Advice Apple life hack

How to Add an Image to Your Email Signature Without it Appearing Like an Attachment

If you’re reading this, you know how aggravating  it can be to get an email from someone, seemingly with an attachment, but there is no a attachment. The culprit of this phantom file is invariably the logo or image they are using as part of their email signature.

After a period of trying to ignore this at work, I finally broke down. When every email you receive from your colleagues looks to have an attachment, it can drive you nuts. Typically an email with an attachment is of higher importance than one without. (it’s almost as annoying as those ridiculous disclaimers people tack on to the end of their emails, but don’t get me started on that pseudo-legal baloney.)

The issue rests on how the logo image is embedded in your signature. Here’s how to do that the right way:

(Update: this process has been tested and works on Apple Mail 9.3. Note the change in procedure below)

1. Open your Mail application.

2. In the menu go to Mail —– > Preferences ——- > Signatures.

3. Select the email account for which you want to assign this new signature.

4. Create a new signature and assign it to the email account you wish to use. **This is an important step. Don’t skip it. You can leave the contents of the signature blank, but you must have this file created and associated with an account in order for the next steps to work. Each signature you create is stored as a separate .mailsignature file (we will get into how to edit this file in a minute.)

5. Close Mail.

go_to_library

Fig 1

6. Next we will need to locate the signature file you just created. This will take some drilling down through your computer. You need to go to the folder named Library. Here is the fast way to get there: From Finder, click GO (appears in the top menu when Finder is active). When you’ve clicked GO then hold down the Option Key. You should notice Library appear in the list. See Fig 1.

 

7. Now drill baby drill: Library ——– > Mail  —— > V2  ———> Maildata —– > Signatures

(Update 5-21-16: The folder changed from V2 to V3 so the proper path is

Library ——– > Mail  —— > V3  ———> Maildata —– > Signatures)

8. Sort the list view by Date. This will show  you the last signature file you created, which should be your placeholder from earlier. This will be a .mailsignature file. (See Fig 2 at the bottom of this post.)

9. Open this file using BBEdit or TextWrangler. Once you get this file opened, just leave it open for now.

10. Now we have to get into a little HTML code. You can download my example.

Example Signature File

*When you view the source of the sample file you will notice the trick with the logo that makes this whole thing work. The logo is actually being called from our server. This was a file I posted. You’ll need to locate a public server to host your own logo in order for this to work. You can get more elaborate with the HTML if you want. How much you want to tinker is up to you. Here is another example you might use.

11. Save the sample signature to your desktop. If you’re using my example, the file name should be example_signature_file.html.

12. Open Safari. This is how you’ll preview what this file looks like. Open the signature file from inside of Safari. Note: when you make edits to the file’s source, you can continue to preview the file from Safari. This is pretty standard if you do any sort of HTML editing.

13. Go into your text editor (BBEdit or TextWrangler) where you have your placeholder file open. That’s the last file you created in Mail with the extension .mailsignature.  (note, if you can’s see file extensions in your Finder, you’ll need to update that preference. See how here.)

14. ALSO open example_signature_file.html in BBEdit or TextWrangler. You will have BOTH of these files open.

15. Cut and paste your final HTML out of the .html file into the .mailsignature file. Make sure you don’t delete the header information in the .mailsignature file.

16. Save the newly edited .mailsignature file.

mail_signature_folder

Fig 2

17. Next LOCK the file. You do this by right-mouse clicking on the file, then click Get Info. Check the box next to Locked. You can also view a file’s info by holding down Command on the keyboard, and at the same time pressing I. (Command+I). See Fig 2

18. Reboot your Mail program.

19. Create a new message. If you’ve assigned the signature properly, the new one should show up. Good to note, that the inline image will appear as a broken image when you’re inside of Mail–>Preferences –> Signatures. You’ll need to create a new email to see the logo.

20. Send your email to someone, or another of your email accounts and confirm that the logo appears, and that the email itself does not appear like it has an attachment.

That’s it. It might be 20 steps, but it’s one big leap towards improving your digital image.

  • Anthony Tellier

    Help?

