Editor

One of the major features of CodeTwo Exchange Rules Pro is that it inserts personalized signatures, legal notes, disclaimers, promo banners, etc. into your emails. For the program to perform these actions, you need to create a rule that will include the Insert disclaimer and/or Insert signature action. These actions need to use a template that must be composed in the Editor (Fig. 1.).

Editor - Itself
Fig. 1. The Editor.

The Editor is a standalone application that resembles Microsoft Word and can be used in a similar way. The application's window (Fig. 1.) contains an editable field used to compose the template of a signature and built-in (not editable) samples of message components (e.g. Original message, Conversation). The alignment of these sections may vary depending on the action. For example, when composing a signature, the editable field is in the center (Fig. 1.) of the Editor window.

By clicking the links below you will read more about the main options available in the Editor:

After creating a disclaimer/signature adding action within a rule, open the Editor window via the Edit button located in the action's properties pane (Fig. 2.).

Opening-editor
Fig. 2. Opening the Editor.

Choosing the format of a signature/disclaimer template

The Editor tabs are located above the main toolbar (Fig. 3.). Switching the tabs allows you to edit and create the template in different message formats:

  • HTML
  • RTF
  • Plain Text
Editors-format-tabs
Fig. 3. The Editor tabs with HTML, RTF and Plain Text formats.

Please note that the number of available options and layouts depends on the selected message format:

Editor-html__ribbon
Fig. 4. HTML toolbar.
Editor-rtf__ribbon
Fig. 5. RTF toolbar.
Editor-plaintext_ribbon
Fig. 6. Plain Text toolbar.

The table below shows which options included in the Editor are available for the particular formats of signature/disclaimer templates:

Editor sections Template formats
HTML RTF PLAIN TEXT

Actions

  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Convert to RTF/ Plain Text
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Undo
  • Redo
  • Convert to Plain Text
  • Cut
  • Copy
  • Paste
  • Undo
  • Redo
Template library
  • Template library
  • Template library
  • Template library
View
  • Source
  • Preview
  • Guidelines
  • Guidelines
  • Preview
  • Guidelines
  • Preview
Font
  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Strikethrough
  • Clear formatting
  • Font color
  • Text highlight color
  • Font type
  • Font size
  • Bold
  • Italic
  • Underline
  • Strikethrough
  • Clear formatting
  • Font color
  • Text highlight color

X Unavailable

Paragraph
  • Align left
  • Align center
  • Align right
  • Justify
  • Bulleted list
  • Numbered list
  • Decrease indent
  • Increase indent
  • Align left
  • Align center
  • Align right
  • Justify
  • Bulleted list
  • Numbered list
  • Decrease indent
  • Increase indent

X Unavailable

Insert
  • Picture (local/online)
  • Table
  • Social link
  • Placeholder
  • Hyperlink
  • Horizontal line
  • {rt} Remove Text tag
  • Special character
  • {rt} Remove Text tag
  • Placeholder
  • Social link
  • {rt} Remove Text tag
  • Placeholder
  • Social link
Email layout
  • Header
  • Signature/ Disclaimer
  • Left banner
  • Right banner
  • Header
  • Signature/ Disclaimer
  • Header
  • Signature/ Disclaimer

Configuring the content of signature/disclaimer templates

The toolbar consists of seven sections (Fig. 7.):

Editor - Ribbon
Fig. 7. The Editor's toolbar.

Important

Please note that the number of options and layouts in the toolbar depends on the selected tab.

Actions

The most important buttons within this section (Fig. 8.) are:

  • Save - after editing a signature or disclaimer you need to use the S​ave button to update your templates. Be aware that templates are saved only locally at this point. Any changes made to your rules will be pushed to the software's services on your servers only after clicking the Submit changes (ESIG for O365 rule save) button on the toolbar of the Administration Panel. 
  • Convert - this feature enables conversion of templates from one format to another. Thanks to this feature you do not have to create templates for other formats from scratch, but convert the existing ones with one click. Due to the limitations of RTF and Plain Text formats, the conversion process may result in omitting several HTML elements like tables, images or text formatting.
Editor-Toolbar_Actions
Fig. 8. The Actions section on the toolbar.

The rest of the options available in the Actions section are standard: you may undo/redo any changes, cut, copy and paste content. Note that pasting a signature content from certain external applications, such as Microsoft Word, is sometimes impossible due to a set of additional (e.g. Office-related) HTML elements that are not an official part of any HTML specification. Thus the final signature design may look distorted in various mail clients. 

