Add Instant Messaging links to your Signature

Common signatures include a greeting, your name, your company name and possibly a website address and a phone number. Since a lot more contact is being done via the Internet with Instant Messaging (IM) clients, such as Windows Live Messenger and Skype, you can also add special links which will allow the receiver to directly contact you via one of those methods as well.

With the use of recognizable icons, you can easily include these references without making your signature look huge.

This guide starts off with an example of a signature which is small but contains several instant communication links as well. After that, an overview is given of the instant communication links that can be used with commonly used IM clients. These overviews also contain a suggested icon for the service which you can use in your signature.

Note: Most of the protocols below will only work when Internet Explorer is set as the default Internet browser. Instructions for how to add the protocols to Firefox can be found here.


Example signature with communication links

The more information you add to a signature, the greater the risk that is will turn out huge. You can overcome this by using small recognizable icons which contain a link holding the information.

An example of a commonly used signature with only 2 additional information lines;

Your name
chat telephone facebook feed | +12 3456789 | you@domain.com
Company name | Registration info | Street, City, Zip code

As you can see, the first line holds your personal contact information and the second line holds the company information. You can hyperlink the company name to the website of your company.

For first contact communication or for when you start a new mail conversation, you can opt to go for a bit longer signature which also includes your position and perhaps even a company logo. For this, Outlook allows you to set a different signature based on whether it is a new message or a reply/forward on an existing mail conversation.

Note:
Links and images will be lost in the Plain Text version of your signature. Therefore, it is highly recommended to modify your Plain Text signature to include the information you want.

General communication protocols

The below communication protocols are general protocols which, when used, do not target a specific application but open the application that has been set as the default for that action. For instance, the mailto link will open the default mail client installed on the computer and thus could open Outlook but also Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, etc…

Link typeLinkIcon
E-mailmailto:you@domain.commailto
Callcallto:yourcallerIDcallto

 

Tip!
Instructions about inserting images into your signature can be found in the guide;
Creating, using and managing Signatures.
 
Some other communication icons for you to use;
chat chat telephone voicechat voicechat webcam webcam         twitter facebook linkedin delicious feed

Windows Live Messenger

Link typeLinkIcon
Addmsnim:add?contact=you@domain.comwlm add
Callmsnim:voice?contact=you@domain.comwlm call
Chatmsnim:chat?contact=you@domain.comwlm chat
Videomsnim:video?contact=you@domain.comwlm video

Skype

Link typeLinkIcon
Addskype:skypename?addskype add
Callskype:skypename?callskype call
Chatskype:skypename?chatskype chat
Voicemailskype:skypename?voicemailskype voicemail
Send fileskype:skypename?sendfileskype send file
User infoskype:skypename?userinfoskype user info

With Skype, you can also add an image displaying your current availability. To do so, insert an image to your signature pointing to one of the following URLs;

  • Balloon image
    http://mystatus.skype.com/balloon/skypename
  • Classic image
    http://mystatus.skype.com/bigclassic/skypename

To make sure that the image gets updated when the user reads your mail you must configure Outlook not to embed images located on the Internet.
In addition, you must also set your Skype availability information to "Public". You can do this in Skype via;
Tools-> Options-> section Privacy-> option: Allow my online status to be shown on the web

You can find more info and examples of the images here.

AOL Instant Messenger (AIM)

Link typeLinkIcon
Addaim:addbuddy?screenname=yourscreennameaim add
Add to group aim:addbuddy?screenname=yourscreenname&groupname=yourcompanynameaim add to group
Chataim:goim?screenname=yourscreennameaim chat
Chat with messageaim:goim?screenname=yourscreenname&message=messageaim chat with message
Chatroomaim:gochat?roomname=yourchatroomnameaim chatroom
Send fileaim:getfile?screenname=yourscreennameaim send file

ICQ

Link typeLinkIcon
Add http://www.icq.com/people/cmd.php?uin=youruin&action=addicq add
Chat http://www.icq.com/people/cmd.php?uin=youruin&action=messageicq chat
User info http://www.icq.com/people/youruinicq user info

 

ICQ also allows you to display your current availability. To do so, insert an image to your signature pointing to one of the following URL;
http://status.icq.com/online.gif?web=youruin&img=1

To make sure that the image gets updated when the user reads your mail you must configure Outlook not to embed images located on the Internet.
In addition, you must also enable your ICQ web aware availability setting. You can do this in ICQ via;
Main-> Security & Privacy Permissions-> General Settings-> section General->
option: Allow others to view my Online/Offline status from the Web

You can find more info and examples of the images here.

Microsoft Office Live Meeting

Link typeLinkIcon
Meethttp://yourlivemeetingserver.com/meet/yourloginnamelive meeting meet

 

Microsoft Office Communicator

Link typeLinkIcon
Chatsip:you@domain.comoffice communicator chat
Calltel:yourphonenumberoffice communicator call

Yahoo Messenger

Link typeLinkIcon
Addymsgr:addfriend?yahooidyahoo
Callymsgr:call?yahooidyahoo
Call phoneymsgr:callphone?phonenumberyahoo
Chatymsgr:sendim?yahooidyahoo
Chat with messageymsgr:sendim?yahooid&m=messageyahoo

Google Talk

Link typeLinkIcon
Chatgtalk:chat?jid=you@domain.comgoogle
Callgtalk:call?jid=you@domain.comgoogle