Add a salutation to a message

Communicating by e-mail has developed its own style and format, which tend to be fairly informal. This informal communication can be very different from written or printed letters, especially business letters. Adding a salutation to a message is not always necessary or expected in e-mail messages. However, you can still include traditional salutations if you want. Salutations, such as greetings, and courtesy titles, such as Sir, Mrs., or Mr., can be included in the body of any message.

On the other hand, perhaps you are thinking of salutations in ways that don't have direct parallels in e-mail. Do you want recipients to see what the message is about before they open it? Do you want to have a specific closing included automatically in your messages? Maybe you want to use traditional letter salutations and page formatting in e-mail messages. If so, see if any of the following can help.

What do you want to do?

Add introductory text to the Subject box

Create and include a signature in outgoing messages

Create a handwritten signature for messages

Use a letter template in an Outlook message

Add introductory text to the Subject box

You can add introductory text to the Subject box of a message. This information is generally visible in a recipient's Inbox before the message is opened, giving the recipient an idea of what the message is about. When you create a new message, you can type whatever information you want to appear in the Subject box.

  • In Microsoft Outlook, open a new message, and in the Subject box, type the text that you want.

    I don't have a Subject box in my messages

    Unless senders are using a customized message form for their e-mail messages, you should see a Subject box in their messages. If you don't see a complete message header at the top of the messages that you receive, you might have changed your default setting for headers.

    Change the message header setting

    • In a message that you have received, on the Message tab, in the Actions group, click Other Actions, and then click Message Header. This turns the setting on or off.

      Note: The Message Header command affects all messages in your Inbox.

    Note: If you receive a message without a Subject line, when you reply to or forward the message, you can type a subject in the Subject box if you want. If you leave the Subject box blank when you reply to or forward the message, the Subject box shows only RE: or FW:, respectively.

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Create and include a signature in outgoing messages

You can create personalized signatures for your e-mail messages that are composed of text, your electronic business card, a company logo or other images.

You can create as many signatures as you need. You can also configure Microsoft Office Outlook to automatically add a signature to outgoing messages, or you can manually add the signature whenever it's needed.

Step 1: Create a signature

Step 2: Insert a signature in a message

Step 1: Create a signature

  1. Signature menu In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.

  2. On the E-mail Signature tab, click New.

  3. Type a name for the signature, and then click OK.

  4. In the Edit signature box, type the text that you want to include in the signature.

    start a new signature

  5. To format the text, select the text, and then use the style and formatting buttons to select the options that you want.

    Notes: 

    More on different message formats

    Microsoft Office Outlook 2007 supports three message formats:

    • Plain text     This is a format that all e-mail applications support. You can set Outlook to open messages that you receive in plain text format only. Plain text doesn't support bold, italic, colored fonts, or other text formatting. It also doesn't support pictures that are displayed directly in the message body, although you can include the pictures as attachments.

    • Rich Text Format (RTF)     You can use RTF when sending messages within an organization that uses Microsoft Exchange. However, Microsoft recommends that you use the HTML format. Rich Text Format supports text formatting, including bullets, alignment, and linked objects. Outlook automatically converts RTF-formatted messages to HTML by default when you send them to an Internet recipient, so that the message formatting is maintained and attachments are received. Outlook also automatically formats meeting and task requests and messages with voting buttons so that these items can be sent intact across the Internet to other Outlook users, regardless of the default format of the message.

    • HTML     This is the default message format in Outlook. It is also the best format to use when you want to create messages that are similar to traditional documents, with various fonts, colors, and bullet lists. By default, when you select either of the options that allow formatting (HTML or Rich Text), the message is sent in HTML format. So when you use HTML, you know that what you send is what the recipient will see.

      Note: When you reply to a message, Outlook preserves the format of the original message. However, if you select the Read all standard mail in plain text option, Outlook formats your reply in plain text. Or you can click the InfoBar, change the format of the message to HTML or Rich Text, and then reply. If you change the format of the message, the reply is formatted with the new display format.

      For information on changing message formats, see Change the message format to HTML, Rich Text, or plain text.

  6. To add elements besides text, place your cursor where you want the element to appear, and do any of the following:

Options

How to

Notes

To add an electronic business card

Click Business Card, and then click a contact in the Filed As list. Then click OK.

By simply adding your business card to a signature, you can include the specific contact information you want quickly and distinctively.

To add a hyperlink

Click the Insert Hyperlink button, browse to a hyperlink, click to select it, and then click OK.

To add a picture

Click the Picture button, browse to a picture, click to select it, and then click OK.

Common image file formats for pictures include: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, and .png.

For information on adding an image of your handwritten signature, see:

  1. After you finish creating the signature, click OK.

    Note: The signature that you just created or modified won't appear in the currently open message; it must be inserted into the message. For more information, see "Step 2: Insert a signature in a message."

Step 2: Insert a signature in a message

You can set a signature to be added automatically to outgoing messages, or you can manually insert a signature when needed.

Note: You can insert only one signature per e-mail message; you cannot include multiple signatures. If you want to include more information, create one signature with all the information, and then save it with a new name.

  • Insert a signature automatically

    1. Signature menu In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.

    2. Under Choose default signature, in the E-mail account list, click an e-mail account with which you want to associate the signature.

    3. In the New messages list, select the signature that you want.

      Include signature in new messages

    4. If you want a signature to be included in message replies and in forwarded messages, in the Replies/forwards list, select the signature. If not, select none.

    5. Click OK.

  • Insert a signature manually

    1. Insert a signature In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then select the signature that you want.

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Create a handwritten signature for messages

To send your handwritten signature in your e-mail messages, you add an image of the handwritten text to an Outlook e-mail signature.

Methods of reproducing a handwritten signature as an image include:

  • Scanning the signature

  • Taking a digital photograph of the signature

After reproducing the image, save the image in one of the common image file formats, such as .bmp, .gif, .jpg, or .png.

Note: To use a handwritten signature produced on a Tablet PC, see Create a handwritten signature on the Tablet PC.

Create the signature

  1. Signature menu In a new message, on the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.

  2. On the E-mail Signature tab, click New.

    Tip: You can also add the image of your handwritten signature to an existing e-mail signature. Click the signature you want to modify, place your cursor where you want to add the handwritten signature, and then follow steps 4 through 7.

  3. Type a name for the signature, and then click OK.

  4. In the Edit signature section, click Insert Picture.

  5. Browse to the image file for the handwritten signature, click to select it, and then click Insert.

  6. If you choose, you can add other elements, such as text, your Electronic Business Card, or other images. For more information on creating signatures, see "Create and include a signature in outgoing messages" in the section above.

  7. After you finish creating the signature, click OK.

Note: The signature that you just created or modified won't appear in the currently open message; it must be inserted into the message. For more information, see "Step 2: Insert a signature in a message" in the section above.

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Use a letter template in an Outlook message

If you want to create an e-mail message with a more traditional business (or other) type of formatting, you can either type it yourself or use a template. Microsoft Office Word 2007 provides many business and personal letter templates that cover a variety of industries, purposes, events, agendas, and tasks. Click File > New in Word, search for letter, and then click to download the template you want.

After you select and download a template, all you need to do is cut and paste it into an Outlook message and customize it to fit your needs.

Word business letter template

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