Template library

This section, represented by a single button in the toolbar (Fig. 9.), offers the following options:

  • Save as template... - you can save your work as a template for future use. You will be prompted to choose a folder and a name for your new template.
  • Load template... - load an existing template from the Template Library into the Editor. All content already existing in the Editor will be replaced.
  • Browse templates... - opens the Template Library window that allows you to browse all existing templates.
Editor - template library button
Fig. 9. The Template Library button.

Important

If you save your work to the Template Library, the program will automatically save changes for the signature/disclaimer itself and then store it in the desired Template Library folder.

Therefore, you may encounter a warning if signature templates are missing for one or more of the available formats (HTML/RTF/Plain Text). If you decide not to create the missing formats, the program will save only the formats you have created.

View

The View section (Fig. 10.) consists of three buttons: Source, Preview and Guidelines.

Editor-Toolbar_ViewSection
Fig. 10. The View section on the toolbar.
  • Source - lets you modify the source code of a signature and configure it via available options (Fig. 11.).
Editor - Source
Fig. 11. Source view of the message composition.
  • Preview - allows you to preview a signature/disclaimer in HTML, RTF and Plain Text formats (Fig. 12.), along with any personal user information from Active Directory (read more).
Editor - preview
Fig. 12. Preview of the final message with a signature.
  • Guidelines - this option is turned on by default and shows the borders between the message components with additional options (Fig. 13.).
Editor-guidelinesON
Fig. 13. Elements displayed when Guidelines are turned on.

When the Guidelines button is deselected, all the borders and additional options will disappear from the composition (Fig. 14.).

Editor-guidelinesOFF
Fig. 14. Appearance of the Editor when Guidelines are turned off.

Font

This section (Fig. 15.) allows you to format the text by changing the font type, size, foreground and background color, etc.

Editor-Toolbar__FontSection
Fig. 15. The Font section on the toolbar.

Tip

If you need to add superscripts (e.g. 18th) or subscripts (e.g. X1), you can use the sup and sub HTML tags.

Paragraph

Within this section (Fig. 16.) you can decide about the layout of your signature template, e.g. add bullet points, justify text, decide about spacing, etc.

Editor-Toolbar__ParagraphSection
Fig. 16. The Paragraph section on the toolbar.

To change more advanced aspects, right-click on the paragraph you are working on within your template and select Paragraph properties from the context menu. In the window which opens you can set the alignment, indentation and spacing of your paragraph (Fig. 17.).

Editor-Toolbar_ParagraphProps
Fig. 17. The Paragraph properties window.

Tip

It is a good practice to always set the spacing for all paragraphs. Without this setting, depending on which particular email application is used, the paragraphs may be displayed with different spacing (e.g. in Microsoft Outlook) or even without any spacing (e.g. Outlook on the web / OWA). 

Insert

This section (Fig. 18.) is used to insert objects into the content of a signature/disclaimer.

Editor-Toolbar__InsertSection
Fig. 18. The Insert section on the toolbar.

The options in this section let you insert the following items:

  • Hyperlink - via this button you can insert hyperlinks into a signature/disclaimer. Additionally, this feature enables adding display texts and tooltips to selected URL addresses (Fig. 19.).
Editor-Hyperlink_Editor
Fig. 19. The hyperlink editor.
  • Picture - once you click this button, the Insert picture editor will open which allows you to choose a picture either from a local library or an online resource. Additionally, you will be able to define the size of your picture (either with pixels or percent; you can also enter just one dimension and the other one will be calculated automatically, keeping the aspect ratio) (Fig. 20.):
Editor - pictrue
Fig. 20. Insert picture options.

Please study the table below to learn the differences between online and local (embedded) images:

Online images
Downloaded directly from server
Embedded images
Included in every message
Advantages
  • You can track who received your messages by analyzing web traffic
  • Images can be changed in existing signatures, without using the Administration Panel
  • Message size is always acceptable
  • Recipients never get prompted to download images
  • Images are immediately visible in a message
  • You can be sure that the message will look properly, even during a server failure
Disadvantages
  • Recipients are often asked to download remote resources
  • Some filters may recognize your messages as SPAM
  • In the case of a server failure or weak Internet connection your images will not be displayed
  • Message size might be too large
  • You cannot update images in messages that were sent
  • Social link - this function allows you to create a special kind of hyperlink which includes a label as well as a related image, and redirects to one of the social media networks (Fig. 21.). The target URL is fully configurable and may contain a user's personal information (placeholders), thus the final link might refer to a particular employee's social profile. If you are about to add a link to a social network like Facebook or Google+, keep in mind that you should enter a username in the URL (it must not be the person's email address). Usually, the URL identifier can be obtained by opening the main profile page of a user. 
Editor - social link
Fig. 21. Insert social link options.
  • Table - this feature enables complex definition of tables. You can add a table directly to a signature/disclaimer composition, define its size, layout and borders, and obtain a consistent appearance of your signature in various mail clients (Fig. 22.):
Editor-Insert_Table
Fig. 22. Adding a table.

