How to Use the Standard Email Signature Separator

Learn what it is and what it does

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Email signatures are a useful addition to your business and personal email. They give you an opportunity to brand your communication and provide the recipient with information on how to get back to you.

In the past, email signatures were limited to one line. They were set off from the rest of an email by a signature delimiter, which was often two dashes and a space followed by the sender's basic information — such as name, title, and company. Those early email signatures contained only the minimum amount of information necessary to identify you as the sender.

In time, as formatting became possible in emails, signatures expanded to include much more information, often including an email address, phone number or social media link. Soon logos and witty quotes joined the email signature.

Despite this, using the signature delimiter as the first line of a multiline signature marks the information as a signature and prevents its duplication in replies and threads.

Standard Email Signature Delimiter Use

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. Sometimes, this signature is separated from the body of the email by a specific string of characters called the email signature delimiter.

The signature delimiter identifies where the body of the email ends and the signature begins.

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

Example Signature With Standard Delimiter

The standard signature delimiter, first used on Usenet, but also with email, looks like this:

-- Mary Smith, Treasurer, ABC Company