    I have several Macs … all with all current software
    ·
    One, a “13 MacBook”, has 264 mail signatures
    ·
    Most (now) are in “.webarchive” format – a legacy
    from previous “mail” / “OS”?
    ·
    I dragged/drug them to a transfer “stick” and
    placed that is (usual) Library ——– > Mail —— >
    V2 ———> Maildata —– > Signatures location on the “24 iMac”
    ·
    Of course they are still in the “.webarchive”
    format.
    ·
    Some newly-minted on the “24 iMac” are in the “.mailsignature”
    format.

    ·
    THOSE do appear in the “Mail preferences” slot
    for “signatures”, i.e., are “available” for use on the “24 iMac”.
    ·

    (NOTE 1: I opened several “.webarchive” files in “Safari”
    and cut-n-pasted them into the new signatures window on “mail” … works, as
    expected … made/saved them as “.mailsignature” files.
    ·
    I took THOSE “.mailsignature” files – 53-count –
    and put them on the memory device then plugged THAT into the “13 MacBook”.
    ·
    Dragged them (i.e., “.mailsignature” files) to
    the Library ——– > Mail —— > V2 ———>
    Maildata —– > Signatures location on the “13 MacBook”.
    ·
    THOSE are NOT visible on the “13 MacBook”
    “mail” signatures preference slot. As I expected …

    ·
    Why so?
    ·
    Why is changing from “.webarchive” to “.mailsignature”
    such a royal PITA (impossible/impractical/necessary/magic/time-consuming/irritating
    …. etc., etc.)

    NOTE 2: The signatures are simple text files.

    NOTE 3: Yes, I “repaired” preferences in “Disc/Disk Utility”
    … no errors, no change.

    NOTE 4: I have two OTHER Macs that I wish to bring up to “unity”:
    a 21.5 iMac & an 11 MacBook Air.

    Tony

    • scotteallen

      Tony,

      I appreciate how well you articulated the problem. So often the mere characterization of an issue across text can be baffling…however yours was refreshing.

      Enough with the pleasantries. Let’s get cracking. 🙂

      I wonder if the following URL helps to solve your problem? http://www.macworld.com/article/2027795/how-to-synchronize-email-signatures.html

      • Anthony Tellier

        Kudos, plaudits, Laurels (& Hardys) for that site-link to prompt me to set/link/active “iCloud” twixt the iMac and the MacBook .. “hidden” (inop) signatures that were hand-transferred from the iMac to the MacBook are now “active” …

        The NEXT enigmatic step is how to re-format “.webarchive” signatures into “.mailsignature” format … “Googling” suggests: NFW, Jose (easily).

        Thx for the bump=start.

        TT

  • Fran Varona

    Hi.

    Thanks a lot for your detailed description.

    Doesn’t it happen to you, that when you send an e-mail (with that new signature) with an actual attachment (say, a PDF file), then the receiver gets it with the image in the signature also as an attachment? Normal e-mails (without attachments) work OK, but if you send an attachment, then the image in logo gets received as an attachment.

    Regards,

    • scotteallen

      Not sure. Can you share a screen grab with me?

  • Natasha

    Just the article/tutorial I have been looking for, millions of thanks for sharing your insights!
    I am very much a novice computer user, so please bear with my rather rudimentary issue…It probably won’t be as eloquent as Anthony’s but here goes. When following step 6 (not even to the meat of the tutorial), I click GO and option but no ‘Library’ folder appears. When I search with the finder I only come up with a Library folder in MS Office, which I am thinking is not the correct one. Any ideas?

    • scotteallen

      Hi Natasha! What a beautiful name! Thank you for the nice note. Try holding down the Option key on your keyboard, and hold it, while you’re also clicking on Go. Or you can click Go, and then hold down the Option key. You should notice the Library item appear in your menu. 🙂

  • Jack

    Scott, Thanks for providing the step-by-step instructions for us! Looks very professional—eliminated those amateur-looking logo attachments to my e-mails! Jack

    • scotteallen

      you bet, Jack. Glad it worked out. 🙂

  • brent

    Open safari? Safari??

    • scotteallen

      Sorry, Brent…. I wrote these instructions for Mac users. Have you figured it out on the PC?

      • jack

        HELP ME PLS!!*** Hey Scott/anyone that is willing to help… I’m not a computer whiz at all but I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve found the file but i just don’t know what to open it with as i don’t have the two applications/programs (whatever they’re properly called) that were mentioned in the initial instructions from scott….can anyone help? I’m using a mac (OS x Yosemite 10.10.5)…thanks in advance!

