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Signature Authority: Using footer tools to create template e-mails

As an attorney, you likely create numbers of template documents for use in your practice. Perhaps you've even established nifty methods for advancing your document library. Only, these days, the vast majority of business communications are through e-mail. So, do you utilize email templates? If not, there's a fairly easy way to begin to do so, that may make your practice life a little bit easier. If you love document templates, you're really going to love e-mail templates.

Most people use e-mail signatures to apply standard footers to their messages; but, you need not stop there. You can use the signature feature to create entire template e-mails; and, it's literally just as easy as typing your template in, saving it as a signature and applying it when you need it. (For the limited information that will change within the template, use highlighted language to reflect where specific information will need to be included before sending.)

Here are some instructions on how to set up signatures within the two most popular business e-mail platforms:

  • Outlook; and
  • GMail (use 'Canned Responses' from GMail Labs, since GMail's basic signature tool only allows you to create one, traditional footer; though, full disclosure: I've had a great deal of trouble getting 'Canned Responses' to work at all -- the Outlook option is vastly superior, in my opinion).

Keep in mind, however, that you can't append more than one footer (your standard footer) to a single e-mail in Outlook, because the second footer (your template e-mail) will entirely overwrite the first -- though, this does not appear to be the case with GMail Canned Responses. There is, however, an easy solution to this Outlook issue: Just add your standard footer to the end of each of your template e-mail signatures, and the whole thing (template e-mail signature and standard footer) will show up.

If your e-mail system does not offer the capability to create multiple signatures, or if the functionality is far too wonky to be useful (as it has been for me, in GMail), WiseStamp can add the functionality, for a number of e-mail platforms.

Tip courtesy of Jared Correia, Law Office Management Assistance Program.

Published March 15, 2012

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