Mac Mavericks Email Signatures

   Apple seems to change their signature system just a bit with each new version of their system software, and Mavericks was no exception. I’ve been meaning to update my signature ever since New Media for Designers + Builders came out, and am finally doing it today. Here’s what I discovered:


   As before, I use Komodo Edit because it’s simple, powerful, and free. And it lets you preview the finished product just below the code. So the first step is to edit the .html signature files. Make sure that your HTML is simple, and doesn’t include any html, head, or body tags. Here’s a good tutorial that has additional information you might find useful.

   Please note that signatures once had to be converted to .webarchive files, but those aren’t used anymore, so if you have both .html and .webarchive versions of your signatures and are now running on Mavericks, you can archive (or trash) the .webarchive files.

Create New Signature

   Unlike previous versions of Mail, you can now do all of these steps with Mail open. In other words, you don’t have to quit Mail after creating a signature to make everything work. To create a signature, open Mail Preferences, click the Signatures tab and click the “+" button. This makes a new signature. Name it something meaningful. The one I’m replacing now is my New Urban Guild signature, which is named NUG. So I’m naming the new one “NUG new”. Once you’ve created it, you’ve gotta click out of it before Mail actually creates it. To do this, just click on any of the other signatures in the list so Mail knows you’re done editing the name.

Find Signatures

   Open a new Finder window, hold down the Option key, and select G0>Library from the menu. If you don’t hold down the Option key, you can’t see the library. This protects your Library a bit from those that are less tech-savvy.

   Now, go to System Preferences>iCloud and see if Mail is checked.

   If it is, go back to your library and navigate to Library>Mobile Documents>com-apple-mail>Data>MailData>Signatures.

   If it’s not, go back to your library and navigate to Library>Mail>V2>MailData>Signatures.

   In either case, you’re looking for the signature you just created a minute ago. Look for the .mailsignature file that is most recently modified. It’s also really small… the one I just created is 597 bytes. Open this signature in Komodo Edit by dragging it to Komodo Edit in your dock.

Copy Signature HTML

   Go to your .html signature file and copy all of the HTML. Go back to the .mailsignature file, where you should see something like this:

   Keep everything above the empty line (line 6) but delete what’s on the next line (line 7) and replace it with your HTML. Save the .mailsignature file, then close it.

Place New Signature

   Go back to Mail>Preferences>Signatures. As you’ve already noticed, the left pane has buttons for “All Signatures”, then one for each of your email accounts. The middle pane has the signatures included in whichever button you’ve clicked in the left pane. And the right pane is a preview of the signature you’ve selected in the middle pane.

   Click on your new signature in the middle pane. As you’ll see in the right pane, any hosted graphics will be empty rectangles with a little question mark in a blue box, but the text should all look like what you want. Click on the accounts in your left pane to see where all the old version of the signature you’ve just created is being used. Drag the new version of the signature onto these account buttons. Once you’re sure you have the new signature everywhere it belongs, you can delete the old one by clicking it in the middle pane and clicking the “-“ button at the bottom.

Rename Signatures

   Once you’ve done every signature, you’ll want to go back and rename them. In my case, I used “NUG new” to distinguish from the old “NUG” signature. So I’ll go back and rename “NUG new” to just plain “NUG”. Just don’t do it until you’ve done all your signatures, or you might miss one.

© 2012 The Guild Foundation Press