  • Lauren

    Hi Brent, am totally impressed with this post – this does my head in & was EXACTLY what I was looking for… almost! 🙂 Are you aware of how to do the same w/ a windows-based PC? Are you able to divulge this knowledge, please?

  • Mike

    I’m curious if anyone has tried this recently… I’m running the most up to date version of Yosemite and in Library… I’m unable to find a folder inside the Library folder named Mail.

    Any insight would be much appreciated!

    • Tanmay Baste

      Search for “mail” in finder and click on a file you know is from mail, and then click on “Show in enclosed folder”. Then just scroll horizontally to the maildata folder and follow what’s written in the above article. 🙂
      Hope that helps.

  • susan

    Thank you for all of the above information. But this is ridiculous. I have worked with my tech guy for several hours and my signature logo appears fine when I send an email from Apple Mail, but if I send an attachment, the logo also appears as an attachment. This doesn’t happen under the same circumstances when my colleagues send an email from Outlook on their PCs. Unfortunately another app my company uses only works on the Mac with Apple Mail. I am so frustrated! We have gone in and done the things like put attachment only at end, etc.

  • Steve Sowrey

    Awesome article, Scott. Still works like a charm years later and with Apple Mail 6.6. You rock!

  • Tyler Christofferson

    Great Post, it helped me a lot even though I’m using windows at work (I’d rather have a Mac…). My ONLY issue is that it still shows the “paperclip” like there is an attachment when I check on my Iphone, but not when I check on my computer. Any ideas?

  • tara

    I got stuck at step 7. Could not find a ‘Signatures’ folder within mail… any ideas?

    • David Townsend

      The location may depend on what OSX version you’re using. I’m on 10.8.5 and the instructions were exactly where it was located. Did you find the “Library” folder?

  • David Townsend

    15. Cut and paste your final HTML out of the .html file into the .mailsignature file. Make sure you don’t delete the header information in the .mailsignature file……WHERE in all the html code do you paste it???

    • Sarah Elizabeth Telcocci

      I had a hard time with that too.
      You leave all this stuff (including the line with nothing), then paste the link to you image below, like so:
      Content-Transfer-Encoding: 7bit
      Content-Type: text/html;
      charset=us-ascii
      Message-Id:
      Mime-Version: 1.0 (Mac OS X Mail 8.2 (2102))

      Of course, your post was a couple of months ago… but maybe this can help someone else! 🙂

      • Jamie

        thanks Sarah, helped me!

  • Nick

    step 1 throw mac at wall
    step 2 buy a proper PC (windows)

    • ReformedConservative

      step 3 – get tons of malware
      step 4 – realize linux is vastly superior

      • Everyone

        NERD FIGHT!!!

  • Douglas Zickuhr

    I’ve to admit. It’s a little bit more complex than I guess that it must be, but your article works like a charm. Thank you.

    • scotteallen

      Douglas, I added a video at the bottom of this post. Also found a correction that needed to be made. I think that the video simplifies things. Love to get your opinion. Have a great day!

      • Douglas Zickuhr

        Thanks Scott. 🙂

  • Still my go to solution in 2016, gold

    • scotteallen

      Awesome!

  • Kim Liebich

    SO struggling… hoping someone has the answer? Running OS X El capitan version 10.11.3… and apple mail version 9.2 (3112) I’ve done the deep dig and can’t find any sort of .mailsignature … pretty please. Attachment look is a huge pet peeve. Thanks so much! =)

    • scotteallen

      Kim, were you able to resolve this issue? Honestly I did the upgrade to El Cap but haven’t moved an image-laden sig file.

      • Kim Liebich

        Hi Scott – I did not. Would love some thoughts.

        • Kim Liebich

          It’s encouraging that we might find an answer. =)

          • scotteallen

            Kim, try this. Rather than going: Library ——– > Mail —— > V2 ———> Maildata —– > Signatures, you should go here: Library ——– > Mail —— > V3 ———> Maildata —– > Signatures (Notice folder V2 changed to V3) Also, I just added a video walkthrough at the bottom of this post. Hope this helps!

