A signature field in Microsoft Outlook 2003 is a way for you to automatically insert signature-related information into newly created email messages. In our Information Age, hand-written letters are a rarity while quick emails and texts are becoming predominantly more common. The disconnect between the two types of messaging is that writing etiquette is still a critical aspect to this form of communication. Along with other fields in your message, this is where a signature field will help make your messages complete as well as giving it the appearance of having proper balance and form.

Who benefits from a signature block? Everyone benefits from a signature block. Information such as your complete full name to such information as your company name and mailing address to your contact information are all beneficial pieces of information that you should share with your audience. After all, how can you expect someone to properly contact you unless you give them that information?

Why would you want your own signature block? While having a signature block is a formality and many of your email messages could be quick, impromptu messages, you will find that as your conversations continue you will need to define certain standards in your messaging to convey a certain professionalism and seriousness that would be expected of work-related discussions. Surely, sending a text message with a greeting and salutation may be a bit of overkill but a Hello and Thanks does have positive effects in a sea of short-hand, non-standard, and abbreviated words and phrases such as LOL, BFF, IDC, ID10T, etc.

How to you setup the signature? The setup of a signature field is by far the easiest when compared to all the other factors I just mentioned. With Outlook 2003 opened, go to Tools > Options > Mail Format. In the Signature area, you have the ability to create multiple signatures. Furthermore, you have the option to select which signatures are used for new messages and for replies and even forwarded messages. Make sure to save your progress by selecting the Apply and/or Save button before exiting the appropriate screens.

In summary, a signature block in Outlook needs to be functional without providing unnecessary information or overstated images or icons. Your signature block is a reflection of yourself and you definitely do not want to send the wrong impression. Especially, if you have not had a chance to meet your recipient in person. You will go a long way by setting a positive impression at the very beginning through your digital letter.