How to Set a Default Signature in Apple Mail

Use different email signatures for work and private accounts

John Smith signing his name with a fountain pen
bluestocking / Getty Images

Using different signatures for work and private accounts makes perfect sense. With Apple's Mail application, you can put the correct signature for an account in your emails automatically. First, you have to specify which signature you want to be the default for each account.

Instructions in this article apply to Mac OS X 10.10 and later.

How to Set a Default Signature for an Account in Mac OS X Mail

To define the default signature for an email account in Mac OS X Mail, open the Mail application. Then:

  1. Select Mail > Preferences from the menu bar.

    The keyboard command is Command+, (comma).

    Mail in macOS with the Preferences menu option highlighted
  2. Go to the Signatures tab.

    Apple Mail preferences with the Signatures tab highlighted
  3. Highlight the desired account in the left panel.

    Apple Mail Signatures preferences window with an email address highlighted
  4. Press the + button to create a new signature. Type a name that will help you recognize the signature, such as "Work," "Personal," "Gmail," or "Quote."

    Apple Mail Signatures window with the plus sign highlighted
  5. Mail creates a default signature for you. Edit the signature's text in the area at the right of the window.

    Fonts window in Apple Mail
  6. Check the box next to Always match my default message font if you want the signature text to match the message text. Do not check this box if you want to change the font in your signature. To change the text, highlight it and select Format > Show Fonts in the menu bar. Make your selections in the Fonts screen.

    Always match font box in Apple Mail
  7. To change the color of all or part of your signature, highlight the text and select Format > Show Colors in the menu bar. Select a new color.

    Apple Mail with the Show Colors option under the Format menu highlighted
  8. To add a website link to your signature, type the main part of the URL, such as lifewire.com. Mail turns it into a live link. If you want to display the link's name instead of the URL, enter the name, such as Lifewire, highlight it, and select Edit > Add Link from the menu bar. Type the URL in the drop-down field and press OK.

    Apple Mail with the Add Link option under the Edit menu highlighted
  9. Add a small image to your signature by dragging it to the signature window. You can also drag entries in your Contacts app to the signature window, where they appear as vCards.

  10. Place a check in the box next to Place signature above quoted text.

    "Place signature above quoted text" box in Apple Mail preferences
  11. Close the Signatures preferences window to save the changes.

Every message you send from the chosen account will include the default signature you've just created.

Apply a Signature on the Fly

If you don't use a default signature with an account, you can select any signature you've set up for an email on the fly.

When you're writing a new message, opposite the From field on the right side of the screen is a Signature drop-down menu. After you finish typing your email, select the signature you want to use from the drop-down menu, and Mail adds it at the bottom of your message.

A new message in Apple Mail with the Signature dropdown menu highlighted