Back to using Gmail’s own rich-text email signatures

Being a loyal Gmail user for years, I’ve come to accept and make do with the few shortcomings it had. One of the most elementary is the lack of support for rich-text email signatures back then.

But as social networking sites become more popular, the urge to promote our various profiles became stronger. One of the most powerful and effective means of doing it is via our email signatures. Gmail didn’t supported it back then so hooks, hacks, Greasemonkey scripts, browser plugins, and even using canned responses from Gmail Labs were quick fixes.

One of the best solutions out there is WiseStamp Email Signatures. It provides extensions for most popular browsers that allows us to insert our own fancy email signatures to every email we send. It’s core strength is the ability to include icons representing popular social networking sites with a link to each of our respective profiles, RSS feed, IM services and more.

It can even provide custom email signatures tailored for personal or business email accounts. So after being reminded by Jaypee that I had installed the WiseStamp extension for Chrome last April, I had been using it to append my customized and cool email signature up until today.

Why until today? I have disabled the WiseStamp extension on my Chrome browser and have stopped using it. Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed using it but the minimalist inside me was awakened when the Gmail team had finally enabled rich-text signatures for Gmail last month. On top of that, it also supports a specific email signature for each email address associated with my Gmail account.

Gmail-Rich-text-email-signature
Hand-crafting email signatures was fun and easy

So having the WiseStamp extension was a redundancy. This was also the opportunity to remove one extension and make Chrome a little lighter as my experience from Firefox had shown that the less plugins and extensions a browser had, the lighter and faster it performed.

Though using Gmail’s built-in rich-text signature meant more manual work for me to retain the email signature I was able to perfect easily using WiseStamp, it took me less than 20 minutes to hand-craft a unique email signature for the five most-used email addresses associated with my Gmail account.

Gmail-Rich-text-email-signature-2
Same fancy email signature made right inside Gmail. (Click for larger view)

The mini social networking icons I used came from a pack provided by Komodo Media and designed by Rogie King, all are for free and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.

These are hosted in my blog’s media folder which I’ve setup to be offloaded to an Amazon S3 bucket, so in case something bad happens to my blog, the images would still be served. (Yes, I’m now offloading my blog’s images to Amazon S3 and I’m going to tell you all about it real soon! :D)

Now, I’m more confident that the email signatures on every email I send would still be unique and fancy. Chrome runs much faster and I have one less extension to worry about from now on.

I’m not saying that you dump WiseStamp and use Gmail’s own rich-text signature feature instead, this is just a personal decision of mine and I leave it up to you to follow suit or not. I just felt like sharing this story with each of you.

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3 thoughts on “Back to using Gmail’s own rich-text email signatures

  1. There should also be an option to put images in an email signature. Although my simple workaround is that I have saved my signature as a draft and whenever I compose a message I just copy paste the signature to the newly created message. A bit tedious but it works!!

  2. Been using Gmails HTML signatures the day it came out. I'm glad they did this, and I wonder why it took so long for them to do this.

    Also, do tell us about Amazon S3! I've been hosting my images either on imgur, Tumblr, or Picasa live albums (via WLW), but I've been looking for a more elegant solution for offsite image hosting.

    • Actually, I had to wait for a little longer for the rich-text signatures to be rolled out to Google Apps users like me before I was able to stop using WiseStamp. I think it wasn't a feature that Gmail started with for security concerns, like HTML signature in emails could be used for walware attacks and others.

      But it still boggles the mind why Google took so long to finally implement it.

      I knew you'd be asking about the Amazon S3 + WordPress setup and during the process of putting it together, it struck me that it could be a great help for your hosting needs. I'm currently working on the draft, will publish it real soon.

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