Improve Email Productivity by Using a “Brevity Signature” in Mail App for Mac OS X
Anything to boost productivity and reduce time spent emailing is a big win in my book. Accordingly, the “Sent from my iPhone” signature attached to an email has become associated in everyones minds with brevity, since naturally nobody expects a lengthy email reply sent while on the go from a smartphone, right? As a result, short replies from smartphones and iPhones are not considered rude or overly brief, and you can use that expectation of a brief and concise message to your advantage when sending emails from the Mail app of OS X. This is a great way to improve your email productivity when writing and replying from the desktop, and while some people call it a brand vanity signature, I like to call it the “brevity signature”.
Sure, some people don’t like it and would rather remove the “Sent from my iPhone” signature even from their iPhones and iPads, but if you struggle with email fatigue and replying to hoards and hoards of emails, I highly recommend not only leaving it in place in iOS, but expanding it to the desktop, and that’s what we’re going to cover. We’re going to focus on adding this signature to the default Mail app that comes with Mac OS X. If you’re a regular reader, you may have noticed we have recommended this before in a group of Gmail tips, if you prefer to use webmail check that out instead.
Setting the Brevity Signature in OS X Mail App
Yes, in case it wasn’t clear, we are applying the iPhone signature to the Mac OS X Mail app:
- Open Mail app and pull down the Mail menu to choose “Preferenes”
- Select the “Signatures” tab and choose your primary email account from the left side
- Click the [+] plus icon to add a new signature, name it “iPhone” or something similar, and on the right side type (without quotes) “Sent from my iPhone”
- For font consistency, use Helvetica 12 as the signature font, you can check the box next to “Always match my default message font” if it’s selected
- Check the box for “Place signature above quoted text” since that is what the iPhone does
- Pull down the “Choose Signature” submenu and select “iPhone” to make it the default for mails sent from that account
- Close out of Preferences
Don’t choose “All Signatures” when creating the signature from the left hand side menu since that it will not always be accessible. Be sure to select the mail account you use, or want to use, the brevity signature with.
In this example, the signature has been applied to an Outlook.com account that has been set up for use in Mail app.
One note: the signature location may vary slightly on an iPhone depending on how the message is quoted, but generally speaking it is always applied directly below your message, and not the entire message.
Using the “Sent from my iPhone” Signature in Mail
The signature has already been set as the default, but let’s confirm how to use it, or how to temporarily disable it anyway:
- Compose a new Mail message, or reply to an email
- Look under the Subject line on the right side for “Signature”
- Choose “iPhone” to include the “Sent from my iPhone” signature on this email
- Choose “None” to NOT include the signature on this email
- Type a short message and send as usual
In this example, the self-proclaimed Brevity Signature is attached to a length email reply, along with an extremely short response. Our brevity signature makes it feel ok!
Again, the intention here is to feel more comfortable offering short, direct, and concise replies to incoming emails, thus improving your email productivity and freeing up time to do other more important work (unless you get paid to email all day, of course).
Do you have any email productivity tips to manage the onslaught of messages we all get on a regular basis? Let us know in the comments!