    • Luisa Vidales

      I can’t find a .mailsignature file either, just some that have .plist.
      I’m running OS X El Capitan too, so maybe that’s it….

  • Luisa Vidales

    Scott? I hope you still check this, because I’m having trouble. I’ve downloaded your example like 4 times, and it doesn’t appear in code in TextEdit. What am I doing wrong? I’m stuck on this step. Help!!! (Other than that, the tutorial is very detailed and very VERY helpful. Thanks 🙂 )

    • scotteallen

      Hi Luisa, were you able to solve the issue with this?

      • Luisa Vidales

        No 🙁 I mean, I could solve my original problem, which was that I couldn’t see your example in TextEdit (I’ve downloaded TextWrangler now, like you said in the article). But now my problem is that there isn’t a .mailsignature file, even though I’ve created a new signature!
        I’ve attached a screenshot of the file endings I found instead of .mailsignature.

        • scotteallen

          Hi Luisa, I ran through the procedure from scratch this morning. I noticed that the path I listed out for getting to the signature file changed. So rather than going: Library ——– > Mail —— > V2 ———> Maildata —– > Signatures, you should go here: Library ——– > Mail —— > V3 ———> Maildata —– > Signatures (Notice folder V2 changed to V3). While I was running through this I got the idea to cut a video. I’ve posted that to the bottom of this post. Hope this is the solution. 🙂

          • Luisa Vidales

            Thank you so, so much, Scott! 🙂 That was very helpful.

  • scotteallen

    Hi everyone! It’s great to see all of your comments. Awesome to see others helping out too. Even today I still get email that shows the logo as an attachment. (sigh) Help spread the word. #sigsnotdocs

  • Joel Zieve

    Scott, this is an awesome tip and has worked great for me. Up until 2 days ago that is. At that point, on all 3 of my Macs (iMac, Mac Mini, Macbook White), all running the latest OS:

    With this in my signature, the email appears to send, but it never reaches the recipient. It took me a hours to figure out that all I had to do was remove the image from the signature and the email would send/arrive successfully.

    To make things more weird, if I place a link anywhere in the email that links to a PNG or JPG file anywhere on the web, the email also does not get received.

    Any idea might be going on? Anyone else seeing this?

    Thanks!

    • scotteallen

      Joel, I was reading this thinking it’s totally weird. Maybe a file corruption. But then I re-read your note. Links in email can be considered a security risk by some systems. I’m assuming the email leaves your system? Maybe there is a security setting on your end that got changed a few days back? Have you tried sending this email to a gmail account or something like that?

      • Joel Zieve

        Scott, thanks for looking at this. I have been doing MANY tests to my gmail account (from my non-gmail account). At this point I’ve concluded it’s an issue with my email/web provider (Hostgator). I called them, the 1st level tech couldn’t figure it out (sees the email hitting their severs) and is sending it to 2nd level support. So time will tell.

        • scotteallen

          That’s interesting. Do you have a different SMPT server you throw your outbound email at? Even temporarily, might help narrow the possibilities.

          • Joel Zieve

            Dude, great call! Changing the outgoing SMPT server to Google makes it work again! I’ve updated my Hostgater ticket – thank you so much!

          • scotteallen

            NICE!

  • Latis Gill Phichitsingh

    I have done all of this and my “signature” appears but my logo appears as a blue question mark. What am I doing wrong?

    • scotteallen

      Hello Latis,
      Try to copy and paste just the image URL from your bit of html code into a browser. See if the image comes up properly. This will confirm that the syntax for the image url is correct. It sounds like you might have a small code typo in there somewhere.

      • Latis Gill Phichitsingh

        I did it 🙂 I have a beautiful email signature with linked social media icons and the works.
        Thanks

        • scotteallen

          Right On!! Way to go. Glad you got it. 🙂

      • Daniel

        Hi Scott, I tried this and still get the blue questions mark. The URL is file:///Users/ etc etc. say help appreciated. Thanks

  • Brittany Clark

    How do I open/preview the signature in safari as I am editing?

    • scotteallen

      Hi Brittany,
      There are two ways you can do this:
      1. Once you open Safari, using the tool bar at the top of the screen, go to File–> Open. Then select the .html file you wish to preview. The alternate way to do this (how I do it). Find in your Finder the .html file that you want to open, then right-mouse click on that file. Select Safari to open it. Love to know if this helps. Thanks for dropping by!

