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An assortment of thoughts.  Mostly tech related.

HTML signatures in Apple's Mail.app - Installing with Applescript

The power of Twitter, huh?

A few weeks back I'd been exploring ways of creating decent looking autosignatures and installing them in Apple's Mail.app in Mountain Lion.

The process as outlined over at mydesignpad.com details a fairly complex installation procedure, which, in my view is something beyond the average end user and so the alternative is for a technical person to do it manually on each machine, for each user...also having to create a unique HTML sig file for each too.

Now, I've only get 15 or so users to take care of and so it wouldn't be the end of the world if I had to do it manually. But, I figured there had to be a better way, perhaps using AppleScript, which'd be just great - if I knew AppleScript.

Here's where Twitter steps in. I posted up the following:

...and within a few hours I had a reply from a super-helpful, fellow Mac guru in NYC saying it should be fairly simple to do.

What followed was a series of twitter exchanges, then Google Talk sessions and emails and a very short while later we had a script to work with.

The script works with a customised version of the HTML sig and then follows ALL of the steps detailed in myDesignPad's guide including prompting the user for their name, email address and job title etc and then customising and installing the HTML sig. The script also allows the sig file to be mounted online, meaning the script can execute from any machine anywhere - also great for future updates.

We had a few hiccups with write permissions but then arranged a screen sharing session to troubleshoot, which cleared up a couple more issues.

We still have a niggling issue with it running on MY profile - for some reason it fails to update the signature fil (See update #2 below). It does however work FINE under other profiles on this machine (weird), but we're well on our way to fixing it and having a proper, automated way of installing new, personalised HTML autosignatures in Mail.app in seconds.

I'll check with the script's author to see if she's happy for me to share it here, but it just goes to show how useful Twitter can be when you're in a bind. Lots of helpful people out there...my great thanks to @seesolve

Update: Here's @seesolve's Mail.app autosignature solution using AppleScript to my problem. There's download links to the script along with a how-to guide on getting it installed and customised. Again, very impressed with the professionalism and determination applied to this problem. My thanks, again. ;)

Update #2: OK. So, we worked out where the bug was thanks to this post by Matt Coneybeare -see the comments. In particular the comment referred to in step 8. The issue crops up when you have iCloud Documents and Data sharing enabled. When this is the case, the signature is written to an iCloud location rather than to the normal signature location in the library. Working to get the script modified to fix it.