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CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients lets you define policies that enable the creation of signatures in a new mail message in Outlook, OWA 2007/2010/2013/2016, Office 365 and Google Apps (G Suite). The type of the chosen policy determines its deployment method on email clients. Furthermore, depending on the policy type, they may be deployed using either the Central Updating Service (CUS) or the Client Applications.
This article contains the following sections:
- Defining the policy deployment method
- Creating policy along the signature
- Distributing Client Applications on Client machines
If you choose to add the Outlook policy type, you will use the Client Applications to deploy and update its settings on the Client machines. Furthermore, once you Add this type of policy for the first time (Fig. 1.), you will be asked to configure its deployment first. If you don't configure the deployment, you won't be able to proceed with setting up the policy.
|Fig. 1. Adding Outlook policy.|
You can set up the deployment either by clicking Yes in the notification or decline it and use the Deployment tab in the Administration Panel's ribbon (Fig. 2.).
|Fig. 2. Notification informing about the missing deployment configuration.|
Either way, the Policy deployment window will open.
Note that once you open the deployment window via the notification, the Outlook policy deployment via the Client Applications will be activated by default (only the Outlook tab will be visible). On the other hand, if you choose to configure the deployment via its tab in the Administration Panel's ribbon, it will be deactivated until you mark the Deploy Outlook/OWA 2007 policies using the Client Applications checkbox (all policy tabs will be visible) (Fig. 3.).
|Fig. 3. Policy deployment window.|
- using Network shared folder
- using the local Settings Service
- defining the Client Applications' update time
If you choose the Network share, you will have to designate a local folder and share it over the network to store and distribute the policy's settings onto the Client Applications. Furthermore, this method involves the creation of a folder and granting the end-users you want to make use of the policy the rights to access it over the network. Once you do that, all Client Applications installed on the end-users machines will have the policy's settings updated automatically.
To configure the Network share, mark its radio button, click configure and enter the UNC path of the shared folder. Once you do that, click OK (Fig. 4.). After submitting configuration, the policy settings will be distributed and updated on the Client Applications using data included in this folder.
|Fig. 4. Configuring the network shared folder for distributing and updating policy's settings on the Client Applications.|
This policy's settings distribution type is definitely less time and effort consuming than the Network share as you neither have to set up a new shared folder nor remember about granting the rights to that folder to users who will be using the Client Applications. Thanks to this deployment type, once the Client Application is installed on client machines, all necessary data to update the settings on the Client Application will be obtained automatically from the Settings Service installed on a machine hosting the Administration Panel of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients.
To configure this distribution method type, you only need to check its radio button (Fig. 5.). However, you can also make use of the additional configuration feature to adjust the TCP port the Client Applications will use to connect to the service. Note, that by default the port is set to 5020. After saving your configuration, the settings included in policies will be distributed and updated on the Client Applications using the Settings Service.
|Fig. 5. Configuring the Settings Service to distribute and update policy's settings on the Client Applications.|
Once the settings' distribution and update method is configured, you can centrally set up the time intervals (in seconds) the Client Applications will request the Administration Panel for any changes appearing in policies (Fig. 6.). This configuration results in the automatic update of policies and is common to each Client Application installed within the particular environment.
|Fig. 6. Defining the Client Applications' update time.|
If you want to change the policy settings (such as the distribution method) after you already saved your policy and distributed the Client Applications onto clients, a new MSI installer package will be generated. To update these settings in Client Apps, you will have to distribute the Client Applications to client machines once again. Otherwise, the settings won't be distributed and updated in the apps if you introduce any changes.
Once you decide to change the distribution method and click Save in the Administration Panel to store the new settings, the notification will show, informing about the need to update the Client Applications on the client machines (Fig. 7.). Note that during the update process, you don't need to uninstall the Client Applications - just run the adequate installer on top of the previous version.
|Fig. 7. Notification informing about a necessary update of the Client Applications on Client machines due to the change of the policy's settings distribution method.|
To create the Outlook type of policy, you need to click the Add button located in the Administration Panel of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients. Then, just next to the button, a context menu will open presenting all available types of policies. To create the Outlook policy, all you have to do is choose the Outlook policy type (Fig. 8.).
|Fig. 8. Choosing Outlook policy type.|
After choosing the type of policy, the Edit policy window will display. This window consists of four tabs that will let you:
- define the policy name and its description
- define the list of policy users
- create the signature
- adjust additional settings
- finalize the creation / edition of the policy
The first tab that appears during the creation/edition of the policy is called General (Fig. 9.). It lets you name the policy and describe it. The description may include various information, such as usage cases of the particular policy.
|Fig. 9. The edition policy view - General tab.|
The name of the policy should be entered into the field below the Policy name. Furthermore, the description should be entered in the area under the Policy description.
