Create a cool email stationery for Mac users using Apple Mail

This tutorial is intended for Mac users of Snow Leopard Mac OS X 10.6-8. That’s Snow Leopard, Lion & Mountain Lion. I’ve created stationery & signatures for P.C users too but it’s a world of pain so I haven’t uploaded a tutorial.

Many people comment on the graphic footer at the bottom of my emails and have asked me to set the same thing up for them. I’ll always help when I can but there are so many email clients each with their own particular capabilities that I can’t keep up with them all. Luckily for Mac users, ever since OSX 10.6, Apple Mail has allowed us to create more exciting signatures than those used by most other small businesses.

With Apple Mail you can easily choose a font, font size and font colour to use in a signature and you can even insert graphic image or logo but usually this is sent as an attachment which increases the size of your email and if you often send attachments with your emails, then size is important and it can be difficult for your recipient to find and save your attachment when it’s accompanied by all your logos. Ideally, your email should be able to display a signature with logos and links without them being sent as attachments. That’s what I do and this is how I did it…

My Email Signature

email signatures & stationery

It looks pretty and it isn’t an attachment so it doesn’t add to the file size. Furthermore, it also has links so the recipient can click through to my website and social media profiles. However, as I said earlier, there are loads of different e-mail clients out there and they all handle CSS and HTML differently so you need to avoid getting too carried away with your design or it will break for some recipients and you might look like an idiot. Here are some guidelines…

• Use tables for basic layout.
• Use inline CSS.
• Use only basic CSS properties.
• Use absolute URLs in your links.
• Remove HTML, HEAD, and BODY tags.

If CSS and HTML tags are a bit alien to you, you can still create a funky signature by using my own as a template. Below is a signature I use for personal correspondence and the code is underneath it. Some of it uses graphic content and the rest uses text. Just use it as a canvas and replace the bits you want with your own.

My Example Code
Use the example code below if you aren’t confident to create your own from scratch and create a new HTML document from it. You can do this by opening any web page editor such as Dreamweaver or use any text editor and save it as ‘signature.html’. We don’t need it just yet but we will when we open Safari later so that we can re-save it in a different format.

James Hewings B.A. Digital Media & Animation. See:
Send Speak: 01803 21 21 27 or 07730 573406

Saving the Signature into Apple Mail
Once you have created your HTML page for your email signature, we then have to get your signature into Apple Mail…


1. In Mail, open Preferences and click on the Signatures icon.
2. Create a new signature by clicking on the + icon.
3. Quit Mail.
4. In Safari, open the HTML file that you created earlier.
5. In Safari, go to File > Save As. Then, go to your Home Folder > Library > Mail > Signatures. You need to overwrite the signature that you just created in Mail. Click on the existing signature file, make sure that the format is set to Web Archive, and Save. (If there is more than file in this folder, switch the save dialog to the list view and you will see that the signature you added in Mail will be the one that was last modified.
6. Re-open Mail. That’s all there is to it.


Note: Are you using Mountain Lion OSX 10.8? Then follow these steps instead
If you’re using Mountain Lion 10.8 then a few things have changed and you probably got stuck at number 5 above. In Mountain Lion the Library Folder you need is hidden by default (That’s helpful isn’t it!) but the process is not too different. Follow these steps instead…

All we need to do is essentially copy some code from ‘yourstationery.html’ into a regular stationery file so that it becomes a modified version. Here’s how you do it…

1. In Apple Mail, create a new signature by going to ‘Mail -> Preferences -> Signatures and clicking on the + icon.

2. You’ve just created a new blank email signature. Now you need to Quit Mail and open the same file in a text editor.

3. The signature file you just created lives in a folder called ‘Signatures’ so we need to find that and open it. The ‘Signatures’ folder is buried inside the ‘Library’ folder (Library -> Mail -> V2 -> MailData -> Signatures). It’s hard to find because it’s invisible in OSX10.8 so we need to do this to make it visible… Open the Go > menu from the Finder menu and then hold down the Option key at the same time. You will now be able to see the hidden ‘Library’ folder amongst the other menu items. Open it and drill down to open the ‘Signatures’ folder.

4. Inside the ‘Signatures’ folder, find the signature that you created in step 1 above (It will be the one with the most recently modified date & time). Open it with your text editor (Try not to use Microsoft Word for this kind of thing). There will be some code which we need to keep and some that we need to replace.

5. Open the original ‘yoursignature.html’ file in your text editor. You should now have two signatures open – the one you created in step 1 and signature.html.

6. Copy and paste all the code from ‘yoursignature.html’ into the original signature that you created in step 1 but leave a bit of code remaining at the top. We just want to overwrite the stuff between the HTML tags as shown in the diagram below.

graphic design email stationery

NB: On line 7 in the diagram above, there’s a mistake -the full opening ” tag has not been selected – please make sure you replace everything within theandtags.

7. When that’s done, close both files and lock your new modified signature file or Mail will still want to change it back to the original version. To do that, select it and go to ‘File -> Get Info’ and tick the little box which says ‘Locked’ See the image below…


Test it.
Open Apple Mail again and start to compose a message. If you followed the instructions above correctly, everything should be working. Send an email to yourself and test it all works. Good luck!

N.B. I’ve never experienced a problem doing the above but please note that I can’t accept responsibility for any damage or loss caused to your computer or data. If in doubt, call an expert.


email letterheads

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