I manage about eight users in an environment whose email is governed by an Exchange 2010 server (SBS 2011). The users have various devices (phones, computers, etc.) that are not managed by the domain.

We've been trying to come up with a better way to manage the email signatures for one subset of the user-base. In short: We went them all to be the same with the exceptions of name, title, phone, etc.

Right now, I am using a Transport Rule that drops an AD-customized signature into the messages. It works, but the users are squawking over my exception that prohibits applying the signature if the subject line contains "RE:". Admittedly, it's an inelegant way to prevent every outbound message from getting it's signature applied with each new reply.

I'm looking for something better and I hope someone here has a better idea.



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    So the users take exception to your exception? If so, then get rid of the exception. – joeqwerty Dec 6 '12 at 20:27
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    Fair enough. They ALSO don't like the idea of signatures getting applied on every outbound message ... over and over and over again. Tl;dr They suck, I rule. (I'm joking.) – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 22:30

You have just about hit the limit when it comes to Exchange-native tools.

If commanding your users to follow the rules and use a template isn't an option, then the next stop is some custom programming or third-party software.

I use Exclaimer Signature Manager to push signatures to Outlook based on templates to all of my users. It also sets their OWA signature.

Excalimer also makes a product called Mail Disclaimers that is a transport layer plugin that scans all outgoing messages for an obnoxious string of characters like &&&&&&------&&&&&& and replaces it with a signature. This is useful for clients where you can't push a real signature, such as smartphones, tablets, POP/IMAP clients, and third-party-software. Instead of having the user/app set their signature, you tell them to put in &&&&&&------&&&&&& or whatever and it gets replaced by their signature at the transport layer.

  • It's certainly possible I would go that route. I found those products during my initial research into this whole mess and two things gave me pause. First, Signature Manager states it can't process emails from mobile devices like phones. Deal breaker, I'm afraid. Second, Disclaimers seems like it would work, but I wince at the "There is a small but inevitable processing overhead on your Exchange servers." And I'm all like "Sooo.. you mentioned that and tried to play it off... Why...?" SUSPICIOUS. – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 22:38
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    Based on my testing, mail disclaimers had the same impact as transport rules that search message bodies. That is to say, not enough to shake a stick at. I recommend you take a second look. They give you a trial period so you can gauge the impact yourself. – longneck Dec 6 '12 at 22:44
  • I found another product that's a tad cheaper and seems to do more of what I want called Code Two Exchange Rules. Are you familiar with it? – tcv Dec 7 '12 at 16:02
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    Nope, but I'm curious what the differences are. Based on my cursory examination, I didn't see any. – longneck Dec 7 '12 at 17:06
  • I can tell you that Disclaimers may be the one to go with. I didn't get a good vibe from Code Two's support people while Exclaimer was able to answer every question I had, followed up with me without being pushy, and recommended some cost-savings. Seems worth a trial at the least. – tcv Dec 7 '12 at 17:56

Maybe there are some headers you could key off of? For example, if your email clients are configured to set the "In-Reply-To" header, you could look for that and if its set, don't add a signature.

  • I've had trouble getting this to work. I don't know if I'm not looking for the keywords properly or what. I tried pre-Exchange2010SP2. I should try again. I've also seen people insert "Disclaimer Applied" headers and filter on that. Thinking about it... – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 22:35
  • Headers won't work because replying or forwarding a message does not carry forward the headers. – longneck Dec 6 '12 at 22:46
  • Hmmm... Then I wonder how people are able to do this. There are a few success stories about this on the Internets... Hmmmmmmm.... – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 23:00
  • Well, you're right. The header does not survive. Boo. – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 23:23
  • dhergent: Just to button up your response. I don't think your idea works exactly. I can search for In-Reply-To but if the reply is to a new message that originated outside, the In-Reply-To would exist and the signature would not be applied. – tcv Dec 6 '12 at 23:27

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