Organization-wide disclaimers, signatures, footers, or headers in Exchange Server

You can add an email disclaimer, legal disclaimer, disclosure statement, signature, or other information to the top or bottom of email messages that enter or leave your organization. You might be required to do this for legal, business, or regulatory requirements, to identify potentially unsafe email messages, or for other reasons that are unique to your organization.

To create a disclaimer, you create a mail flow rule (also known as transport rule) with an action that adds the specified text to email messages. You can configure the rule to apply the disclaimer to all messages (no conditions), or you can define conditions that determine when the disclaimer is added (for example, when the sender is a member of a specific group, when the message includes specific words or text patterns, or outgoing messages only). You can also define exceptions that prevent the disclaimer from being added to messages (for example, messages from specific senders, messages sent to specific recipients, or messages that already contain the disclaimer). To apply multiple disclaimers to the same message, you need to use multiple rules. For more information about mail flow rules, see Mail flow rules in Exchange Server.

Looking for procedures? See Procedures for mail flow rules in Exchange Server.


Note: The examples in this topic are not intended for use as-is. Modify them for your needs.

Type Sample text added
Legal - outgoing messages This email and any files transmitted with it are confidential and intended solely for the use of the individual or entity to whom they are addressed. If you have received this email in error, please notify the system manager.
Legal - incoming messages Employees are expressly required not to make defamatory statements and not to infringe or authorize any infringement of copyright or any other legal right by email communications. Employees who receive such an email must notify their supervisor immediately.
Notice that message was sent to an alias This message was sent to the Sales discussion group.
Signature - uses unique data for each employee Kathleen Mayer
Sales Department
cell: 111-222-1234
Advertisement Click here for March specials

Location for your disclaimer

You can choose whether to insert the disclaimer at the beginning of the message (prepend), or at the end of the message (append).

In the EAC, you select the action Append the disclaimer or Apply a disclaimer to the message > prepend a disclaimer.

In the Exchange Management Shell, you use the ApplyHtmlDisclaimerTextLocation parameter with the value Append (default) or Prepend.

Format your disclaimer

Here's the formatting that you can use in your disclaimer text.

Type of information Description
Plain text The maximum length is 5,000 characters, including any HTML tags and inline Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
HTML and inline CSS You can use HTML and inline CSS styles to format the text. For example, use the <HR> tag to add a line before the disclaimer.
HTML is ignored if the disclaimer is added to a plain text message.
Images Use the <IMG> tag to point to an image available on the Internet. For example, <IMG src="" alt="Contoso logo">.
By default, Outlook and Outlook on the web (formerly known as Outlook Web App) block external web content, including images. Users need to acknowledge and download the blocked external content. We recommend that you test disclaimers that have IMG tags to verify they display the way you want.
User information for personalized signatures You can use tokens to add unique attributes from each user's Active Directory account, such as DisplayName, FirstName, LastName, PhoneNumber, Email, FaxNumber, and Department. The syntax is to enclose the attribute name in two percent signs (for example, %%DisplayName%%).
For a complete list of attributes that can be used in disclaimers and personalized signatures, see the description for the ADAttribute property in Mail flow rule conditions and exceptions (predicates) in Exchange Server.

Here's an example of an HTML disclaimer that includes a signature, an IMG tag, and embedded CSS.

<div style="font-size:9pt;  font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif;">
%%city%%, %%state%% %%zipcode%%</div>
<div style="background-color:#D5EAFF; border:1px dotted #003333; padding:.8em; ">
<div><img alt="Fabrikam"  src=""></div>
<span style="font-size:12pt;  font-family: 'Cambria','times new roman','garamond',serif; color:#ff0000;">HTML Disclaimer Title</span><br/>
<p style="font-size:8pt; line-height:10pt; font-family: 'Cambria','times roman',serif;">This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual(s) addressed in the message. If you aren't the named addressee, you should not disseminate, distribute, or copy this e-mail. If you aren't the intended recipient, you aren'tified that disclosing, distributing, or copying this e-mail is strictly prohibited.  </p>
<span style="padding-top:10px; font-weight:bold; color:#CC0000; font-size:10pt; font-family: 'Calibri',Arial,sans-serif; "><a href="">Fabrikam, Inc. </a></span><br/><br/>

