Quick Tip: Add a graphical element to your Gmail signature

You can have a graphical element in your signature if you are using Google Enterprise Gmail, but you have to be in the correct view first.

This tip was originally published in June 2011. If you are like me and have used Microsoft Outlook in some form or another for as long as you can remember using email, then you probably have some established habits that are hard to break when you make the transition to Gmail. One thing that I have gotten accustomed to is having a graphical element in my email signatures, like the one shown in Figure A.

Figure A

A nice graphical element in an email signature appeals to me - does it appeal to you?

When CBS Interactive decided to move to Google Enterprise Apps, it took me a frustratingly longer time than it should have to figure out how to add the graphical element to my signature. Allow me to save you some frustration by showing how to set it up.

This blog post is also available in the slideshow format in a TechRepublic Photo Gallery.

Have the right view

The most important thing is to have the right email view. As you can see in Figure B, I am using the Plain Text version of the Gmail email composing tool. Note the lack of formatting options (red arrow).

Figure B

Plain Text means plain text - no formatting options.
This is where the frustrating part comes in (at least until I figured it out), when you click the gear icon in the upper right corner to get to the Mail Settings Screen (Figure C), you'll see that the signature area is for Plain Text only and there is no way to switch to a Rich Text view from the Mail Settings Screen.

Figure C

No way to switch to Rich Text from the Options Screen.
You have to go back to the Inbox and then to a Compose Email screen and click the Rich formatting link shown in Figure B. This will change the Compose Email screen to look like Figure D, with several Rich Text options now available.

Figure D

The Rich Text Compose Email screen is now available.
Now, when you click the gear icon to get to the Mail Settings Screen (Figure E) you will see that the signature box is willing to accept the HTML code and other Rich Text formatting you'll need to create a graphical signature.

Figure E

Rich Text is now available for your signature.