Synchronizing email signatures between computers

I’m using Outlook on multiple computers and even though my emails sync beautifully between all my devices, my email Signatures do not.

While I could back them up and restore them manually onto another computer after each change, surely in the age of Cloud Based Computing there must be a better approach for this.

How can I synchronize my email Signatures between computers?

Sync Signatures with OneDrive button While Windows 8, Windows 10, Office 2013, 2016, 2019, and 365 already sync quite a lot of settings, the Signatures folder indeed isn’t included.

Also, unlike the Templates folder, there is no setting to redirect it to another location such as a folder within your OneDrive or DropBox account.

However, there is another way to achieve this which works for all versions of Windows and Office.

Redirecting the Signatures folder with a Symbolic Link

PowerShell buttonWith a Symbolic Link (or “symlink”), we can redirect the Signatures folder to another location such as within your OneDrive or DropBox folder without breaking Outlook’s Signatures feature itself.

What exactly Symbolic Links are and how they function is a bit too much and too complex to explain for this guide but you can use Wikipedia if you really want to learn more.

  1. Open your Signatures folder. If you don’t know how to locate this folder see Backup and restore signatures.
  2. Copy the contents to a folder within your OneDrive or DropBox folder set. For instance: \Documents\Outlook\Signatures\
  3. Make sure that Outlook is closed and then delete the original Signatures folder.
  4. Open an elevated Command or PowerShell window;
    • On Windows 8 and Windows 10, a quick way to do this is by pressing Windows+X on your keyboard and choosing: “Windows PowerShell (Admin)”  or “Command Prompt (Admin)”.
    • Another quick way to do this for all Windows versions is;
      1. Open the Start Menu and immediately type one of the following;
        • Command Prompt
        • PowerShell
      2. Right click on on the result and choose; Run as administrator
      3. Provide administrator credentials for your computer or press “Yes” to accept the User Account Control prompt.
  5. Type the following command (of course with your own folder names and locations) depending on whether you are using the Command Prompt of PowerShell;
    • Command Prompt
      mklink /d "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures" "C:\Users\%username%\OneDrive\Documents\Outlook\Signatures"
    • PowerShell
      New-Item -ItemType SymbolicLink -Path "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures" -Value "C:\Users\%username%\OneDrive\Documents\Outlook\Signatures"
  6. Repeat steps 3, 4 and 5 on each computer you want to sync your Signatures with.

Note: Still using Windows XP? See the instructions below to do this via the Junction tool instead.

How do I know that it worked?

Signatures folder created as a Symbolic LinkThe Signatures folder within it’s original location will look like a shortcut to a folder but when opening the folder the Address Bar suggests that you are within the original Signatures folder location instead of in the Signatures folder within OneDrive or DropBox. That is perfectly normal for Symbolic Links.

To test whether it really worked, just add a file to that folder or create a new signature within Outlook. Then look at your Signatures folder within your OneDrive or DropBox and notice that the new file(s) are showing there too. This is the actual storage location; the Symbolic Link will only make it look like that there is still an actual Signatures folder within it original location.

Still using Windows XP?

Windows XP buttonWindows XP doesn’t support the mklink command. Instead, you can use the Junction tool which can be downloaded from the Microsoft TechNet website.

The command line to use would then become:

junction "C:\Users\%username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Signatures" "C:\Users\%username%\OneDrive\Documents\Outlook\Signatures"

Undoing the changes

Undo buttonUndoing the changes is very easy:

  1. Locate the original Signatures folder (so not the one within your OneDrive or Dropbox account). This Signatures folder should look like a shortcut to a folder (except on Windows XP).
  2. Delete the folder.
  3. Copy the Signatures folder from your OneDrive or DropBox account to the original location just like you would normally restore the Signatures folder.

Note: For more information about the Signatures feature in Outlook see: Creating, using and managing Signatures

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