Once the table is added you can modify its properties via the context menu. Just right-click on any cell (Fig. 23.).

Editor-Table_Properties
Fig. 23. Table properties context menu.

For example, you can change the properties of:

  • Cell
Editor - cell properties
Fig. 24. Cell properties.
  • Cell borders
Editor - cell borders
Fig. 25. Cell borders editor.
  • Column
Editor - column properties
Fig. 26. Column properties editor.
  • Row
Editor - row properties
Fig. 27. Row properties editor.
  • Table itself
Editor - table properties
Fig. 28. Table properties.
  • Table borders
Editor - table borders
Fig. 29. Table borders.
The size of any row or column may be easily modified by simply dragging the borders with a mouse. In the context menu you may also find additional options to merge or split the table cells.
 
  • Placeholder - this feature (Fig. 30.) lets you add Active Directory variables directly into a signature/disclaimer. Once you choose a particular placeholder, it will occupy a space within your signature/disclaimer template and fill it (after processing by the program) with a value specified in the attributes of the corresponding user's account in the Active Directory database.
Editor-Placeholder_Button
Fig. 30. Choosing placeholders to be inserted into a signature/disclaimer template.

To add a placeholder, you can either use the Placeholder button and choose one from the context menu or type it manually. Note that if you choose to type a placeholder manually, you must surround it with {} brackets. Furthermore, once you insert a placeholder into a template, you will be able to adjust its properties by right-clicking on it (Fig. 31.).

Editor-Placeholder_Props
Fig. 31. Opening the placeholder's properties window.

Important

You cannot manually insert (by typing or copying) placeholders that require additional configuration, as they will not be recognized as proper placeholders and will be treated as standard text. Therefore, you need to add them via the Placeholder button. However, once added, these placeholders are numbered so if you insert them and then delete, you will be able to type them manually as the Editor stores the action of adding particular placeholders into a template according to their insertion order. For example, you insert the {Rotating image} placeholder into a template. In the Editor, it looks like this: {Rotating image 1}. Next, you decide to delete the placeholder. Later, you change your mind and want to add it once again, so you type it manually. As the program recognizes that this particular placeholder has already been used, it is treated as the proper placeholder although inserted manually. On the other hand, any following placeholders of the same type will have to be inserted via the Placeholder button, as their number will be different from the one previously used, e.g. {Rotating image 2}. The list below shows the placeholders that cannot be inserted manually into a signature/disclaimer template:

  • Custom placeholders
  • {Rotating image}
  • {Rotating text}
  • {Unsubscribe link}
  • {Message Date}
  • {Counter}
  • {Current Date/Time}
  • {QR Code image}

Info

Apart from using the predefined set of placeholders, you may also use your own AD attributes as placeholders, after defining them in the Custom placeholders section in the program's settings. Learn more

Tip

Using placeholders is not limited to signatures. You can also add them when you define recipients of forwarded messages. Learn more

A table containing the list of all placeholders available in the program is shown below. It includes the types and names of the placeholders and describes their availability in various message template formats.

Placeholder type Placeholder name Template format
Message sender {City} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Company} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Country} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Department} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Description} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Display name} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Email} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Email as link} HTML
{Fax} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{First name} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Home phone} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Initials} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{IP phone} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Last name} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Mobile} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Notes} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Office} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{P.O. Box} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Pager} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Phone} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Photo}* HTML
{Postal code} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{State} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Street} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Title} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Web page} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Web page as link}** HTML
{ExchAttr1} - {ExchAttr15} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
Custom placeholders HTML / RTF / Plain Text
Dynamic content {Rotating image}*** HTML / RTF
{Rotating text}*** HTML / RTF / Plain Text
Message properties {Recipient Address} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Message Subject} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Sending Server} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Message ID} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Message Date}**** HTML / RTF / Plain Text
Counters {Counter} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{Unique counter} HTML / RTF / Plain Text
Other {Current Date/Time}**** HTML / RTF / Plain Text
{QR Code image}***** HTML
{Unsubscribe link}****** HTML / RTF / Plain Text

*The {Photo} placeholder is used by the program to pull your users' photos from Active Directory and insert them into emails. This placeholder also lets you customize the dimensions of AD photos. Once you add it to your template in the Editor, you can decide to (Fig. 31.):

  • insert photos in original dimensions,
  • adjust the dimensions to a desirable size in pixels.

