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Exchange 2007 signature CANs & CAN'Ts

With Exchange Server 2000 and 2003, an IT admin required Visual Basic Script (VBS) knowledge to add an email disclaimer to any outgoing message. This made email signature management difficult at best.

When Exchange 2007 was released, it introduced Hub Transport Rules for the first time, which allowed you to append a disclaimer to an outgoing email. You could now finally add a server-side disclaimer through Exchange that would automatically be ‘stamped’ on all users’ emails. However, pretty big limitations reared their head when companies tried to create dynamic email signature designs.

Let's run through the top 14 things you can and can’t do in an Exchange 2007 signature with the Hub Transport Rule and in-built disclaimer functionality.

1. You CAN set a default disclaimer for every outgoing email

Any disclaimer created in Exchange 2007 can be applied to the bottom of all emails by creating a Transport Rule within the Exchange Management console. However, this will not provide you with an email signature with branding, logos etc. This feature is aimed towards having an email disclaimer applied to messages rather than a signature.

2. You CAN apply conditions to specify when the disclaimer should be applied

Conditions can be applied to the disclaimer specifying when it should be applied. For example, you could set the conditions to be ‘From users inside the organization’ and ‘Sent to users outside the organization’, or from certain distribution groups sending to specific users.

3. You CAN apply fonts, sizes and colours

Under the policy conditions, you can specify how the disclaimer text will look as well as choose the font from a pre-defined list. For example, you can choose from web safe fonts (recommended), and pre-defined colors.

Signature using different coloured fonts

4. You CAN set a fall back action

A fallback action is used if the disclaimer cannot be applied to an email such as when sending signed or encrypted messages. You have three options to choose from - ‘Wrap’, ‘Ignore’ or ‘Reject’. ‘Wrap’ is the default setting and will create a new message with the disclaimer, while the original message becomes a separate attachment. ‘Ignore’ will send the message without a disclaimer if it cannot be modified and ‘Reject’ will stop the message being sent with a bounce back or NDR to the sender.

5. You CAN place the disclaimer above the message

You can choose to append the disclaimer to the end of the email, which is the default option, or prepend it before the message content if preferred. However, you can't place the email disclaimer underneath your most recent message. By selecting the ‘append’ option, any disclaimer will appear at the very bottom of an email conversation, under any replies or forwards.

6. You CAN add exceptions

After applying conditions to a disclaimer policy, you can select when the disclaimer should not be applied by creating exceptions. As an example, you may not want the disclaimer to be applied to internal messages or to specific recipients.

7. You CAN manage disclaimer rules via GUI or command line

With Exchange 2007, you can manage your disclaimer rules using either the GUI interface, the Exchange Management Console or via a command line using the Exchange Management Shell.

Signature with a disclaimer

8. You CAN’T create signatures using a WYSIWYG editor

Although the Exchange Management Console provides you with an interface to create your disclaimer rule, you cannot use a 'What You See Is What You Get' editor to design an email signature. Instead, you select from pre-defined options and test your signature with a live email send once configured.

9. You CAN’T pull information from Active Directory

Without implementing a VBS (Visual Basic Script) and calling it via a batch file or Group Policy when you login, you cannot pull individual user data from Active Directory. There are also no options for doing so in the Transport Rule section in Exchange 2007.

10. You CAN’T create user specific disclaimers dynamically

As you cannot pull information from Active Directory, you cannot create dynamic signatures for individual users with their contact details and job titles. The only way to achieve custom signatures is to create multiple static signatures or calling in a VBS script as mentioned previously.

11. You CAN’T create an HTML email signature

Although the disclaimer options allow you to select from pre-defined colors, sizes and fonts, the disclaimer can only appear in RTF (Rich Text Format). It will still be applied to HTML and plain text emails but the disclaimer section itself is only ever in RTF.

12. You CAN’T use CUSTOM fonts, sizes or colours

As mentioned previously, the disclaimer will always be in RTF, which can only use a pre-defined list of fonts, colors and sizes. You can’t use custom web fonts, you can’t select certain font sizes as you can in an HTML editor or Office application and you can’t use colors outside of the pre-defined list such as RGB codes.

13. You CAN’T use images

Exchange 2007 does not give you the option of including images in your disclaimer, so it cannot show company logos, banners or awards.

Limitations in an Exchange 2007 signature.

The advantage of email signature software

As you can see, the options for creating and distributing an Exchange 2007 signature and disclaimer are quite limited. Dedicated email signature software lets you add high-quality and professional signatures to all email processed by Exchange 2007.

Learn more about software to create and manage an Exchange 2007 signature

How Exclaimer Can Help:

If you're looking for an easy way to design and manage professional email signatures across your whole organization, we're here to help. Find out more or start your free trial today!

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