Crossware Email Signatures for Office365

17 Mar

A while back I posted a few articles on email Signatures:

The latter option used the disclaimer option as a mail flow rule in Office 365 but the main limitation was that this added the signature to the very bottom of the email, and so wasn’t any good for forwarded (FW:) or replied to (RE:) emails. It also couldn’t allow for any conditional fields and so had to be pretty basic.

I looked at a few options, including Exclaimer for Office365 and Mimecast before coming across Crossware Email Signatures.

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AD is populated with all user information and this is what I wanted displayed in the signatures, with the least amount of fuss.

In essence, when you setup a Crossware trial account, it goes off to Office365 and creates a distribution group and a mail flow rule. The rule is set to process emails for members of the testing distribution group and send these off to Crossware for processing. The email then comes back into Office365 and out to the recipient(s).

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Pricing for Crossware is £7.80/user/year. The trial is for unlimited to users and emails so it’s well worth trying.

The video below will explain it better than I can but it has pretty powerful web based options including embedding images and creating custom conditional fields and formulas, even going as far as writing them in C# if you like.

For example, I created a formula for “Address_Line1”, which would display the first part of users address (there was a second formula for Address_Line2) if they have one or fall back to the default office address:

string strAddress1;
strAddress1 = "(!Street!)";
if (strAddress1 == "")
{
  return "1 Dave House, Dave Street";
}
else
{
   return strAddress1;
}
}

You then create signature blocks (all of this is from within the simple web interface), imagine these as components that make up a signature and against these blocks you have rules which specify when the block should be used or not.

I currently only have one signature with 2 blocks, one for internal email signatures (Name, Job Title, Mobile) and another for external emails which contains everything.

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You then drag and drop these blocks into your signature(s), either in the Header, Normal or Footer sections. Once you have a play, this will become very obvious pretty quickly.

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This then leads me to the issues I experienced. The setup was extremely easy it must be said, after entering the Office365 credentials it went off and setup everything for me.

I had an issue trying to delete a signature that I had created which resulted in a rather large error. It turned out that I had first had to remove and security associations with this signature, after that it deleted just fine.

The Office365 option also does not currently support Email Modifiers. (Update 06/12/16, it now DOES support email modifiers, see below) A bit annoying as this seemed like a great feature to me. As a work around, I now have a mail flow rule on Office365 that checks for new emails (without RE:, FW: or Fwd: in the subject line), sent from inside the organisation, that contain “Sent from my…” or similar. If an emails matches this rule, it BCC’s it to somebody to check, and if necessary they can then email the user in question requesting that they disable their mobile signatures.

 

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A limitation is that it will not process emails sent from Public Folder addresses . As a work around to this, I have another mail flow rule (very last rule) that appends a basic disclaimer to emails that basically are from internal but not from a user account. Crossware support updated me with:

In brief, this is a Microsoft limitation as they do not make Public Folders accessible through the API’s – which we utilize.

Our Dev Team has done some analysis to see if there is any work around – unfortunately until Microsoft change things at their end this will not be possible.

Please note Microsoft are making updates constantly and we will keep an eye out for this one.

So a few bugs, nothing critical, more of an annoyance I suppose. But, as far as the user signatures go, it works very well.

I should also mention that you can then delegate access to the Crossware web portal to say the marketing department who can then login and make changes. So IT would set it up, create all of the rules and basic templates etc. and then Marketing could then login and maintain it and add various marketing and promotional information, in theory anyway.

sig

PS, it’s worth noting that you may need to modify your SPF record also. Internal emails will get sent our via the connector to Crossware. When they come back, they may then fail the SPF hard check if the Crossware domain is not listed in your SPF record.

Authentication-Results: spf=fail (sender IP is 104.40.179.195)

“v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com include:o365.crossware.co.nz -all”

Update 06/12/16: Email Modifier are now supported:

From the portal, go to Signature Designer, Admin and then Email Modifiers:

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You can then create a new modifier and in there place your modifier strings, i.e:

modifiers

The current list of annoying auto-signatures I have is (feel free to update me with any others):

  • Sent from my iPhone
  • Sent from my iPad
  • Sent from my Windows 10 Phone
  • Sent from my Windows Phone
  • Get Outlook for iOS
  • Sent from my Android Device
  • Sent by Microsoft Exchange Server 2016
  • Get Outlook for Android
  • Sent from Outlook Mobile

Next, go to either and existing signature, or add a new empty one and towards the bottom you can then set your modifier by selecting it from the drop down menu and saving it.

References: