December 16th, 2008

Manage Your Multiple Personalities with Email Signatures

The situation: you send and receive email messages via many different email addresses (aka "you have multiple email personality syndrome") via a single login.  I.e. email from several work and personal addresses are all forwarded to your main email address, so you get all your email in the same account.  Very convenient, but… Your deep dark wish: It would be helpful if your email program would automatically select the correct email signature when you reply to or forward email messages, and that it would be simple and seamless for you to switch identities at any time when writing email.  Accidental use of the wrong identity when sending a message could be embarrassing or even against company policy.

The despair: Unfortunately, no email program handles signature switching very well. Most email programs allow you one identity per email login that you setup and allow you some ability to switch which identity you are using … but you still get only one per login and this does not help when you have to deal with email to many different addresses in the same account.  Some others (notably Mozilla Thunderbird) provide some more advanced email signature management features, but these add-ons have to be installed and may or may not be accurate in choosing the appropriate signature.  Plus you cannot seamlessly switch identities at will.

LuxSci’s WebMail Signatures to the Rescue

LuxSci’s WebMail Signatures are really powerful and grant your signature wishes very easily while providing additional much sought after functionality.  Let’s run down how someone with "multiple email personalities" would use LuxSci’s WebMail Signatures:

  1. Use the signature editor in the WebMail interface to create one signature for every identity that s/he has.  Note that there is no limit on the number of identities that you can create and no restriction on what email addresses to which you configure them.
  2. When replying to or forwarding email in the LuxSci WebMail portal, WebMail automatically makes a list of all To and Cc addresses in the original message and goes through them one by one until it finds one that matches one of your signatures.  If it finds a match, then that signature will be auto-selected for you.  If it doesn’t find one, your designated default signature will be used.
  3. While composing the message, you can change your identity at any time by selecting who the message should appear to be "from" — you have a list of your defined signatures to choose from.  This change instantly updates the "From" and "Reply-to" for the message; however, it also instantly updates the signature block (i.e. that optional block of text that says who you are and maybe other information as well).

How does this benefit you?

  • Use of unlimited identities
  • All forwards and replies are guaranteed to auto-select a signature that matches a To or Cc address from the original email messages — so you don’t have to manually set this for every message at the risk of making a mistake.
  • Seamless changing of the signature at any time during the composition process, so you can always change your identity.

Wish Granted!  What Else can LuxSci’s Signatures Do For You?

Now that we see how easy it is to manage multiple email personalities, let’s look at the WebMail Signatures in a bit more detail to see what else they offer. First, what exactly IS a "WebMail Signature"?

It is a defined "personality" that you can use to identify yourself when you send messages from LuxSci’s WebMail interface.  WebMail signatures do not apply to messages sent via SMTP from your email client (though you can use LuxSci’s "Personal Tagline" feature to add a fixed "signature block" to all messages sent via SMTP and WebMail if you like).

What is included in a WebMail Signature?

  • You give it a "title" to identify it
  • You specify the email address that the message will appear to be "From"
  • You specify the email address that returned email messages should go to, i.e. the "Reply-To".
  • You specify the name of the person or organization that the message will appear to be "From".
  • You enter an optional plain text "signature block" of text for adding to messages composed in plain text mode.
  • You enter an optional HTML "signature block" for adding to messages composed visually with markup.
  • The plain text and HTML blocks can be completely different; however, if you leave one blank, it will be automatically filled in with converted content from the other.

So, you can have as many signatures as you like.  You can even have multiple signatures for the same From/Reply addresses, but with different signature blocks.

OK, so once you have some WebMail Signatures, how exactly do they work with the email composer?

Well, this is governed by some configurable preferences, as there are many different ways people like to utilize their signatures.  These preferences include:

  • Which signature should be your "default" when writing new messages or for when replying to/forwarding messages?
  • Should your signature blocks be automatically included in the content of new messages?
  • Should your signature blocks be automatically included in the content of replies and forwards?
  • Should your signature blocks be automatically included at the top or the bottom of your email messages?

Based on these preferences, WebMail can prepare all new messages or forwards/replies with the best guess for the initial signature that you would like to use and can include the signature block content, if desired and in the correct location. Then, while you are composing the message (or even after you have saved it as a Draft or Template and resumed composition later), you can:

  • Select from any of your signatures to change which signature applies to this email message.  This will change not only the From and Reply addresses, but it will also immediately replace the old signature block with the content of the signature block associated with the newly selected signature.  This works even if you have edited the old signature block or the message content around it!
  • If you change your email composition mode between plain text and HTML (visual markup), WebMail will automatically replace the signature block content with the text or HTML content appropriate for the new editing mode.  So, you can have different signature blocks for HTML and text messages, but you never have to worry about the wrong one being used or being formatted incorrectly.

What Other Features Does LuxSci Have to Complement These Signatures?

The WebMail Signatures allow you to customize your messages with different personalities and different signature blocks, but it  only applies to WebMail.

Personal Tagline / Disclaimer

This personal feature allows you to specify fixed "signature block" content that will be added to ALL email messages sent via WebMail and via SMTP.  You can choose if this will be inserted into your messages "inline" or added as an attachment.  You can also specify different block content for HTML and plain text messages. These personal taglines are useful even if you do not have different personalities or want to have some fixed content added to your SMTP messages (like a disclaimer).  Note that if you use a WebMail Signature and have a personal tagline, then both the tagline and the signature blocks will be used in WebMail.

Global Tagline / Disclaimer

Account administrators can create a tagline or disclaimer that will apply to messages sent via WebMail and SMTP for all users in a domain.  These provide:

  • a choice of attachment or inline in the message content
  • different content for text and HTML messages
  • an override of personal taglines if used.
  • dynamic content.  In particular, you can use "place holders" for the user’s contact information so that it can be dynamically substituted into the tagline at the time of sending.  So, while the tagline is fixed, the content can be different and personalized for every individual user.
  • an addition to any WebMail signatures that the user may be using.
  • for disclaimers or legal information, but can also be used as dynamic signatures that the individual user cannot control or opt out of using.

In Summary

LuxSci’s WebMail Signatures are designed for basic end-users, as well as those with "multiple email personalities".  Functionality goes well beyond what is available in other email programs and meets the needs of even the most complex identity requirement.

3 Responses to “Manage Your Multiple Personalities with Email Signatures”

  1. I have many email addresses and accounts; how can I manage them all? | LuxSci Sales FAQ Says:

    […] in such a way that it appears to the recipient(s) to be from any of your other accounts using our smart signatures [even if some of these are not hosted by […]

  2. Can I send email with a return address that is not registered at LuxSci? | LuxSci Sales FAQ Says:

    […] Certainly. You can send email where the return and from addresses are arbitrary. Using our WebMail application, you can easily send email where the return and from addresses are, even if the domain is not registered with LuxSci! This is great if you have many different email addresses — you can send email as if it comes from any of them. See: Manage Your Multiple Personalities with Email Signatures. […]

  3. LuxSci FYI » Blog Archive » Spell Checking As You Type is here! Says:

    […] WebMail Signature creation and editing […]

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