Search Support

Avoid support scams. We will never ask you to call or text a phone number or share personal information. Please report suspicious activity using the “Report Abuse” option.

Learn More

Why the signature of the original e-mail is not included in reply?

  • 2 replies
  • 5 have this problem
  • Last reply by Theophil

more options

I've got an e-mail message with a signature. When I create a reply to the sender of the e-mail I can see that the message text is quoted but not the signature. I found this feature very interesting. I noticed that the signature (in the original e-mail) is put between "--" and a dot (.) . There are also some empty lines. I noticed also that when I select all (Cntrl-A) the background colors of the selected text are different in the message text and in the signature text. I created, posted and replied an e-mail to imitate the behavior with no success. What am I doing wrong? Environment is Win7 and Thunderbird is 52.4.0 (32-bitar)

All Replies (2)

more options

The dash dash space return sequence is an informal standard for indicating a signature. It originated in newsgroup postings but Thunderbird has preserved it for use in email.

So what Thunderbird is doing is deliberate, but will happen only in those cases where your correspondents use this convention. It seems to me to be very sensible; when you reply, your correspondent doesn't need his own signature reflected back to him. But none of my Microsoft-using colleagues see anything amiss with this repetition and inevitably, all correspondence with Outlook users is burdened with multiple instances of signatures, complete with logos etc.

The vast majority of my email correspondence follows patterns set by Microsoft, where it's all top-posted with horizontal rules indicating the breaks between previous messages in a chain. I envy you having mature correspondents who do it the better way.

There is a strong tie-in with top-posting here too. If you do as Thunderbird does, your signature is added at the very bottom, (regardless of whether you top-posted, bottom-posted or interleaved) where it can be automatically trimmed off. But Microsoft have trained users to top-post, usually with full signature quoted and re-inserted at the top each time. This makes any automated clean-up impossible.

If you really want to retain the original signature you probably need to use "copy-and-paste-as-quotation" on the original message then remove the dash dash space line from the pasted text. Or try setting the mail.strip_sig_on_reply preference to false in the config editor.

For your own messages, you can set Thunderbird not to use the dash dash space delimiter. This is quite a common request from users who dislike seeing the '-- ' and presumably have no interest in eliminating unnecessary content. Look for the mail.identity.default.suppress_signature_separator preference in the config editor and set it to true.

The '-- ' is essential if you use an add-on such as Signature Switch, since it needs this to identify where the signature starts.

As an aside, by default Thunderbird shows signatures in a pale font colour, either by using grey or by applying partial transparency. This also annoys users who see it as distorting their carefully crafted signatures. This feature may be behind the different colours you saw when selecting copying. the shading effect can be turned off; I use some css code to do this.

more options

When I started to read your reply, Zenos, I recalled this feature. I've seen it before during my 30 years long time in the computer business. Probably these 30 years made I forgotten it ;). Now I've tried to implement it in my Thunderbird e-mail client. I defined signature in my hotmail account setup in Thunderbird. See the uploaded image. I wrote an e-mail message and I sent it from my hotmail account to my gmail account using Thunderbird. Then I sent a reply from my gmail account using Thunderbird. What I've got is displayed in attached image. Why my signature is displayed in the reply? Have I've done anything wrong? I won't be monitoring the Mozilla Support in the next 3 weeks.