Tech Tips for Techs: Outlook Signature Creation



I recently had a client ask me how to input photos and hyperlinks into  his Outlook signatures, to make them stand-out better. I realized this is an often-overlooked art that should be well-known.

In order to recreate the steps necessary for this blog, I am using an Exchange account with Outlook 2010. Your results might vary.

In order to edit and create signatures, in Outlook 2010 you can browse to:

File ->Options ->Mail ->Signatures. 

This opens a window that allows you to create and edit your signatures. Let’s start by creating a new signature. 

Set up the normal text you need in the signature. As you can see, the options you are given is very similar to Word. You can modify the color, font and size of all text. Input everything you need and, once done, you are ready to insert hyperlinks and really take your signature to another level.

The first step is to download all of the photos you need in your signatures. Many professional social media sites give you links that they prefer you to use. Microsoft also gives you links and a brief tutorial here as well.

Once you have the photos downloaded, you can insert them into your signature. Click on the “insert picture” link, navigate to your photo, and insert it into your signature.

Sign1Once your picture is in the signature, click on it (you will see blocks appear around the picture) and click the hyperlink button.


This opens a new window that allows you to type the hyperlink you need to input.

sign3The middle area does not matter what it is set on. You just to have to ensure you are choosing the first option on the left “Existing file or Web Page,” and then type the address properly in the address bar. Once you do that, you will have a clickable link in your signature!

A couple of things to note about Outlook signatures: The type of signature creation I am reviewing with you is only for users who can read HTML emails. If the client to whom you are sending an email cannot read HTML for their email (i.e. if they are using Outlook Web Access), then they can only see Plain Text.

Plain Text is a type of view that does not allow for pictures, or any editable features, such as colored, specialized fonts. I would also recommend creating a signature that you can use for Plain Text, should you need it. This is just a standard signature with no color, no special fonts, no pictures or hyperlinks. You can then pick and choose what signature to use. This is convenient to ensure any formatting you create always stays current with your brand.

Also, once you input the pictures, you do not need to save them on your machine, as once you input them into Outlook, Outlook takes the pictures and saves them into their AppData. If you set up your signature and test, be aware that if you are testing with an account that cannot send the email back in HTML, it will break the links.

One example is if you set up the links, then send to your Gmail account, and respond via Gmail on a smartphone, it will send the email back and the formatting will show the name of the picture, and NOT the picture itself (hyper-links will still work, but you won’t see your photo)

See below for an idea of what this looks like when you receive a reply that is not formatted in HTML:



Pictures can be in any format that is acceptable for pictures (.gif, .jpeg, .png), and when you add them to your signature, it really enhances the look and marketability of your brand!




The Power of Social Media: What Not To Do!


It’s probably safe to say most small business owners understand the importance of having a presence on the web. Perhaps you have a company site, Facebook, Linked In, YouTube, Twitter, or all of the above. If done right, you have an opportunity to find customers and promote your business literally at your fingertips. Great ideas or products from even a small business can quickly spread like wildfire on social media.

One family owned restaurant in Arizona recently was on Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares. Essentially, the show comes in and points out flaws with the intention to give the business feedback to improve while trying to make an entertaining television show. Having an opportunity to get on TV would be a great way to get your business exposure. Unfortunately for the couple who owns this restaurant they were called out on some questionable practices and did not take criticism well. The show recently aired and naturally some people on social media criticized their business practices further.

This provoked the owners to start lashing out at everyone openly on their Facebook page. Word of this spread quickly to other social media sites and started drawing masses of people to their page to see what the commotion was about. The insults and threats only continued from the owners in multiple posts further hurting their business. While watching this drama play out may be entertaining to some, it’s important to remember how quickly things can spread: either good or bad. Forbes has created a good article on tips regarding use of social media in light of this.


Social media

How to help your online “presence”.


These days, here in 2012, we do not use pickets and radio advertisement as much as we do online advertising.  So how is the best way to create and “online presence” as a small to medium business and be as effective as the large corporations?  This blog will give you some quick ideas that will help you get your name out there.

With social media being a huge part of people’s lives these days, we have to adapt and get on that level as well.  Creating a Facebook Fan Page is a great way to build a relationship and stay in constant touch with your customers.  Unlike going to a webpage where viewers can see it and close out of the browser, posting feeds within Facebook is going to show up in your fans’ feeds whenever you post them.

With social media, a ton of companies these days or using it, but are they doing it correctly and in the most effective ways?  I know that I am constantly seeing signs saying “Follow us on Facebook or Twitter” and I think to myself, “Is this the best way to handle this?” For some Facebook is going to be a better route to take and Twitter may be more suited for following your favorite trending topic or celebrity.  If your business is involved with a hot trending topic however, Twitter can be wildly beneficial.

Another way to get your WWW presence higher and your name more known is to advertise!  People tend to think that those ads on the sides of Google pages are annoying and they never click them, but this is actually not the case. Last year, Google made approximately $40 Billion in revenue by people clicking on these ads. So does this seem like advertisement that does not work?

Blog, blog blog!  People respond to content and items that they enjoy or are interested in.  An easy way to build a relationship with your customers is to have them enjoy visiting your site by reading subjects and content that is worth their time.  More Enjoyable=Likeliness to Return!

There are many other tips, tricks, and strategies to help your reach in this dog-eat-dog world of business, and more may be more suitable to your situation, so feel free to comment on this blog and help pass along your success stories!

Social Media Cheat Sheet


How well do you know your Twitter from your Facebook? Your Google+ from your Tumblr for that matter? Designed for small
businesses, the “cheat sheet” below might still be useful to anyone trying to familiarize themselves with some of the social media sites on the inter-webs.

This particular
infographic is from FlowTown (which is a good source in its own right) and provides some basic tips for various social networking sites. So you can seem like a pro!


How will LinkedIn Signal change the way we work?


You may have heard that LinkedIn recently launched a new service called Signal that is designed to make LinkedIn a more socially relevant application.  The service is only available on a very limited basis right now, but will probably roll out to the general LinkedIn population pretty soon.

What is Signal?  It’s a simple way of getting real time LinkedIn status updates and Twitter updates delivered in your LinkedIn interface.

Now, this may not seem like any major technical breakthrough – it isn’t – but it does potentially make LinkedIn a much more relevant application in our daily lives.

If you’re like me, you joined LinkedIn because you wanted a simple way to connect online to a community that is more business-oriented than you’d typically find on Facebook, MySpace, or other social networks.  LinkedIn has been very successful for this purpose, with tens of millions of active users.

LinkedIn, however, has never really become a part of my daily life, like Twitter and Facebook have.  I don’t check in on LinkedIn multiple times each day to see what’s going on with my network.  Contrast that to Twitter and Facebook, where I seem to be spending more and more of my time.  LinkedIn Signal may change that.

By making LinkedIn a more social application, it may suddenly become very relevant in my workday.  It is, after all, the “place” that I keep all of my professional contacts, so it would make sense that I spend time during my workday updating and looking for updates within that network – it just hasn’t really been a feature of LinkedIn to be able to do so.

With the introduction of Signal, LinkedIn collides with my other social applications – it will be interested to see six months from now where I am spending my time online.  My bet is that an increasing amount of it will be spent in LinkedIn.