While adjusting the photo, either use one dimension (this way the program will scale the photo, keeping its original aspect ratio) or enter both dimensions (the program will scale the photo to the selected values).

ER Pro 2.x - Photo placeholder.
Fig. 32. The {Photo} placeholder's configuration window.

*The {Web page as link} placeholder allows you to pull a webpage address from your Active Directory and insert it as a valid hyperlink. The web address should be preceded by a proper protocol definition (like HTTP or HTTPS). In the case when this information is missing, the program will automatically append the HTTP protocol to the very beginning of the link.

***The {Rotating text} and {Rotating image} placeholders are used to include text or graphics from a desired folder. The content is changed in a random or sequential mode (depending on how you configured it), every time when a message is going through Exchange Server. To configure the placeholder, simply right-click it and select Properties. There you can define the FolderPath from where the text/images should be pulled and the mode of operation (WorkingMode). To limit which file extensions should be included in the process, use FileMask. Moreover, in the case of {Rotating text}, you can also set the Formatting field to make the text e.g. in upper or lower case.

Exchange Rules - Rotating image
Fig. 33. The {Rotating image} placeholder's configuration window.

**** You can customize the format of date and time in many different ways. For more information, please consult this article.

*****Once you choose to insert the {QR Code image} placeholder, its configuration window will display (Fig. 34.). There you will be able to generate (directly within the program) a QR code image based on a bare text value or on variables from Active Directory.

Editor-QRCode
Fig. 34. The {QR Code image} placeholder's configuration window.

QR code image configuration window is divided into four sections:

  • Size of image - here you define the actual size of an image in pixels; this section additionally shows how many characters (chars) the image may contain.
  • The Text field - here you can type the text value that will be used to generate the image. Note that if you automatically insert placeholders using the Insert placeholder button, they will also appear within this area. Furthermore, each placeholder's properties may be changed here by right-clicking it and choosing Placeholder properties. Additionally, once you save changes and open the created image, the properties of a placeholder will be available only via the Properties button.
  • Insert placeholder - instead of typing the placeholder manually, you can use this button to automatically insert a desirable placeholder by choosing it from the provided list.
  • The Preview field - shows what your QR code image will look like.

******The {Unsubscribe link} placeholder is used to create a personalized link (triggering the unsubscribe mechanism) that will be included in the outgoing emails. Once such a link is clicked, it will unsubscribe the email recipient from any messages coming from a particular sender/group/whole company (depends on the conditions defined) and block them against reaching the recipient's mailbox.

Learn how to configure the program to enable mechanism unsubscribing from a mailing list

When you add the {Unsubscribe link} placeholder (using the Placeholder button on the Editor’s toolbar), the configuration window opens (Fig. 35.) in which you can define the following settings:

  • Add recipients' email addresses to the following blacklist - this is the container to which the email address of the recipient who unsubscribes from the mailing list is added. Note that you can manage the blacklists and the recipients included in the lists (add new or edit/remove the existing recipients) via the Recipients blacklists tab in the program's settings.
  • Unsubscribe link display text - this is the text representing the link that appears in an email used for unsubscribing a recipient from a mailing list.
  • Display a default web page with the following text - this is the information that will be displayed on the default landing page provided by CodeTwo once a recipient clicks the unsubscribe link in a received email. Note that this information can be customized by adjusting the text and inserting the recipient's email address placeholder.
  • Display a third-party mass-mailing service web page (enter a URL below) -  this feature is the alternative to the above-mentioned default landing page provided by CodeTwo. If you do not want to use the default web page provided, you can enter the URL of your own web page that will be displayed once the recipient of your message clicks an unsubscribe link in the received email. Note that after choosing this page, you will not be able to adjust its text. Furthermore, the only option to customize it via the program is adding the recipient's email address placeholder that will be filled by the program and visible in the URL only.
Exchange Rules Pro unsubscribe placeholder
Fig. 35. The {Unsubscribe link} placeholder's configuration window.

