One of the major pieces of work the OfficeArt team did for Office 2003 was add
support. In this post, I’ll show
you how to create a signature that looks handwritten and stick at the bottom of your
Although you’ll get best results with a Tablet PC, one isn’t necessary to do
What you’ll need
If you have Office 2003, you probably have everything you need, but here are the
- Outlook 2003 – Previous versions
don’t support ink.
- Word 2003 – You need href="http://email.about.com/cs/outlooktips/qt/et041401.htm">Word
set as your Outlook email editor.
- A Tablet PC or PowerPoint 2003 –
We need some way to generate the ink.
Generating the ink
For those like me who aren’t fortunate enough to own a Tablet PC, here’s a secret. For
backwards-compatibility, PowerPoint 2003 lets you generate Tablet PC ink even
without a Tablet. It’s not as pretty as ink generated on a Tablet because
the computer can’t capture the pressure information that a pen would generate, but it’s
Here’s how to do it.
- Launch PowerPoint 2003.
- Hit the F5 key to enter slideshow.
- Move the cursor around or hit Ctrl-A until you see the four icons in the lower
- Click the icon that look like a pen. Select a pen type and your favorite color.
- Sign your name anywhere on the slide using your mouse. Or, if you have
a Tablet (lucky duck), use your pen to sign your name.
- Exit out of slideshow by hitting Esc. PowerPoint will ask if you want to keep
the ink you just drew. Of course you want to keep it!
- Unless you naturally write really small, while you’re here, you should resize the
image so it’s at a good email size.
You can also change the ink’s line thickness and color. Just double-click the ink to
see and change all these options.
- When you’re done fiddling, select the ink and Copy it to the clipboard.
- Go to the
Edit menu and choose Paste Special. Select Picture (GIF) and hit Ok.
This is necessary
to convert the ink into a GIF so that it shows up in ok in most email readers.
Copy the picture that you just pasted.
Set your signature
- Launch Word 2003.
- Go to:
- Tools | Options
- General tab
- Click the Email Options button
- E-mail Signature tab
- Give your signature a name by typing in some text in the top textbox.
- Paste in the ink you created earlier by hitting Ctrl-V.
- Clicking the Add button to add this signature. Select it as your Signature
for new message.
- Ok out of the dialogs and exit Word.
Finally, fire up Outlook and start a new message. The signature you created should show
Uh, I could have done that with Paint, Wayne
This might have been overkill for this task, but ink in general has a few advantages over
just using Paint:
- With a Tablet PC, the pen records pressure information that makes the ink look more
realistic than anything you can draw with a mouse.
- Since the ink is recorded as an OfficeArt shape, you can change the ink’s color and
thickness without too much hassle.
Many steps, but hopefully it was worth it.