Creating complex HTML email signatures in Microsoft Outlook 2011 for Mac

Apr 28, 2011 by Brian Yuen


With so many features and knickknacks under the hood, there has to be an easy way to make a HTML email signature with an image right? WRONG! Once again, Microsoft has made it extremely difficult to include complex email signatures, especially those that include remote images.

But fear not! Today, we're going to walk you through how to create these complex HTML signatures, and also include a remote image. This isn't the first "how-to" that explains how to achieve this, but not many go over including a remote image that doesn't come in the inbox looking like there's an attachment associated with it.

First, here's what you'll need:

  • A Mac running OSX
  • Microsoft Office for Mac 2011
  • A web hosting provider to house your image (If you don't have one, I would advise using Dropbox to host your image for the time being. Instructions on how to do that here.) a free image hosting service like Imgur or Photobucket.
  • An HTML editor (Coda, TextMate, Adobe Dreamweaver, or whatever you're comfortable with just as long as it's not MS Word.)

We'll also assume that:

  • You have basic HTML know how
  • Capable of uploading an image file to a web server, or a Dropbox account as stated above a remote server

Step 1

Decide what sort of information you want to display on your signature. For this demonstration, we'll use first/last name, email, telephone, company name and logo.

Step 2

Create your signature in your HTML editor of choice (or download the one that's available in the download link below and edit it with your plain text HTML editor). If applicable, upload your image to the web server taking note of the public path and inserting it into your HTML signature. For the more advanced users, Basic inline CSS is alright to use, as long as it's not used to position items...tables only!

Step 3

Once you have your email signature designed and laid out just as you like, save the file to your Desktop and call it "signature.html" and review it if you wish.

Step 4

Open the "signature.html" file that you've just created in Chrome or Firefox (not tested with other browsers)

Step 5

With the browser open and on the foreground and your signature file displayed, press Command + A on your keyboard to "Select All"

Step 6

Open Outlook Select "Preferences" and "Signatures"

Step 7

Click the plus button on the lower left to create a new signature. If there’s content in the big right signature window after you've clicked the plus icon, delete it. In my case, it was displaying my first and last name.

Step 8

Press Command + v on your keyboard to paste in your signature that you copied from your browser

Step 9

Set your "Default Signatures" and rejoice!

Download the HTML email signature template here.