Insert different signatures for new mail and replies / forwarded messages

CodeTwo Exchange Rules lets you create personalized signatures / disclaimers that will be inserted to your mail. Furthermore, you can adjust the program's settings to automatically insert either a detailed or a simplified signature depending if an email is sent for the first time or later in a correspondence. This can be achieved by creating two signature-adding rules, of which the first one is always stamping emails with a short signature whereas the second rule (which is the extension of the first) is only applied to the very first email, inserting a second signature right after the first. In other words, the first email in a particular correspondence contains both signature 1 and 2 while the messages that follow include only the first signature.

Let us say, in the first email in a conversation you would like your users to have full info in their signature: name, job title, phone numbers, website, address, social media buttons etc.

Mike's full signature.
Fig. 1. Mike's full signature added only once - to his first email to John.

However, you do not want so much info to be inserted under every further email - name and title is enough under every subsequent reply.

Mike's short signature stamped when continuing discussing with John.
Fig. 2. Mike's short signature stamped when continuing a discussion with John.

This can be achieved in two ways: by creating a rule with two Insert Signature actions - let us call it two actions method (recommended) or by using message type condition - let us call it message type method.

Two actions method

This method works based on a rule with two Insert signature actions. The first signature will be added every time - in the first email as well as in all replies and forwards in a conversation thread. It will contain just a short info you always need (name and title). The second action will add the rest of the personal info (phone numbers, company name, website, address, social media buttons etc.) and will be inserted only once in a given email conversation. The software will make sure it is not included in further emails by taking advantage of the mechanism that checks if the signature that is supposed to be inserted is already found in the message body - if this is the case, the software will skip adding this signature again, leaving the email body with only the first (short) signature in it.

Follow the steps below to achieve the above-described effect:

  1. Add a new clean rule.
  2. There are no specific requirements for the discussed feature to work when it comes to Conditions, Exceptions or Options, so customize them to suit your needs.
  3. On the Actions tab, add the Insert Signature action.
  4. Click Edit and prepare a short footer design that will be added to all emails, including both the first email that starts a thread and all further replies and forwards in that thread.
    Short signature prepared in the editor.
    Fig. 3. Short signature prepared in the Editor.
  5. Click on the Settings () button on the right-hand side of the Editor window for additional settings. Make sure that the configuration is as shown in Fig. 4.:
    1. The add the signature/disclaimer to every email option is selected.
    2. The right under the original reply/forward option is selected.

Exchange Rules Pro additional signature options 2
Fig. 4. Configuration of the first signature (the one that is always added).

  1. Click the Save button and close the Editor.
  2. On the Actions tab, add the Insert Signature action again so there are two of them in total (Fig. 5.).
    One rule with two signature adding actions.
    Fig. 5. One rule with two signature-adding actions.
  3. Click Edit and prepare an extension of the first signature that will be added only to the first email a user sends in a conversation thread.
    Additional info prepared as a second signature in the editor.
    Fig. 6. Additional info prepared as the second signature in the editor.
  4. Click on the Settings (PRO - Cogwheel icon) button on the right-hand side of the Editor window to enter settings. Make sure that the configuration is as shown in Fig. 7.:
    1. In the upper section, select add the signature/disclaimer to the first email only.
    2. In the lower section, select right under the original reply/forward.

Exchange Rules Pro new reply forward - signature 2
Fig. 7. Configuration of the second signature (added to the first email only).

  1. Click the Save button and close the Editor.
  2. Click Submit changes to apply the new settings.

Following the above procedure you will create just one simple signature that is added every time. The detailed signature that is added only to the first email comes from combining the simple signature and its extension added by the second insert signature action.

Message type method

The two actions method described above might not be satisfying if you want to add a completely different signature to the first email. In such a scenario you can create two signature-adding rules and stamp emails with an appropriate rule based on the Message type condition.

Message type condition.
Fig. 8. Message type condition.

Define the condition of the first rule as Message type is new email and prepare a full signature design for it. Then, set the condition of the second rule as Message type is reply or forward and prepare a different, shorter footer design. However, you must be aware that this method has some downsides.

First of all, it will work only if your email is the one that starts a correspondence. If someone emails you first and you respond to that, even though this is your first email, only the short signature will be added as your message is already of the "reply" type.

Secondly, programmatical recognition of email types is not always as easy a job as it might seem. The CodeTwo software tries to find out the message type based on the message's header. This mostly works, but it is not unusual for emails to be stripped off some parts of headers as not every email client follows the official standards for email headers. When it is not possible to judge the email type via headers, CodeTwo Exchange Rules reads the message subject and looks for the prefixes typical for replies and forwarded emails such as "RE:" or "FW:". However, this is not a perfect solution either. The subject may be manually modified by a user to not contain these keywords. Also, even if any keywords are present, it is difficult to cover all languages and multiple versions of these phrases.

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