While you're creating or editing a policy, you need to define the list of users to which the particular policy will apply. On the other hand, you can also define here the exceptions from the users' list choosing the users to which the policy will not apply (Fig. 10.).
|Fig. 10. The list of policy users and the exceptions from this list.|
There are four types of users that can be chosen in the Outlook policy type (Fig. 11.).
|Fig. 11. Choosing the Outlook policy user.|
Please note that in a non-domain environment (without Active Directory) only the first type of users (Email address) is available.
This option can be used either in a non-domain or in a domain environment. If you add an email address / addresses to the Users List, the policy will only apply to the users who send messages using these particular addresses (Fig. 12.). You can also define the email address in the Exceptions to the list above field located in the bottom area of the form. As a result, these users will not be taken into account while updating policy.
Fig. 12. Choosing the email address of the user.
Only the full, valid email address can be defined in the list. Furthermore, you can type in several email addresses in the field provided, but remember to separate them with semicolons.
The editor offers two ways of configuring the matching mechanism of the entered email address with the original message sender:
- You can define the exact email address in the List of addresses field which the program will apply the policy for (applies to both domain and non-domain end-users).
- You can define the exact email address in the List of addresses field and unmark the checkbox below this field (applies to domain end-users only). It will initiate the process of looking through all users within the AD database in search for the particular email address and its associated aliases (alternate email addresses). If such address or its alias is recognized as the sender of a message, then the policy will be triggered.
Important: the checkbox is marked by default what means that the program will use only the address specified in the List of addresses field. If you want the program to search for the alternate email addresses while processing policies, you need to uncheck it.
The table below shows how to configure the program to trigger the rule for:
- Primary SMTP email address and any of its alternate email address (Alias)
- Primary SMTP email address only
- Particular alternate email address only (Alias)
Configuration in Email addresses editor Policy triggered/signature and settings applied for
Addresses defined in the list of addresses field:
- Primary SMTP email address
- Any alternate email address (Alias)
Primary SMTP email address Each Alias
Addresses defined in the list of addresses field:
- Primary SMTP email address
Primary SMTP email address only Neither Alias
Addresses defined in the list of addresses field:
- Particular alternate email address (Alias)
Primary SMTP email address Defined Alias only
Active Directory Users
If you add Active Directory users to the Users List, the policy will only apply to these particular users (Fig. 13.). You can also define the Active Directory users in the Exceptions to the list above field located in the bottom area of the form. In this way, you will prevent these users from being taken into account while applying the policy.
Fig. 13. Choosing the Active Directory user.
Active Directory Group
The policy will only apply to users assigned to Active Directory group or groups that were added to the Users list (Fig. 14.). Furthermore, the policy will not apply if the user will be a member of a particular AD Group added to Exceptions to the list above.
Fig. 14. Defining the Active Directory group.
Active Directory Organizational Unit
In this case, the policy will only apply to users from one or many Active directory Organizational Units (so called Containers) which were added to the Users list (Fig. 15.). The Organizational Units can also be added to the Exceptions to the list above area located on the bottom part of the form.
Fig. 15. Defining the scope of Active Directory Organizational Units.
Note that you can also choose to add the whole domain as the Organizational Unit. In such case, the policy will apply to all users within your organization, regardless of their group membership.
While you're evaluating an Outlook policy, you may create a signature that will be added to the outgoing mail. Furthermore, you may also define the name of the signature along other options located in the Signature template tab (Fig. 16.).
|Fig. 16. Signature template tab.|
Adding a signature to a new e-mail
To add a signature to the list of signatures in MS Outlook you need to tick the Deploy signature template option. Checking this option enables the creation of a signature (the Edit button will be unblocked) that will be added to the MS Outlook signatures list after it's created.
