:

Saving a complete conditional placeholder with conditions and values defined.
Fig. 23. Saving a complete conditional placeholder with conditions and values defined.

  1. Now, all that’s left is to add the conditional placeholder to your email signature design. To do it, click inside the empty cell at the bottom of the signature design and select Conditional placeholder > <your_conditional_placeholder_name> (in our example, it’s Department specific), as shown in Fig. 24.

Inserting the conditional placeholder into your email signature design.
Fig. 24. Inserting the conditional placeholder into your email signature design.

  1. Finally, save your signature design & rule by clicking Apply & Close (in the editor) and Save & Publish (in the Signatures app).

From now on, when your users send emails, their signature will differ in terms of the variable parts, depending on a sender’s department, while retaining the common & uniform informative part, as shown in Fig. 1. at the beginning.

Regardless of the signature type you’ve configured (cloud or Outlook), your users will be able to preview it before sending an email if you deploy the CodeTwo Signatures Web Add-in for Outlook for them.

See also

Using different signatures for different recipients – see how to differentiate your email signatures depending on who your recipient is.

Adding signatures in different languages – learn how to manage signatures in multiple languages in a more automated way.

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