How can I add a picture to my signature when I send out e-mails? I
want it to be like a business card with my picture & signature at
the bottom of the e-mail.
First, we have to realize exactly what a signature is: it’s nothing more
than some additional content automatically added by your email program
to the bottom of the body of an email when you send it.
Which in turn means that there is no single answer to your question,
since signatures are a feature of your email program, and how you do it
will depend entirely on which email program you’re using.
So we’ll look at it at a high level, and hopefully that’ll point you
in the right direction for whatever program that might be.
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First, if you want to insert pictures in the body of your email (and
remember, the signature is just a part of the message body), then you
need to be composing your email in HTML.
- Outlook 2007 – compose a new message, and then in
the Options tab of the ribbon, make sure that
HTML is selected.
- Outlook Express and Windows Live
Mail – compose a new message, and then in the
Format menu select Rich Text
- Thunderbird – if your default format is not HTML,
then hold down the Shift key when clicking on the
- Windows Live Hotmail – compose a new message, and
if Plain Text appears above the From: line, click on
that and select Rich Text.
So now that you know how to create a message in HTML format, we need
to back up a step and set up a signature.
- Outlook 2007 – Tools, Options, Mail Format,
Signatures… opens a dialog that will allow you to add and edit
signatures. In particular, Outlook provides a rich text editor that
will allow you to, among other things, insert pictures directly into
- Outlook Express and Windows Live
Mail – Tools, Options and
then the Signatures tab. Click on
New, and then below, you can edit your signature. The
signature editing capability in Windows Live Mail appears to be only
text. However, it will let you reference a file. If that file is a
“.html” file, it can contain HTML referencing a picture by a fully
qualified URL, stored out on the internet.
- Thunderbird – Tools, Account Settings, then click
on the account for which you would like to set a signature. On the
right will be a checkbox Attach this signature: which
lets it point to a text file containing the signature you want. If that
file is a “.html” file, it can contain HTML referencing a picture by a
fully qualified URL, stored out on the internet.
- Windows Live Hotmail – Options
(near the upper right), More Options, and then click
on Personal e-mail signature. Windows Live Hotmail
will allow you to create a Rich Text signature but it does not appear
to support inserting a picture.
Since we’ve gotten this far, let’s look at one little detail that
pops up a time or two, and that’s this “HTML” file that can reference a
picture up on the internet. This turns into a three-step process:
- Upload the picture you want to use to a location on the internet. A
photo sharing site, your own web site, anything where the picture can
be publicly accessed by a URL. For example, I could use my masthead,
since it’s available publicly as
- Create a text file containing your signature, and referencing that
image, encoded as a “.html” file. For example<p>Leo A.
Would create a signature that looks like this:
Leo A. Notenboom
- Use that “.html” file in those email programs.
Now, it is possible to create that “.html” file in web authoring
tools, but they tend to add a lot of HTML that you don’t need, and
frequently assume that you’re creating an entire page instead of just
an HTML fragment. But they can be a place to start. After which, you
might hand-edit the resulting HTML in a text editor like Notepad.
Finally, be aware that people may not be able to see your picture
unless they have pictures enabled in the program they use to read
The bottom line is that, as we’ve seen, different email programs
expose different levels of functionality, and in different ways. What
you’re able to do, and how, will vary depending on exactly what tools
you’re using, and possibly your own level of technical comfort.
Hopefully, with these few simple examples you’ll be able to determine
your own specific steps.