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Member Since: Mar 06, 2012
Posts: 4
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This formatting problem has afflicted MacMail users for some time now and it is galling that Apple appears to be quite happy to ignore it.

There are two formatting issues to address when e-mailing Outlook users: the body text in rich text messages defaults to Times New Roman; and the font size of signatures created in MacMail defaults to 13.5 or 14 points. All of the careful construction that goes into creating a beautiful message is lost on addressees that use Outlook and the creator’s image suffers as a result! There are solutions, however, I am pleased to say.

The body text format problem can be easily overcome by installing the Universal Mailer plug-in, available from

Addressing the signature format problem is a little more complicated. The trick is to create your own signature block as an html file, save it as a webarchive file, which is the format used by MacMail for its signatures, and add it to the MacMail signatures folder.

Here is an example signature file:

<div style="font-family:'Arial';font-size:12px;color:black"><br>YourSalutation,<br><br>
<div style="font-style:italic;font-weight:bold;font-size:16px;color:navy">YourSignature</div><br>
<b>e-mail</b>: <a href="" style="color:blue"></a><br>
<b>tel</b>: YourPhone<br>
<b>mob</b>: YourMobile/Cell</div>

Open a blank file in TextEdit and cut/paste the above text into it. Replace the various ‘Your…’ entries as required. Each ‘<br> generates a line break so you can add or remove lines with ease. You can also change font colours and sizes, if you wish.

Save the result and rename it with the file type ‘.txt’ replaced by ‘.html’ (you can use GetInfo to do this).

Open the resulting .html file in Safari, check that it looks OK and then save it as a webarchive file.

Create a signature in Mac Mail preferences, if you have not done so before.

You now need to open the MacMail Signatures Folder. In Lion run Finder, select ‘Go’ from the menu bar and press the alt/option key. This will reveal a folder called ‘Library’ in the drop down list.

Select the ‘Library’ folder (before releasing the alt/option key) and navigate to ‘Mail’ - ‘V2’ - MailData’ - ‘Signatures’. This is the MacMail Signatures Folder and here you will find one or more webarchive files (one for each signature) and a plist file. You can use Quick Look to check the signature contents, if you need to select a particular file to replace.

Click on the name of the MacMail signature webarchive file that you wish to replace and copy its filename to the clipboard.

Open the folder that contains your new signature webarchive file (the one you saved in Safari), click on the webarchive file and rename it with the filename that you copied to the clipboard.

Move/drag the new, now renamed, signature file to the MacMail Signatures folder, replacing the original file when prompted.

And that’s it. When you use your new signature in MacMail, with the Universal Mailer plug-in enabled, your messages will retain their original format when received by Outlook users.

You can see your new signature in MacMail preferences but you should not edit it. However, once you have entered your signature into a message, you can change it (its salutation, for example) and the correct format will still be retained for Outlook users.

If you want to include a logo in your signature block you can do so by using HTML tables. See Creating complex HTML email signatures in for Mac OSX Lion | Web Site Design, Web Application Design, UI, and Corporate Branding with Blue Coast Web.
Much of the procedure that I have described above is also nicely illustrated here.

You can re-edit your .html signature source file in TextEdit as long as you select the ‘Ignore Rich Text Commands in HTML files’ in the Open/Save preference panel. Alternatively, you could use the excellent free HTML editor Komodo Edit, available from Komodo Edit is a Free Open Source Editor for Perl, Python, Tcl, PHP, Ruby & Javascript.
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