Fallback options for disclaimer rules

Exchange can't modify the content of some messages (for example, encrypted messages). For rules that add disclaimers to messages, you need to specify what to do if the disclaimer can't be added. This contingency is known as the fallback option for the disclaimer rule. The available fallback options are:

  • Wrap: A new message is created and the original message is added to it as an attachment. The disclaimer text is added to the new message, which is delivered to the recipients. This is the default value.

    • Subsequent mail flow rules that examine message properties (for example, the message subject or text in the message body) will examine the new message, not the original message (which is now an attachment in the new message). If you want other rules to examine and act on the original message, make sure those rules are applied before the disclaimer rule by using a lower priority for the disclaimer rule and higher priority for other rules.
    • If the process of inserting the original message as an attachment in the new message fails, the original message isn't delivered. The original message is returned to the sender in a non-delivery report (also known as an NDR or a bounce message).
  • Ignore: The rule is ignored and the original message is delivered without the disclaimer.

  • Reject: The original message is returned to the sender in an NDR.

In the EAC, you select the fallback option in the rule action. In the Exchange Management Shell, you use the ApplyHtmlDisclaimerFallbackAction parameter.

Scope your disclaimer

As you work on your disclaimers, consider which messages they should apply to. For example, you might want different disclaimers for internal and external messages, or for messages sent by users in specific departments. To make sure only the first message in a conversation gets a disclaimer, add an exception that prevents the disclaimer text from being applied to the same messages over and over again.

Here are some examples of the conditions and exceptions you can use.

Description Conditions and exceptions in EAC Conditions and exceptions in the Exchange Management Shell for the New-TransportRule or Set-TransportRule cmdlets
The recipient is located outside your Exchange organization. An exception is configured so messages that already contain the disclaimer text "CONTOSO LEGAL NOTICE" don't have the disclaimer applied again. Condition: The recipient is located > Outside the organization
Exception: The subject or body > Subject or body matches these text patterns > CONTOSO LEGAL NOTICE
-FromScope NotInOrganization -ExceptIf -SubjectOrBodyMatches "CONTOSO LEGAL NOTICE"
Incoming messages with executable attachments Condition 1: The sender is located > Outside the organization
Condition 2: Any attachment > has executable content
-FromScope NotInOrganization -AttachmentHasExecutableContent
Sender is in the marketing department Condition: The sender > is a member of this group > group name -FromMemberOf "Marketing Team"
Every message that comes from an external sender to the sales discussion group Condition 1: The sender is located > Outside the organization
Condition 2: The message > To or Cc box contains this person > group name
-FromScope NotInOrganization -SentTo "Sales Discussion Group"
Prepend an advertisement to outgoing messages for one month Condition 1: The recipient is located > Outside the organization
Enter the dates in the Activate this rule on the following date and Deactivate this rule on the following date fields.
-ApplyHtmlDisclaimerLocation Prepend -SentToScope NotInOrganization -ActivationDate '03/1/2016' -ExpiryDate '03/31/2016'

For a complete list of conditions and exceptions that you can use to target the disclaimer, see Mail flow rule conditions and exceptions (predicates) in Exchange Server.

Limitations of organization wide signatures

Exchange Server signatures can't fulfill the following scenarios:

  • Insert the signature directly under the latest email reply or forward.
  • Display server-side email signatures in users' Sent Items folders.
  • Skip lines which contain variables that couldn't be updated (for example, if the value wasn't provided for a user).

To gain these and other capabilities, use a third-party tool. Do an internet search for email signature software. A number of these providers are Microsoft Gold Partners and their software provides these capabilities.

For more information

Organization-wide disclaimers, signatures, footers, or headers in Exchange 2013