Note that you can change the placeholder's configuration at any point after it was saved. Open your signature/disclaimer template in the Editor, right-click your {Unsubscribe link} placeholder and from the context menu choose Placeholder properties... (Fig. 36.).

Editor-UnsubscribeProps
Fig. 36. Opening the placeholder's properties window.

As some users may not have all of their attributes (some of which are required by particular placeholders) filled in Active Directory, it is a good idea to use the {rt} Remove Text tag to avoid adding empty dynamic fields to signatures/disclaimers (Fig. 37.).

Editor-RT_Tag
Fig. 37. Choosing Remove Text Tag.

Thanks to this command, if the mail of such a user  is processed by the program, the empty dynamic fields (i.e. placeholders referring to attributes which are absent in the user’s AD) will be removed from the signature/disclaimer along with the empty space they occupy (e.g. an empty line), keeping a professional appearance of the message. If you want to remove any empty dynamic field from signatures/disclaimers, surround the chosen dynamic field with Remove Text tags. Note that if you insert the rt tags at the beginning and at the end of the same row, the empty dynamic field will be removed but the empty space will remain. The example below shows how to insert the rt tag to have the empty line removed along with the dynamic content:

  • Regards,
    {First name} {Last name}
    {Company} {Department}
    Phone: {Phone}
    {RT} Mobile: {Mobile}
    {/RT} Email: {Email}
  • Regards,
    {First name} {Last name}
    {Company} {Department}
    Phone: {Phone}
    {RT} Mobile: [Mobile]{/RT}
    Email: {Email}

Email layout

The Email layout pane (located on the right side of the Editor's toolbar) is used to preview and define the actual place where the header, disclaimer/signature or side banners will be added within a defined insert disclaimer/signature action (Fig. 38.).

Editor-LayoutOptions
Fig. 38. Email layout options available in the HTML format.

Info

Please note that the layout options are limited to the chosen format of the content. Therefore, side banners are available in HTML only.

To add a layout element, click (highlight) a proper button in the Email layout pane on the upper right side of the Editor's toolbar. To remove a chosen layout, deselect it in the toolbar or hit the Remove (Exchange Rules Pro remove layout button 13px) button in its upper right corner.

Editing/creating the content of signatures/disclaimers

Within each layout type you can compose the actual appearance and content of the signature / disclaimer and define options available in the toolbar for the chosen layout types.

Depending on the layout section chosen in the Email layout section on the toolbar, you can also make use of additional options. These options are available once hitting the Settings (ER Pro 2.x - toothed gear) button located in the right upper corner of each layout type (Fig. 39.).

Editor-LayoutAdditionalOptions
Fig. 39. The buttons that activate additional options in various layout sections.

The additional options allow you to define what action should be taken once a header/disclaimer/banner is already found in a message within a conversation (Fig. 40.). For Header, Disclaimer and Side Banners you may decide to:

  • Add a new one - if any previously added header/disclaimer/ banner is found within a message in a conversation, it will be added once again.
  • Remove the old one - if any previously added header/disclaimer/banner is found within a message in a conversation, the program will remove it and stamp the message with a new one (this option is unavailable for the RTF format).
ExchangeRules-RightBannerOptions
Fig. 40. Additional options available for banners.

For disclaimers and headers, beside the above-mentioned options you may also define a place where they will be inserted within a conversation (Fig. 41.):

  • Right under the original reply message - the header or disclaimer will be added below the latest response in a conversation.
  • At the very bottom of the conversation - the header or disclaimer will be added to the very end of a conversation, below all previous messages.
ExchangeRules-BottomBannerOptions
Fig. 41. Defining a place where a signature/disclaimer will be added within a conversation.

Another feature available for headers and signatures is the possibility to widen (Fig. 42.) or narrow (Fig. 43.) them . To do that, click the arrow (ER Pro 2.x - arrow button.) buttons located on both sides of headers and signatures (please note that for the arrow buttons to appear, side banners must be added; with no side banners, a header/signature has the same width as the original message).

Editor-HeaderSignatureWiden
Fig. 42. Header and signature widened.
Editor-HeaderSignatureNarrowed
Fig. 43. Header and signature narrowed.

Additionally, while configuring a signature you may change it into a disclaimer (Fig. 44.) and the other way round (Fig. 45.) at any point, using the Change (ER Pro 2.x - change signature/disclaimer button) button.

Editor-SignDisclSwitch
Fig. 44. Changing a signature into a disclaimer.

See next

Template library - this article describes a library of predefined signature/disclaimer templates that may be used instead of creating new templates from scratch.

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