Signature Files

Most postings to Internet listservs and newsgroups have an attached "signature file." It is common to have 4-8 lines with your mailing address, title, phone numbers, and perhaps a line or two of humor or personal philosophy saved on your disk, to be attached to messages you send, as a form of electronic signature. This is important because it is often difficult to pick the sender's email address out of the headers of the message; particularly if a listserv has readdressed it. You don't want to create too long a signature file as it can become tedious and wastes screen space.

A signature file serves the simple purpose of providing easily available "return address" information to those who might wish to contact you. You would append your signature file to the end of an email message by whatever methods are most efficient for you. Eudora has a special file for your signature. Go to Tools/Signature to open the file and type in your signature. Your signature will be automatically appended to all messages you send, however, while entering the text of your message a window will be available at the top of the message where you can choose to send the signature or to not send it. If your mailreader does not have a way to choose a signature file, you can use cut and paste with your clipboard. Here's a sample signature file:

----- John Doe / Technical Support Specialist / State Network Services
State University, Anytown USA 12345 /VOICE:111-5550537 /FAX:111-5554521

Since email is sent via ascii text you will not be able to use any formatting like underlining or different font sizes when creating your signature file. You have to use spaces to center text. Also, you should use a non-proportional font, such as Courier, so that how you see the signature file in your word processor is how it will appear in your messages. Many signature files include pictures created using only ascii characters which can really enliven a "sig."

Remember that your email will often be seen be many strangers. Think twice about including your home phone number or address in your signature file.

1. Create a signature file. If you are working with a group, append the signature file to a public message to your group.