Setting the default signature
To add the signature automatically while you're creating a new e-mail, you need to choose the Set this signature as a default one (automatically include the signature in sent messages) option. This will let you set the chosen signature as default in MS Outlook. Furthermore, this means that when you create a new message the signature will be visible in your e-mail straightaway and you won't have to choose it from the signatures list.
Deleting the existing signatures
If you tick the Delete existing signatures option, all the signatures from the previously created policies will be deleted from the MS Outlook signatures list. Please note that the only signature that remains will be the one of the current policy.
Opening the Signature/Disclaimer Template Editor
To open up the Signature/Disclaimer Template Editor, click the Edit button located on the right hand side of the signature preview window (Fig. 17.).
Fig. 17. The button that opens the Signature template editor.
The Signature/Disclaimer Template Editor lets you create and edit footers in HTML, RTF and Plain Text formats (Fig. 18.). The editor contains the standard set of tools that let you create the professional looking signatures. You can choose the font type, size and color. Furthermore, you may change the background color, bold, italicize and underline text and add tables. In addition, the ribbon includes the Dynamic Field button which makes it easier to personalize your signatures. Thanks to this feature you will be able to insert AD variables automatically to your signatures.
Fig. 18. The Signature template editor.
Note that instead of creating the signature from scratch, you can make use of the library and pick one of the ready-made templates.
While you're creating or editing the Outlook policy type you may also define the appearance and e-mail format settings. Additionally, you can create a new category ready to use in your Outlook. Please note that these settings are not associated with the signature itself. To define the additional settings, go to the Other tab while you're editing the policy (Fig. 19.).
|Fig. 19. The Other tab.|
All the options in the Other tab are switched off by default.
Set default theme or stationery option
Once turn this option on, the list of themes and stationery will be unblocked. The stationery may be chosen from the drop-down list (Fig. 20.).
Fig. 20. Choosing the stationery from the list.
These options change the default settings of your Outlook concerning themes and stationery. From now on, every new e-mail will include the chosen stationery.
Set default email format to option
Once set, this option unblocks the default e-mail format choice: HTML, Rich Text and Plain Text (Fig. 21.).
Fig. 21. Choosing the default e-mail format.
This option changes the Outlook default settings concerning new e-mail format. From this moment, each new e-mail will have a default format set.
Set categories option
After activating this feature, new MS Outlook category creation will be unblocked (Fig. 22.).
Fig. 22. Creating and managing new categories in Outlook.
To create a new category, click the Add button located on the right-hand side of the category list. In the window that opens, define the name and color of the chosen category (Fig. 23.).
Fig. 23. Defining a new category.
To remove a new category, highlight it on the list and click the Remove button.
This option lets you add new categories do the category list in MS Outlook (Fig. 24.).
Fig. 24. The category list in MS Outlook.
Please note that all options included in the Other tab have the direct impact on the MS Outlook settings. This means that even though you disable them, all the changes applied to your Outlook will remain.
To finalize the creation/edition of a new/previous policy, click the Finish button located in the Edit policy window. Next, save your newly created/previous policy by clicking Save in the main window of the Administration Panel (Fig. 25.).
|Fig. 25. Saving the newly created policy.|
After you set up a new Outlook policy or change the settings distribution method and save your changes in the Administration Panel of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients, the Client Application's installer package is automatically generated for you to distribute it to end users. The package contains all settings, so your users do not need to set anything up. To access the folder the package is stored in, tap Deployment in the Administration Panel's ribbon and within the Outlook/OWA 2007 tab, click the C:\Program Files (x86)\CodeTwo\Email Signatures\ClientSetup link. You will be navigated to the adequate folder holding the installer package (Fig. 26.).
|Fig. 26. Accessing the folder with the generated Client Application installer package.|
Note that the distribution of the Client Applications to clients is necessary as it will push the policy settings including the created signature to the email clients. If it is not distributed and installed, the policy will not be applied yet signature added to your mail.
