Having a punchy, clear and concise signature in your emails is extremely important. As a freelance writer who functions mostly in the online realm, I see my email signature as having the same role as a business card had in the 90s.
It’s fairly simple to add a signature in Gmail: just go to Settings in Gmail, scroll down to Signature, and type one in. But the options here are limited, as it’s quite restrictive in terms of positioning the signature before or after quoted text, and you need to go to Settings each time you want to toggle it on or off.
Here, I’ll show you how to use the “Canned Responses” tool to create multiple signatures and be able to easily choose which one you want to use (if any) each time you send an email.
First, you’ll need to enable Canned Responses in Gmail Labs (where you’ll find all kinds of wonderful Gmail add-ons).
1. In your Gmail inbox, click the cog icon at the top right, Settings, then click the Labs tab.
2. In the “Search for a lab” box, type
canned responses then hit Enter. Canned Responses should appear under “Available Labs.” (Ignore the part where it says it’s for lazy people – we’re using it for something way more productive than auto-replies!) Click “Enable,” then “Save Changes.”
You now have Canned Responses enabled, so it’s time to create your signature(s).
1. Click “Compose” in Gmail as if you were writing a new email.
2. Next, click the small arrow in the bottom right corner of the New Message window -> Canned Responses -> New canned response.
3. Type a name that you’ll remember for your signature into the text box that appears, then click OK.
4. Next, go to Canned responses in your New Message window again, and click the name of your signature under the “Insert” subheader. The name you chose for your signature will then appear in the “Subject” line of your email.
5. Now just type what you want your signature to be into the “body” part of the email (the area where you’d normally type your email message).
Making Your Signature Look Good
I like to preface my signature with two dashes, which separates it neatly from the rest of the email. I then write my name on the first line, my title on the following line, then a logo of the company or companies I work or write for on the third line. Obviously, if you want to enter your Twitter handle, phone numbers, etc., then you can do that too – it’s your signature, after all!
If you want to use the logo of a site or company, then you can generally obtain it by right-clicking the logo on the website, then clicking “Save image as…” That failing, you can use the Windows Snipping Tool (Search for it in the Start menu.) to cut out the logo and save it as an image.
Once you’ve saved the logo, drag it over from the location where it’s been saved into the Gmail window where you’re creating your signature. The logo should appear in your signature in the “Best fit” size by default, but you can change its size by dragging the corners of the logo.
Once you’ve entered your signature, it’s time to save it for future use. Click the arrow next to the bin icon at the bottom right -> Canned responses, then select the name for your signature under the “Save” subheading.
You’ve now created your first signature! Each time you want to use it in an email, just compose an email, then when you want to insert your signature, click the arrow in the bottom right corner -> Canned responses. Then select your signature under the “Insert” subheading.
You can create a whole list of signatures using the above method, ready to pick and choose individually for each email you send. If you want to edit one of your signatures, click “Compose” in Gmail, insert it using the method in the last paragraph, then edit it as you please.
When you’re done editing, save your signature by clicking the arrow next to the bin icon at the bottom right -> Canned responses, then selecting it under the “Save” subheading.
The only issue with this Canned Response Signature method is that it is mainly applicable for the desktop. If you are using the Gmail mobile app, you won’t have quick access to your canned response, which makes this method useless.
I always struggled with Gmail’s default signature options and was surprised to find that this hidden feature, which is generally used for automated responses, would be so perfect for creating and managing my own collection of signatures. It goes to show that sometimes one feature or app can be used for a completely different purpose than the one it’s seemingly meant for.
Image credit: Signature