How to Create a Professional Signature in Microsoft Word for Outlook

Image: mizar_21984 / Adobe Stock.

It’s important to have a professional-looking signature in your business email. Microsoft Word offers a template gallery with 20 signatures that you can choose from and then edit to create your own. I’ll show you how to access this Word gallery template and then create your own signature.

I’m using Microsoft 365 on a 64-bit Windows 10 system, but you can use an older version. For your convenience, you can download the demo .docx and .doc files. Word for the web supports almost everything in this article.

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How to get started with a template in Word

You can create your own design, but there are so many great templates available that you don’t have to. Start with the one you like and modify it. To use a template in Word:

  1. Click the File menu and choose New from the left pane.
  2. In the search control, enter Signature Template and click the magnifying glass icon or press Enter.
  3. In the results, choose Email Signature Gallery — it’s first in my results (Figure A).
  4. Click Create. Word then downloads the file to your local system.

Figure A

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. This template contains 20 signatures to choose from.

With the template open, review the 20 signature options and choose one. Just select it and press Ctrl + C to copy it to the clipboard. Open a new blank Word document and press Ctrl+V to paste it. I chose the first option (Figure B).

Figure B

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Copy a signature template into a Word document.

Once you’ve inserted a template into a Word document, you’re ready to start making changes.

How to Edit Template Content in Word

I recommend starting with a template as the work is mostly done for you. All you have to do is change the text.

The first thing to note is that the information is in a table: that’s one of the reasons it’s so easy to edit. Then note the two icons at the top (Figure B). The one on the left allows you to select the entire table; the one above the vertical line allows you to change the size of the columns.

To enable borders, select the table and do the following:

  1. On the mini toolbar, click Borders.
  2. In the resulting drop-down list, choose All Borders (Figure C).

Figure C

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Choose All Borders.

Look next to the pattern and table borders (Figure D). Displaying borders will help you refine the model. There are only two columns and one row. I deliberately chose a simple model, but some models are more elaborate.

Figure D

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. It is easier to edit content with the borders displayed.

First, edit the information. I’m only going to change a few things, but you’ll want to update everything.

To change the name, just select it and start typing yours. If you’re familiar with Word, you know how to do this: Select and overwrite all the template information.

Once you’ve updated the content, you can start changing the formatting, if needed. You shouldn’t need to make too many changes, but you can edit almost everything in the template.

For example, to change the name color to green, select it, click the Font Color drop-down menu in the Font group, and choose green. With Live Preview, you can hover over a color and see it in real time (Figure E).

To change the font or font size, select the name and choose settings from the Font and Font Size options in the Font group. To quickly change the Phone, Mobile, Web, and Email labels to green, double-click to select one, hold down the Ctrl key, and then double-click the others, one at a time. Then change the font color for each of them at once.

Figure E

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Change the font color.

If you are not subscribed to one or more of the social media platforms represented by the icons at the bottom, remove the appropriate icons. You can also add more and change the column width of either column, just like you would in any other Word table: click on a border and drag it. This comes in handy when your content wraps – you can increase the width to remove the wrapping.

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How to Edit Template Graphics in Word

Changing the image is child’s play! Right-click the image and choose Edit Image from the resulting submenu. Then select the location of the image – probably your local system or device, This device. I chose From Stock Images because I don’t have a current professional photo of myself and don’t want to look 30.

Word has changed the shape of the image, but that’s easy to fix:

  1. Select the picture.
  2. Click the Picture Format contextual tab.
  3. In the Size group, click Crop, and then choose Crop to Shape.
  4. From the resulting submenu, select a shape – I chose Oval (Figure F).

Figure F

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Crop to shape is a quick way to change the shape of the image.

The image is now round (G-figure). If you want to crop the image, you can always do so using Crop. There are a number of predefined styles in the Image Styles group. Just click on the Quick Styles drop-down menu for a quick review. The image has a beige border; use the Image Border option in the same group to add a border.


Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Change the square image to a circle or another shape.

You might think, at this point, that there isn’t much else to change. Did you notice that some of the signature templates in the downloaded gallery document had colored backgrounds? It’s an easy change to make. With the entire table selected, select a color from the Shading drop-down list in the Paragraph group (H-figure).


Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. You can even add a background color.

Unfortunately, the background now exposes a white outline around the social media icons. In this case, you cannot remove the borders, nor can you remove them using Word’s Remove Background tool.

Once you’ve made changes and are happy with the signature, there’s one more step you need to take before you can copy it to Outlook. To remove borders, select the entire table and choose No Border from the Borders drop-down list in the Paragraph group. You are now ready to add it to Outlook (I figure).

I figure

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Remove the borders when you’re done.

How to add signature to Outlook

Although we created the signature in Word, you want to use it in Outlook. In Word, select the entire table and press Ctrl+C to copy it to the clipboard. In Outlook, follow these steps:

  1. Open a new email.
  2. In the Include group, click the Signatures drop-down menu and choose Signatures.
  3. In the resulting dialog box, click New under the Select email to edit option list. You may already have signatures, or you may not have any.
  4. Enter the name, HomeBaseCommander, and click OK (Figure J).
  5. Click in the bottom pane and press Ctrl+V to copy the signature from the clipboard (Figure K). Click OK.

Figure J

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Give the signature a meaningful name.

Figure K

Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Paste the signature you created in Word into Outlook.

To use the signature, open a new email. Outlook automatically adds the signature to each new email (L-digit). If you don’t want it, select it and delete it.


Image: Susan Harkins/TechRepublic. Outlook adds the new signature to your email.

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