How to Use the Standard Email Signature Separator

What It Is and What It Does

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Email Signatures

Email signatures are a wonderful addition to your business and personal email, allowing you to "brand" your communication and provide the recipient with information on how to get back to you.

Your email signature should contain only the minimum amount of information necessary to identify you as the sender. Avoid adding too much text to it and keep similar information on the same line, and consider adding your logo. You might also consider a witty quote. Add your email address, phone number, website and/or Twitter address, too.

Standard Email Signature Delimiter

Whether you use a stand-alone email program or a website-based email service such as Gmail or Yahoo! Mail, you can configure an email signature. This signature is separated from the body of the email by a specific string of characters called the email signature delimiter.

Most email programs and services use the signature delimiter to identify where the body of the email ends and the signature begins, then use the information to visually separate the signature from the rest of the email.  

Use the Standard Signature Delimiter

The "standard" that is widely used on Usenet, but also with email, is

  • "-- " (two dashes followed by a white-space character) on a line by itself.

If you use this as the first line of you email signature, almost all mail software and webmail clients know not to display your signature again in replies and long mail threads.  

Although you can manually edit each email you send to remove the delimiter before your signature, you should avoid doing so. The signature delimiter allows the person who receives your email to identify the body of the message at a glance and only focus on your signature if he finds it necessary; circumventing this feature by removing the delimiter may result in unnecessary frustration and annoyance.

Example Signature with Standard Delimiter

A signature conforming to the standard could look like:

Heinz Tschabitscher
"eve rythin gisgon nabeal right"