HTML email signature in Apple Mail

For some reason Apple do not make this a straightforward process. After I’ve created a new signature for my client I often spend a while on Skype guiding them through the process of getting it into Apple Mail. So, here’s a short guide. This guide is intended for people that do not use iCloud Storage.

1. The HTML

If you’re not sure about how to create a snazzy email signature then hire somebody to create it for you. They will know the limitations for creating a signature that looks great on all platforms. Ask them to provide you with the HTML with opening <body> and closing </body> tags as a .txt file (if they provide it as a .html file, then simply change the .html to .txt).

Update: To stop links being underlined in Outlook add the following before the opening <body> tag:

2. Create a signature in Apple Mail

You need to do this so that your Mac creates a file, where you’ll then paste the HTML. Go to Apple Mail > Preferences… > Signatures and click the + button at the bottom of the second column (your signatures list).

Give your new signature a title and leave it at that (you don’t need to enter any text in the third (content) column, as you’ll be replacing this content later). Drag the signature (from the second column) on top of the email account you would like it to be associated with.

Quit Mail (Make sure you quit Mail and don’t just close the window)

3. Open the Signatures folder

The quickest way of doing this is go to go your Finder and in the top menu bar click Go > Go to Folder… and enter “~/Library/Mail/” (excluding the quote marks). Now, you might see a few folders here. Select the latest “V” folder. For example if you various folder starting with “V” then open the latest one e.g. Apple Catalina is now V7. Now open MailData > Signatures.

4. Paste the HTML Signature

In the Signatures folder (if you’ve got a lot of files in this folder, view the folder as a list and order by the Date Modified column) locate the newest file that ends .mailsignature and will have a load of letters and numbers as the file name. Right-Click or CTRL-Click on the signature and choose Open With > TextEdit.

Delete all text starting from <body

Open your new HTML Signature file (that your designer/developer provided) in TextEdit and copy the text and paste into position in the .mailsignature file you’ve just opened.

If when pasting you get prompted with “The file is locked”, simply click the “Unlock” button.

Save the file (Command-S)

5. Lock the file

Click the file title in the top document bar and check the “Locked” checkbox.

6. Look at your lovely new signature!

Open Apple Mail and create a new email (File > New Message). Select your new email signature from the Signatures dropdown and there you have it!

Anything else…

Default Signature: If you would like this to be your default signature go to File > Preferences… > Signatures. Select your email account in the first column from the Choose Signature dropdown, select your new signature.

Images: Make sure your images are on a server and not accessed on you local drive.

My new signature doesn’t show: Make sure you checked the Locked checkbox in Step 5, otherwise Apple will overwrite that file.

144 Responses to HTML email signature in Apple Mail

  1. rich miller says:

    Hello! This is super helpful, and worked great in Catalina OS. I have, however, just added a new laptop that came pre-loaded with Big Sur OS and while the mail library folder is now V8 and not V7 (I don’t think that’s the problem?), when I follow step #2 above (no text in the third column), there is no .mailsignature file in the signatures folder (step #3). The only way I can get the .mailsignature file in the signatures folder (step #3) to paste my HTML into is by adding placeholder text in the third column in step #2. But even after pasting the HTML into the .mailsignature file and saving, the placeholder text is still there as the signature—the HMTL I pasted into the .mailsignature file does not show up. Is this making sense? Do you know of any change in Big Sur that would be causing this?

    Thanks, and thanks again for doing this!

  2. Chris says:

    Hi, I have a few email accounts into my mac mail app.. Can I set up a different HTML signature for each account? If so how do I assign an HTML to a specific email address?

    Thank you

    • Alan Green says:

      Sure can! If you read Step 2 then you’ll see that you create the email signature that appears in the second column. You then drag that signature onto the email account you want it associated with in the first column.

  3. Tanya Koekemoer says:

    Hi there, I was wondering if you could help me.
    I designed an image to be our signature, but I am unsure as to how to insert this image from the server onto the signature section of our email.
    I hope this makes sense?

  4. Dexter Ginn says:


    You say “Make sure your images are on a server”.

    Mine are not.

    Sorry to bea bit thick but how do I sort this out?

    Thanks in advance.


  5. J K Kool says:

    Great step by step guidelines.
    The thing is my signature do not have ‘body’ tags. It starts with ‘br’ tag.
    But when I paste my HTML into signature file and save it and then open it in Mail, nothing changed. Opened the signature file again and it is the same as before. Like it didn’t same my changes even in unlocked file 🙂
    What seems to be a problem?
    I have Catalina and everything is updated.
    Is there a solution without body tags?

    • Alan Green says:

      Can you please send your .mailsignature file with your html inserted. Also, please create a new blank signature and send me the .mailsignature file for that too.

  6. Tenille Gore says:

    Hi 🙂

    I created the email sig and added it to my apple mail but the links don’t work. Could you help please?

    • Alan Green says:

      Hi. Can you contact me via the Contact page and attach your email signature. I’ll have a quick look to see if it’s anything obvious.

      • Ebru says:

        Hi Alan,

        Thank you for the tutorial…it is quite helpful. I did all the steps several times however my signatures doesn’t read the html file. Do you have any suggestion?

  7. Candice says:

    Hi there!

    Hoping to find an answer here – I’ve used your tutorial and created an email signature, all worked perfectly until I hit send!

    The email is showing up fine in dark mode when composing (dark background + transparent logo), but once sent and received, the background goes back to white? Happens on my phone as well! Appreciate any help! Thanks

  8. Thank you for sharing this. Worked perfectly for me!

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