Get a digital ID

A digital ID enables you to send digitally signed messages using Outlook 2013 or Outlook 2016. A digital ID, also known as a digital certificate, helps prove your identity and helps prevent message tampering to protect the authenticity of an email message. You can also encrypt messages for greater privacy.

Note:  A digital signature isn’t the same as a message signature, which is a customizable salutation. A digital signature adds unique code to a message which only comes from the digital ID held by the true sender.

Get a digital ID from a certifying authority

Using this procedure, you'll get a list of several certification authorities in your web browser to choose from.

  1. On the File tab, click Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Email Security > Get a Digital ID.

    Note: Your organization may have policies that require a different procedure. See your network administrator for more information.

  2. Select the certification authority that you want to use and follow the instructions on the web page to register for a digital ID. The certification authority will send you a digital ID with instructions via email.

Specify the digital ID to use

You might choose to have more than one digital ID — one for your digital signature, which in many areas can have legal significance, and another for encryption.

  1. On the File tab, click Options > Trust Center > Trust Center Settings > Email Security, and under Encrypted e-mail, click Settings.


    Note:  If you have a digital ID, the settings to use the digital ID are automatically configured for you. If you want to use a different digital ID, follow the remaining steps in this procedure.

  2. Under Security Setting Preferences, click New and enter a name for the security settings.

  3. In the Cryptography Format list, click S/MIME.

  4. Next to the Signing Certificate box, click Choose, and then select a certificate that is valid for digital signing.

    Note:  To learn if the certificate is intended for digital signing and encryption, on the Select a Certificate box, click Click here to view certificate properties. An appropriate certificate for cryptographic messaging (such as digital signing) might say, "Protects e-mail messages."

  5. Check the Send these certificates with signed messages box unless you'll be sending and receiving signed messages only within your organization.

    Note:  The settings that you choose become automatic when you send cryptographic messages. If you don’t want these settings to be used by automatically for all cryptographic messages, clear the Default Security Setting for this cryptographic message format check box.

Add a recipient's digital ID to your Contacts

To send and receive encrypted email messages, both sender and receiver must share their digital ID certificates with each other.

  1. Open a message that is digitally signed. A signed message is indicated in the message list by a signature icon.

  2. Right-click the name of the sender beside his or her picture, and then click Add to Outlook Contacts. If you already have an entry for this person, click Edit Contact.

    Tip:  The certificate is now stored with your contact entry for this recipient. You can send encrypted messages to this person.

  3. To view a certificate for a contact, do the following:

    1. On the Navigation bar, click People.

    2. On the Home tab, click List.

      Change the current view to 'List'

    3. Double-click the person’s name, and then on the Contact tab, click Certificates.

      Show the certificates of a specific person

Get a digital ID for sending messages using Microsoft Exchange Server accounts

Note:  This feature requires a Microsoft Exchange Server account.

To get an Exchange Server digital ID — for example, through Key Management Service — the administrator of your Exchange account must have security running on the server and give you a special password, which is known as a token. For more information, see your Exchange administrator.

  1. On the File tab, click Options > Trust Center, Trust Center Settings > Email Security > Get a Digital ID.

  2. Click Set up Security for me on the Exchange.

  3. Click OK.

  4. In the Digital ID Name box, type your name.

  5. In the Token box, type the special password that your Exchange administrator assigned to you.

  6. In the Microsoft Office Outlook Security Password dialog box, type a different password for the digital ID, and then type the password again in the Confirm box.

    You'll receive a message in your Inbox from the Exchange administrator which requires you to enter the password created in this step.

  7. In the dialog box that appears, enter your password, click the Remember password for check box, and then enter the number of minutes for which you want Outlook to remember your password.

  8. In the Root Certificate Store message that appears, click Yes.

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