How to Create a Thunderbird Signature

Make a text, image, or html email signature

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When you send out an email, attaching a signature makes it look much more efficient and professional. In the Thunderbird email client you can create a text or HTML email signature in a few easy steps. The process may differ from creating email signatures in other email clients, but the fundamentals remain constant.

These instructions were created using the Daily build of Thunderbird (version 69.0a1), but the process will be the same on most releases of the software.

What to Include in an Email Signature

Before we get into the how, the what needs to be addressed. You might be so inclined to add a ton of information into your email signature. Back in the early 2000s it became popular to place animated graphics in email signatures. This trend was met with much resistance for the same reason people have advocated for short signatures all along:

  • It takes up precious bandwidth.
  • It adds considerable size to the emails.

Consider this: You send an email with a signature that includes text, HTML, and a large animated image. The person you sent that to replies with a similar signature. You then reply on the same thread, and that keeps going back and forth for some time. Imagine how large that email will have become, with those signatures repeated over and over. Because it's more efficient you want to keep your signature to a minimum. In fact, the old standard was that an email signature should not go beyond three lines. That same idea holds true today, so keep that in mind when designing and composing your email signature.

How to Add a Text Signature in Thunderbird

Adding a well-designed signature to Thunderbird is simple. Just follow these steps:

  1. Open Thunderbird.

  2. Click Edit > Account Settings.

    Screenshot of the Account Settings menu entry.
  3. In the Account Settings window, select the email address you want to work with.

    Screenshot of selecting the correct email account.
  4. In the Signature text block type the text you want to use as your signature, one line at a time.

    Screenshot of a text-based signature in Thunderbird.
  5. Once you’re satisfied with your signature, close the Account Preferences tab.

How to Add an HTML Email Signature in Thunderbird

A text-based signature is great, unless you want to make it easy for recipients of your email to easily clink on a link that will take them to your (or your company’s) website. In that case, you need to use an HTML signature. Let’s say you want to create a signature that includes a link to Lifewire. Here’s how you add such a signature:

A point of etiquette when adding URLs to your email signature is to use a shortener, such as the one offer by Bit.ly to reduce the size of any URL you choose to use. Long URLs can appear messy and confusing when displayed at full length.

  1. Open Thunderbird.

  2. Click Edit > Account Settings.

  3. In the Account Settings window, select the email address you want to work with.

  4. Click the check box for Use HTML.

    Screenshot of the Use HTML check box.
  5. In the Signature text field type the text you want to use as your signature, one line at a time. At the end of the first two lines, make sure to include the break tag: <br>. For the link to Lifewire, you heed to use the <a href> tag and remember to put the closing </a> tag. The text should look like this:

    <a href=”http://www.lifewire.com”>Lifewire</a>.
    Screenshot of an HTML signature.
  6. Once you’re satisfied with your signature, close the Account Preferences tab.

You can also use other basic HTML tags in your signature. For example, the tag <b> is to bold items, and <i> is to italicize. Just remember that for every opening tag, you also need a closing tag. In these cases the closing tags are </b> and </i>.

Now, when you send an email from that account, it will include a signature that contains a clickable link to the Lifewire site or whatever site you wanted to add to your signature.

How to Add an Image To your Signature

If you want to add an image as your signature, the process is also quite simple:

  1. Open Thunderbird.

  2. Click Edit > Account Settings.

  3. In the Account Settings window, select the email address you want to work with.

  4. Check the box for Attach the signature from a file instead.

    Screenshot of the Attach the signature from a file instead check box.
  5. Click Choose, navigate to the location on your hard drive where the image is stored, and click Open (or OK, depending on your operating system).

  6. Close the Account Preferences tab.

Going forward, whenever you send an email it will include the image you selected as your signature. Do make sure to keep the images on the small size. A good rule of thumb is to keep the file size below 50kb so it doesn't require a large amount of time to load.

Add Both an Image and HTML to Your Thunderbird Signature

This is where it gets tricky (and helps to know a bit about HTML). Instead of teaching you how to use HTML, we’ll illustrate a signature file that contains some text, an image, and a link to Lifewire.com.

  1. Start by creating a new p[lain-text document in whatever text editor you prefer. Name that file sig.html.

  2. Next you need to create the structure for the signature. It will probably look something like this:

    <img alt=”Jack Wallen" src="file:/home/jack/Documents/039icon.jpg"><br>
    Jack Wallen<br>
    Writer for <a href=”http://www.lifewire.com”>Lifewire</a>

    You’ll need to link the image file according to how your operating system requires. For instance, if you’re using Windows, that might look like: <img alt=”Jack Wallen” file:///C:/Users/jack/Desktop/039icon.jpg”

  3. Once you've finished editing that HTML structure for your signature, save and close the file.

  4. Back in Thunderbird, make sure to walk through the same steps you did to add a basic image to your signature, only this time you’ll select sig.html as the file.

  5. Close the Account Preferences tab and click Write to compose a new email. You should now see your image, text, and link in your signature.

    Screenshot of a signature that includes an image, text, and link.

That’s really all there is to adding an email signature to Thunderbird. A few clicks and some basic HTML code can help you carefully craft a signature will serve you well for whatever purpose you choose.