There are three ways to distribute Client Applications onto users' machines:
- Distributing Client Applications manually
- Distributing Client Applications using Group Policy Object (GPO)
- Distributing Client Applications using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
|Installer type||Installer distribution method||OS version||MS Outlook bit version|
|EmailSignatures.Client.Boot.exe||Manual per User / Manual per Machine /
Via SCCM - User configuration
|Windows 7 or later||x86 / x64|
|Manual per User / Manual per Machine /
Via SCCM - User configuration
|EmailSignatures.Client.Setup.x86.msi||Via GPO / SCCM - User configuration||Windows 7 or later||x86|
|EmailSignatures.Client.Setup.x64.msi||Via GPO / SCCM - User configuration||Windows 7 or later||x64|
|Manual per User /
Via GPO / SCCM - User configuration
|Manual per Machine||Windows Vista||x86|
Manual distribution is the simplest, but also the most time-consuming method of distributing an installer package containing the signature policy settings from CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients. Follow the steps below to manually deploy this package:
Copy the installer package from the location pointed by CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients - click the Deployment button and choose the Outlook tab to display the location of the package (Fig. 27.).
Fig. 27. Opening the path to the generated installer package.
Launch it on every single PC that needs to have centrally managed signatures.
After the package is installed, it attempts to connect to the Administration Panel of the program (Fig. 28.).
Fig. 28. Client Application connected to on-premises server.
Once the connection is established, your policy settings are loaded and automatically updated if changed (Fig. 29.).
Fig. 29. Client Application loading settings.
Now that you've installed the program, you can close the window and it will continue to work in the background in the system tray (Fig. 30.).
Fig. 30. The Client Application visible in the system tray.
Distributing an MSI package using Group Policy Objects allows you to quickly install it on multiple computers in your domain from one place without any intervention from end users. It does not require any scripting and high level of technical knowledge.
If you are not allowed to access a Domain Controller in your company, simply share the steps below with your Administrator and ask him/her to do it for you. It shouldn't take longer than 2 minutes to do it.
Please note that the example below shows the creation of GPO per User Configuration which is recommended by us while installing Client Applications of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients.
Login to the server with the Domain Controller role and run Group Policy Management Console.
Create a new GPO object by right-clicking on the domain and selecting Create a GPO in this domain, and link it here (Fig. 31.)
Fig. 31. Creating a new Group Policy Object.
In the new GPO creation window, enter the name for your GPO (Fig. 32.).
Fig. 32. Entering the name of a new GPO.
Once the GPO is created enter the editor to configure settings by right-clicking on the new GPO and selecting Edit (Fig. 33.).
Fig. 33. Opening the Group Policy Management Editor.
In the Group Policy Management Editor under User configuration, locate Software installation. Next right-click it, expand New and then choose Package (Fig. 34.).
Fig. 34. Opening the installation package picker for distribution via GPO.
In the window that opens either enter a UNC path of the package manually (\\server_name\shared_folder) or select the package from the network resources and then hit open (Fig. 35.).
Fig. 35. Choosing the UNC path for the installation package.
Please note that the user the program will be installed under needs to have appropriate access rights granted to the file's location on the server. Otherwise, the package won't be installed.
Once you choose the package you will be prompted to select a deployment method. Choose the Assigned radio button and click OK (Fig. 36.).
Fig. 36. Choosing the deployment method for the GPO.
After the package is ready, right-click on it and enter its Properties (Fig. 37.).
Fig. 37. Entering the properties of the installation package.
Make sure that the checkbox Install this application at logon is marked (Fig. 38.). It will trigger the automatic installation of the defined installation package during logon.
Fig. 38. Marking the 'Install this application at logon' checkbox in the properties of the installation package.
If for some reasons you do not want to mark the checkbox above to enable automatic installation of the software, each user will have to manually install it on his/her machine. To do that, open up the Control Panel, Programs, Programs and Features and click Install a program from a network (Fig. 39.). Next, choose the Client Application for installation and start the setup via the Install button (Fig. 40.).
Fig. 39. Choosing a program to be installed from the network resources. Fig. 40. Installing the program from the network resources.
Once the GPO is configured it's worth to consider using Security Filtering to restrict the installation of Client Applications to the specified group of end-users. The Security Filtering feature is available in the Group Policy Management window in the Scope tab of the particular GPO (Fig. 41.).
