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Mac 101: Making a fancy signature in Mail.app

I was leafing through some emails this afternoon and came upon one with an extremely attractive signature block. So attractive, in fact, that I promptly stopped doing the writing I was working on and decided to create my own new signature to replace the ugly one I had been using.

I wanted to have three major components to the signature: my name in color so that it stood out, links to the websites that describe my work (TUAW being one of those sites), and the ever-popular links to my Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn pages. The final product looks like this:

It's nothing too fancy, but it provides links to the locations that are important to me and also to the social networking sites I use. So what's the secret to doing this? Easy - use a blank new message as your canvas for creating the signature you want, and then copy and paste it into a new signature block in Mail preferences. Follow along as I create this signature block.


The first step in creating a fancy signature block in Mail is to launch the app and immediately click the New Message button. With a blank message in front of you, type in your text. In my case, it was rather simple to do. I typed in the text in the standard type face (Helvetica), style (Regular), and size (12 point):

Of course, that looked a lot like my old signature block, so I needed to make the text look a little better. Clicking the Fonts button on top of the new message, I highlighted all of the text and changed the size to 11 point. This threw the URLs off a bit, so I used the delete and tab keys to get them lined up properly again. For my name, I triple-clicked the line in which my name was listed to highlight the entire line, and then applied the Bold style (Command-B). For the color of the name text, I used the font color picker to find a nice green color that I liked. Finally, for the text below the name, I highlighted the three lines and then chose a slightly dark gray color for the text:

Now I needed to add in the links for the three websites. To do so, I highlighted tuaw.com, selected Edit > Add Link from the menu, and then added in the full URL for the site (http://tuaw.com) and clicked the OK button. This process was then repeated for the other two sites:

Cool. Now all I had to add was the icons for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Fortunately, I didn't have to search for them, since all three were included in the signature block that had triggered this post. I saved them to my pictures folder and have uploaded them here for use in your signatures. To save the images, just right-click (option-click) on them and choose Save Image As... from the popup menu.



If you need an icon for another social media site, just Google it and find one that is 32 x 32 pixels in size.

The next step is to insert these icons into the signature block. I opened the icon images in Preview, selected them one at a time with a Command-A (Select All), used Command-C to copy them, and then pasted them with Command-V into the message. Once the images were inserted, it was time to add links from each of the button icons to the proper pages on the social media sites.

Before I started, I made sure that I knew the URL for each of my pages on the social media sites. Next, I clicked on the appropriate button to select it, selected Edit > Add Link from the menu, and then added the URL. Once this was completed, the signature was pretty much what I wanted. I highlighted the entire signature, copied it, and then went into Mail > Preferences > Signatures. To create a new signature, I clicked on the + sign, then typed in a name for the new signature. In the box on the right side of the signature pane, I pasted the signature:

To assign a signature to an email account, simply drag the signature name over to the account in the far left column of the signature pane. Now, when you need to add the signature to an email, all you need to do is choose the signature from the signature popup below the address and subject lines in your email.

Making these signature blocks with links, icons, and color is so easy, you may find yourself making a lot of them. Here's another block I made in about five minutes:

Do you have any hints for adding more interactive elements to your Mail signature? If so, let us know in the comments below.

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