Note: Sigtastic currently does not work on Lion. I am working on an update. Stay tuned…
In the first episode of my MacTech Webcast, I reviewed a bunch of tips and tricks for managing email and newsletters. The tip on how to create beautiful HTML signatures within Mail.app spurred a lot of hype and comments. The process is rather complicated and can be boiled down to 2 main steps.
- You need to be able to code and design your signature in HTML & CSS.
- You need to follow a confusing set of steps in order to take your developed HTML file and turn it into signature within Mail.app
Today I am releasing a great new utility called Sigtastic that helps automate the complicated process of turning your HTML files into Mail.app signatures! (Step 2 above.) All you need to do is supply an HTML file to Sigtastic and it will take care of everything for you! Here is what Sigtastic will do for you…
- Ability to create signatures from the following file types: HTML, TXT, RTF, RTFD, DOC, DOCX and WEBARCHIVE.
- While Sigtastic support importing of txt, rtf, rtfd and doc files, to be honest, it’s probably easier to create those directly in Mail.app Signature settings. Or you can create then in your app of choice and simply copy and paste them into Mail.app. Where Sigtastic shines is with importing HTML, in which Mail.app does not support at all.
- While RTFD documents can contain images, for some reason yet unknown, Mail.app will not recognize them when imported via Sigtastic. Its recommended that you simply copy/paste your images directly into the Mail.app signature editor
- Specify a desired name for your email signature.
- Backs up current signature files before any modifications are made. Better to be safe than sorry! :-)
- Backup Location: ~/Library/Mail/SigtasticBackups
- Restart Mail.app so you can start using your cool new signatures.
Sictastic is available for FREE from the Sigtastic Product Page.
Some Help with Creating HTML Signatures
Sigtastic won’t help you create your HTML signatures (at least for now). However, you can use your favorite HTML editor to create them. My weapon of choice lately has been Coda from Panic Software. However, you could simply use TextEdit with ships with every Mac or any number of the great 3rd party editors that are out there.
Now I am not going to even try to teach you HTML in this post! However, I will do the next best thing… give you 5 different email signatures that I have created and used over the years. You can download them here. As you will see, most of the signatures have a similar formats. I encourage you to customize them and make it your own. Here is a glimpse of the email signature that I am using today…
Time to get a little geeky…. Obviously I have learned some things over the years. For example, the last signature file in the sample download is built using tables instead of divs. This is a better layout for having a consistent look across all email programs: MS Outlook, Mail.app, iPhone Mail, etc. Here are a few more tips…
- Stay away from floating divs.
- Use HTML tables when you need to create more complex structures.
- Do not try to load external CSS files. Define all CSS inside the HTML.
- Do not use the style tag to store CSS. Do everything inline.
- Store your images that are used in the signature on a central place online. I personally think that Dropbox is a perfect place for this!
- Make sure that your signature will look nice even when images are not loaded. Many email clients will not download images by default.
- Use the awesome Premailer Web Service to help format your HTML so that it looks the best in all email clients. If you use this site, you can forget everything that I said about only using inline styles (at least for development). Simply paste your code into Premailer and it will calculate all the styles and make everything inline for you!!! How cool is that. Is also has some other cool features that you should check out…
Well thats a wrap for now! I hope you find my tutorials and sample signatures helpful! Now go forth and make your emails great… enjoy Sigtastic!