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How to Use Rich HTML Formatting in Your Windows Mail, Outlook Express Signature

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If you send your emails using rich HTML formatting in Windows Live Mail Windows Mail or Outlook Express, the signature does not have to pale in plain letters beside the rest of your message.

Using HTML in your signature is not as straight forward as setting up a plain text signature, however. It is not even as easy as using HTML formatting in the rest of your message.

This is because HTML signatures in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail and Outlook Express are outsourced and offshored to external files. But fret not, here's how to do it. All you need is some basic HTML knowledge, though you'll do fine even without that.

Use Rich HTML Formatting in Your Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express Signature

To use rich formatting in your email signature in Windows Live Mail, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:

  • Create the signature's HTML code in your favorite text editor.
    • Make sure you use only the code you would also use inside the <body> of an HTML document.
    • See the screenshot walkthrough for an example.
    • See below for an easy way to generate the HTML.
  • Save it to an .html file in your My Documents folder.
  • In Windows Live Mail 2011:
    • Click the Windows Live Mail or File button.
    • Select Options | Mail… from the menu that comes up.
      • You can also press Alt-F followed by O and then M.
  • In Windows Live Mail versions prior to 2011, Windows Mail or Outlook Express:
    • Select Tools | Options… from the menu.
  • Go to the Signatures tab.
  • Highlight the desired signature.
  • Make sure File is selected under Edit Signature.
  • Use the Browse... button to select the signature HTML file you have just created.
  • Click OK.
  • Test your new signature.

Leverage the Windows Mail or Outlook Express (Not Windows Live Mail) Message Editor

If you don't want to type the HTML by hand (or use an HTML editor) you can do it in Windows Mail or Outlook Express easily and comfortably:

  • Create a new message in Windows Mail or Outlook Express.
  • Type and design your signature using the formatting tools.
  • Go to the Source tab.
  • Select the content between <body> and </body>.
  • Press Ctrl-C.
  • Create a new file in your favorite text editor.
  • Press Ctrl-V.
  • Continue as above.

(Updated July 2012)

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