  • gigs b

    Hello Scott,
    Thank you for sharing your knowledge on this topic.
    I created a banner in illustrator, saved it as a png and got as far as step 9.
    When I opened the .mailsignature file in Text Wrangler, it resembled over 100 lines of illegible full line, full page book text.
    I’m stuck in a treacle pit.
    Is there a more functional approach to creating and file-saving the banner?
    Thx,
    g

    • scotteallen

      Hi G, not 100% sure about an answer to your question. Did you happen to watch the video at the bottom of the post?

      • gigs b

        I sure did.
        What software did you use to create your graphic and what file type did you save it as.
        That may help.
        Thanks.

  • Tracy Francis

    Hello Scott. I’ve just moved to a Mac after 3 decades of Windows and MS Outlook and loving it! Now on EC and using Apple Mail. Hoping you may be able to solve this one. I don’t care about my own signature, what I care about is what you talk about at the beginning of your introduction (which gave me great hope that I’d found the right article) – in that, the emails I RECEIVE all look like they have attachments when they don’t, or worse still, when they do include 1 attachment that I need, but it is showing as 12 attachments because of a ridiculous number of images in their signature. Is there any way for Apple Mail to differentiate between that which is in an email signature and that which is a purposeful attachment when I get it. My old Windows/Outlook did not treat signature images this way at all. I can’t stand seeing the paperclip for emails with signatures – then I’m also in danger of ignoring a paperclip that actually DOES have an attachment that I need and I miss it!!! Yours hopefully…..

    • scotteallen

      Hello Tracy,
      Have you tried to organize your incoming email by Conversation? I’m curious to know how this impacts the outcome. Go to Mail –> View –> Organize by Conversation. (See attached screen shot). If this is not helpful, can you post a screen shot that gives us a better idea? Thanks!

  • Michael

    I’m using MAC OS Sierra with Mail Client. Does anyone know the best way to host an image on a web-server to use on a HTML Signature?

    • scotteallen

      Michael, I haven’t started running Sierra just yet. Is the Mail Client very different from what’s outlined in my article?

  • Lex

    Hi! Any updates for Mac version 10 software? V4 is out, and it seems that this code doesn’t work anymore.

    • scotteallen

      Let me look at it.

    • scotteallen

      I’m running Sierra 10.12.1 and Mail 10.1.

  • ckdestef

    Wow! Worked first time through!!! Thanks so much. No I just need to help the rest of the staff implement it on PC Outlook (I’m the only mac user). Any ideas?

    • Limor Farber

      Im having this same issue with other staff who are on pc. My signature works great when it sent to another Mac, but for some reason people on PCs are not able to view the hosted images. I’m curious if anyone else had this problem and how anyone got this to work.

  • Jorge

    Hello Scott, thank you for such useful article. It was good for me until the 20th step! Although I can see my image in my signature as I am composing, when I test the signature by sending and email, the receiving email does not show the image but a box. All the other text in the signature is shown correctly. Do you have any clue of the reason this could be happening to me? Thank you in advance.

    • scotteallen

      Hello Jorge, based on your question, I’m focusing first on the recipient’s email client. Have you tried this on just on the one client? You know how some clients automatically block incoming images (especially in offices)? I’d double check that’s not happening. Another thing to confirm, copy the URL to your image (out of the signature) and paste that into a fresh browser window. Confirm that the logo does appear. Might sound redundant since the logo (hosted image) is appearing when you’re composing, but worth confirming. Love to hear back from you on your progress…

      • Jorge

        Hello Scott, after trying to access the URL of mi img from different devices, we realized something in our firewall settings was not letting the file to leave the client. I have solved it now and now I have a nice signature. Thank you for your reply and your interest. Warm regards.

        • scotteallen

          Nice!

  • Hannah Lux Davis

    Hi Scott, I’m running on mac osSierra 10.12.6 and I am stuck right way – I don’t have a Mail folder within the Library folder… so I can’t even get to the V3 or mail data or any of that. Help 🙂

  • Gerald

    You can also use CampaignDot wich is a powerfull WordPress plugin, totally free that creates email signatures for users, creates a vcard and allow to add a marketing banner to the signature.

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