Add Disclaimers to Messages

 

Applies to: Office 365 for enterprises, Live@edu

Topic Last Modified: 2010-07-28

A disclaimer is text that's automatically added to e-mail messages. Disclaimers are typically used to provide legal information, warnings about unknown or unverified senders, or for other reasons as determined by an organization.

Here's an example of a disclaimer.

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE: This e-mail message is intended to be received only by persons entitled to receive the confidential information it may contain. E-mail messages to clients of Contoso may contain information that is confidential and legally privileged. Please do not read, copy, forward, or store this message unless you are an intended recipient of it. If you have received this message in error, please forward it to the sender and delete it completely from your computer system.

To automatically apply disclaimers to e-mail messages, you use transport rules. You create disclaimers in the Exchange Control Panel.

Add a disclaimer to all outbound messages

Here's how to create a disclaimer that's added to the bottom of all messages sent to external recipients:

  1. In the Exchange Control Panel, select Manage My Organization > Mail Control > Rules.

  2. Click New. Enter the following information in the New Rule window:

    1. Click "More Options...".

      * If...   Select "The recipient..." and "is external/internal". In the Select Scope window, select "Outside the organization", and click OK.

      * Do the following   Select "Append a disclaimer to the message..." and "Append a disclaimer".

    2. Click "* Enter text..." to enter the disclaimer text, and click OK.

  3. Click Select one... to specify a fallback action that defines what you want to do if the disclaimer can't be applied to the message. The choices are Wrap, Ignore, and Reject. The default action is Wrap. To learn more about these options, see Fallback actions.

    When you are finished, click OK.

  4. To add exceptions to the rule so the disclaimer isn't applied to specific messages, click "* Except if...". For example, to specify specific users, select "The sender..." and "Is this person" or "Is a member of this group". For a complete list of the available exceptions, see Conditions and Exceptions for Transport Rules.

  5. Name of rule   Accept the default name, or enter a unique, descriptive name for the rule.

  6. Click Save.

Configure the components of the disclaimer

A disclaimer has two main components:

You also have to decide what conditions to apply the disclaimer. For example, you may choose to apply the disclaimer to all messages in your organization, or to messages sent to external recipients only. You can also specify different disclaimers for internal recipients and external recipients, or for messages sent by users in a specific departments or offices. For more information about the conditions you can specify, see Conditions and Exceptions for Transport Rules.

Note   when you configure multiple transport rules to apply disclaimers, carefully consider the conditions you use and avoid applying multiple disclaimers to the same message. Also, to avoid repeatedly applying the same message disclaimer to message replies, you can add an exception that looks for the disclaimer text in the body of the message.

Disclaimer content

The disclaimer content is the text that's inserted into a message. Disclaimers are inserted into e-mail messages using the same message format as the e-mail message. For example, when an HTML disclaimer is added to a plain text message, the HTML tags are removed from the disclaimer text.

You can also modify the appearance, position, and behavior of the disclaimer within the e-mail message. You can customize the disclaimer content by using the following elements:

HTML tags and inline CSS styles

Disclaimer text can include HTML tags. This allows you to create messages with the rich styling functionality available in HTML. Additionally, HTML tags can include inline cascading style sheets (CSS). Messages sent in the HTML format can display the rich disclaimer messages.

Images

You can add images to HTML disclaimers by using the IMG tag, for example:

<IMG src="http://www.contoso.com/images/companylogo.gif">

If you want to use images in your disclaimer, consider the following:

  • The images aren't embedded in the message.

  • The images should be located on a Web server that's accessible by the recipient.

  • By default, images in disclaimers aren't visible in most e-mail clients. Many e-mail clients, including Outlook Web App and Microsoft Outlook, block external images and external Web content by default. Recipients may need to select "show blocked content" or a similar action to view the images. Therefore, we recommend that you test disclaimers containing images to make sure those disclaimers meet your requirements.

User attributes

You can add user attributes to disclaimers. For example, you can add DisplayName, FirstName, LastName, Department, and Company to create personalized signatures. When the disclaimer is added to the message, the attribute names are replaced by the corresponding values from the sender's user account. To use attributes in a disclaimer, you enclose the attribute in two percent signs (%%). For example, to use the DisplayName attribute, use %%DisplayName%%.

You can use the following user attributes in disclaimers.

 

DisplayName

FirstName

Initials

LastName

Office

PhoneNumber

OtherPhoneNumber

Email

Street

POBox

City

State

ZipCode

Country

UserLogonName

HomePhoneNumber

OtherHomePhoneNumber

PagerNumber

MobileNumber

FaxNumber

OtherFaxNumber

Notes

Title

Department

Company

Manager

CustomAttribute1 to CutomAttribute15

Separators

To clearly separate the disclaimer from the body of the e-mail message, you can use the HTML tag <HR> to create a separator line. You can also use inline CSS styles in HTML tags to add lines or borders around the HTML disclaimer message.

Placement of the disclaimer

You can prepend the disclaimer at the beginning of the e-mail message or append it at the end. When you prepend the disclaimer, the disclaimer is inserted at the top of the message before the text of the newest message thread. When you append the disclaimer, the disclaimer is inserted at the bottom of the message thread.

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Fallback actions

Some messages, such as encrypted messages, can't be modified so a disclaimer may not be applied as expected. You can specify what to do when a disclaimer can't be applied to a message. Here are your options:

  • Wrap   The original message is enclosed, or "wrapped", in a new message, and the disclaimer is inserted into the body of the new message. If the original message can't be wrapped in a new message, the sender receives an NDR that explains why the message wasn't delivered.

    Note   Any subsequent transport rules are applied to the new message, not the original message. Therefore, you should make sure that a rule that adds a disclaimer with the Wrap fallback action always runs last.

  • Ignore   The original message is delivered without the disclaimer.

  • Reject   The message isn't delivered. The sender receives an NDR that explains why the message wasn't delivered.

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An example of an HTML disclaimer

The following is an example of an HTML disclaimer with an IMG tag and embedded CSS.

Note   This HTML disclaimer is used as an example. It isn't intended for use as-is.

<div style="font-size:9pt;  font-family: 'Calibri',sans-serif;">
</br>
%%displayname%%</br>
%%title%%</br>
%%company%%</br>
%%street%%</br>
%%city%%, %%state%% %%zipcode%%</div>
&nbsp;</br>
<div style="background-color:#D5EAFF; border:1px dotted #003333; padding:.8em; ">
<div><img alt="Fabrikam"  src="http://fabrikam.com/images/fabrikamlogo.png"></div>
<span style="font-size:12pt;  font-family: 'Cambria','times new roman','garamond',serif; color:#ff0000;">HTML Disclaimer Title</span></br>
<p style="font-size:8pt; line-height:10pt; font-family: 'Cambria','times roman',serif;">This message contains confidential information and is intended only for the individual(s) addressed in the message. If you are not the named addressee, you should not disseminate, distribute, or copy this e-mail. If you are not the intended recipient, you are notified that disclosing, distributing, or copying this e-mail is strictly prohibited.  </p>
<span style="padding-top:10px; font-weight:bold; color:#CC0000; font-size:10pt; font-family: 'Calibri',Arial,sans-serif; "><a href="http://www.fabrikam.com">Fabrikam, Inc. </a></span></br></br>
</div>
 
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