Fig. 41. Setting up the Security Filtering option.
Apart from setting up the Security Filtering you can also customize filtering by using the WMI Filtering to e.g. restrict the propagation of GPO to specific operating systems. Learn more...
The MSI package will install on the client PCs during logon. To verify it, you can check if the program is present in the installation folder and in the Start Menu.
As the propagation of GPO tends to take a while, we recommend to ensure that it will be applied by logging off and on the workstations' users (sometimes it might be necessary to do it twice), wait a couple of minutes and then log off and on back again or eventually forcing the GPO update on the server using the Command Prompt. To force the update of GPO, open up the Command Prompt and enter the following command: gpupdate /force (Fig. 42.). Then confirm the update by entering Y and clicking enter. Please note that such action is not necessary for the GPO to work, but it is just a recommendation.
Fig. 42. Forcing the GPO update via Command Prompt.
Your MSI package is now distributed and installed on client machines and the signatures should already be updated and present in Outlook or OWA 2007 (Fig. 43.).
Fig. 43. Client Application's window opened.
Distributing and deploying the Client Applications of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients using System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) allows you to quickly install them on multiple machines within your domain from one place without any intervention from end users. Note that using this tool requires an advanced level of technical knowledge. Furthermore, we recommend that before you move on with this type of the Client Applications distribution and deployment method, learn more about SCCM first and study the steps on how to deploy apps using this tool.
The example below shows how to distribute and deploy the MSI package of the Client Applications using Users collection, which is recommended by us while installing the Client Applications of CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients via SCCM.
- Login to your server equipped with SCCM installation and open up its Administration Panel.
- Add CodeTwo Email Signatures for Email Clients Client Application into the Software Library. To do that, tap Software Library in the left lower corner of the Administration Panel of SCCM, right-click Application and choose Create Application (Fig. 44.).
Fig. 44. Adding the Client Application to the Software Library.
Fig. 45. Specifying installer type and the path to the Client Application's setup.
Fig. 46. The process of adding the Client Application to the Software Library completed successfully. Fig. 47. The Client Application added to the Software Library.
Note that during this process you can adjust the default configuration to your own needs.
- Next, you need to specify the Distribution Point (content destination) from which the Client Application will be distributed onto client machines. Click Distribute Content within the Deployment area in the SCCM Administration Panel's ribbon. In the Content Destination step of the wizard, click Add and from the context menu choose Distribution Point. Next, mark the checkbox next to the name of your server equipped with SCCM and confirm changes via OK (Fig. 48.). From now on the Client Application of the program will be distributed on client machines prior to defining the deployment described in the following points in this article.
Fig. 48. Selecting the Distribution Point.
- The next step involves the deployment process. Click Deploy in the Deployment area within the Administration Panel's ribbon. It will trigger the Software Deployment wizard. In the first step (General) add All Users to the collection field (Fig. 49.).
Fig. 49. Specifying All users as the target of the Client Application's deployment process.
Fig. 50. Specifying the way the software will be deployed.
Fig. 51. Scheduling the deployment process.
Note that the Scheduling step of the wizard offers additional ways to schedule the deployment process which you can adjust to your needs.The next two steps (User Experience and Alerts) can be left unchanged. However, you can adjust them to your needs if necessary.
Finally, after the deployment configuration is ready, you will end up with the following information (Fig. 52.). Furthermore, Client Applications will be deployed and installed on the client machines (Fig. 53.).
Fig. 52. Deployment process completed successfully. Fig. 53. Client Application deployed on the client machine.
You can quickly check the status of the Client Application's deployment in the Monitor tab within the SCCM's Administration Panel (Fig. 54.). Additionally, you can also check the Client Application's installation status on the client machine using the Software Center (Fig. 55.). This application is accessible from the list of programs and is installed automatically on each client machine managed by the SCCM. Besides the installation status, you can also use this tool to uninstall desired applications, schedule the installation process and view applications available for installation.
Fig. 54. Checking the status of deployment in the Monitor within the SCCM Administration Panel. Fig. 55. Checking the status of deployment in the Software Center application on the client machine.