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Mail email "signatures" with images shows <HR>

How to nuke them?

     
2:03 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi guys! Long time no see... good to be back. :)

I have a rare corporate client making sense (: . They are all using Macs with the latest OS version. Most employees use Mail and some use Entourage. For some reason, they want to use signatures with their logo and formatted text. It's supposed to look like this (spare you the colors) :

===

FirstName LastName
JobTitle

Gif-logo-here.gif

FullMailContact
email
homepage

Long boring legal stuff in case they screwded up and sent the message to the wrong place.

Stupid 200 k vCard here

===

For some reason, those using Entourage do it right, but those using Mail end up with this :

===

FirstName LastName
JobTitle



Gif-logo-here.gif


FullMailContact
email
homepage

Long boring legal stuff in case they screwded up and sent the message to the wrong place.



Stupid 200 k vCard here

===

I tried to open the open the "Signatures.plist" file with a text editor and nuke the buggers, but I what I see is rather cryptic.

Any tip?

4:54 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hello Macguru,

I have noticed that those who use Mail, often get unexpected results with inline HTML or embeded images. I don't know what the exact cause is honestly, just that it happens. I just tell people to switch over to Entourage if they absolutely must have a formatted email message/sig. However even if sent from Entourage, it can get kind-of screwy when viewed from some of the free email hosts out there (Yahoo, Hotmail, etc.)

My overall opinion? I LOVE uniformity in the work place. Everyone working with the same thing. Get them to all use Entourage (especially if you know it works for what you want). Most corporations only allow employees to have what THEY specify, so employees getting to set up their own sigs ... They're lucky. I don't give the employees here that choice ;0) They're lucky to be able to put CD's from home in the tray to listen to!

Even if they don't want to be strict, I think them all moving to Entourage would, in this case, be a good thing.

Just my 2

-- Zak

9:05 pm on Mar 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi lZakl,

Thanks for your input. I have just messed a bit with both programs to see what would be the best options. I also found Entourage to have a better output for inline HTML than Mail. I am still scratching my head to find a way to make links really work in Entourage. The email link simply doesn't work from any e-mail client I have tried, even Entourage ;-). They also want to make a bulk announcement to their + 8 000 contacts... just building the group in Entourage would take up to a week.

Also considering all the gymnastics needed to import from Mail to Entourage makes this migration a real tough sale. (Not to mention Mail is free and very few of them use any MS Office software on their computers) Vive OpenOffice!

Since they are in a hurry, they decided to drop the fancy stuff and go back to plain vanilla text mail and signatures. (I prefer that too)

Still, I would love to decrypt this strange format used in the Signatures.plist. I guess it uses some proprietary encodings.

Thanks again lZakl!

6:14 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sure, while you're enforcing uniformity, make them all switch to Windows!

Seriously, while Mail may not be the right client for HTML and inline images, neither is Entourage the only solution.

6:14 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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If you can move them to Entourage, that would work. If not (say, for cost reasons), you could consider moving them to Thunderbird.

Also, if you have any say, you may want to have them re-think their disclaimers. They're basically worthless and completely unenforceable, from the legal analysis I've seen online. The (incorrect) recipient of your email didn't agree to anything nor do they have to. Of course, I'm not a lawyer, so you may want to have them check with legal.

6:17 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Sure, while you're enforcing uniformity, make them all switch to Windows!

Seriously, while Mail may not be the right client for HTML and inline images, neither is Entourage the only solution.

The client is *ASKING* for uniformity in their email signatures, which may require uniformity in their software due to Mail's poor support for inline images. Supporting an organization is far easier if things are standardized on one or 2 software applications per function.

7:28 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Still, I would love to decrypt this strange format used in the Signatures.plist. I guess it uses some proprietary encodings.

Bear in mind that I don't normally play with these fancy Mac things, so I might be talking nonsense: but it looks like the .plist format is XML. The images are probably base64 encoded within the file, which will make it look like a load of garbage when you open it in a text editor. For what it's worth, the DTD is over here [apple.com]. If you can identify which parts are the graphics, you may be able to isolate the text parts.

The biggest problem with email signatures is that it is incredibly tough to get them to work the same everywhere. The company might be enlightened, but I bet most of their customers are using Outlook on Windows, and then there are wierdos like me who use Linux. Flogging them Entourage so they can kid themselves that the signature works because it looks the same on their machines is a waste because it won't make it any better for those receiving the emails. And one of the big reasons for having a Mac is to avoid the MS tax!

8:07 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You got everything right encyclo.

Problem is, I just cant isolate text and graphics. It's all in the same solid block of "garbage".

The code of rendered signatures show stuff giving a few clues, but it's hard to work from the source file.

In your second paragraph, you pretty summed up what I told them. If they want the majority of users to see the gizmo sig "right", they will need to switch to Outlook on Windows. You should have seen their faces. I guess they can live with plain text signatures, now. :)

9:01 pm on Mar 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Great to see ya back Mac!
8:55 am on Mar 19, 2005 (gmt 0)

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This is probably just silly, but sometimes silly things work. ;)

Why not have the entourage folks email something to the Mail.app folks then they copy and paste the correctly formatted version? If it works you'll be able to compare the sig plist files and figure out what's different.

3:42 am on Mar 20, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Have you ever seen the SearchEngineWatch email newsletter in Mail on Mac? It's almost completely unreadable.
 

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