Mac How-to: Adding a Skype Me Button to your signature file in Apple Mail
As one of Skype’s resident Mac heads, it is my duty to share the little tips and tricks that we uncover in our own quest to have the ultimate Skype on Mac experience. With the launch of our new Skype Me buttons and the coming launch of SkypeWeb (you can show your Skype online status in near real-time on your blog or email) I wanted to share a few tricks to adding Skype Me buttons to your email signature in Mac OS X 10.4′s Mail application. I love Mail.app because it is simple, has an elegant UI, and most importantly supports Apple’s Spotlight technology which gives you instant search results across your email almost instantly. Its like having Google in your inbox.
It turns out that Mail.app’s signature editor isn’t all that HTML friendly and just pasting in HTML to the signature editor will not achieve the desired effect, in fact it will just plain not work. Here is a quick crash course to get you up an running with a Skype Me button in your signature in Apple Mail so your friends can Skype you back instead of replying in email. The following steps require a little tech savvy, but if you follow the steps below you will be up an running in minutes with a Skype Me button in your sig file.
]]>* Attention Mac Geeks * The good folks over at Mac OS X Hints have documented the process for hacking your signature file to add HTML of any kind. If you are comfortable with DIY modification of your sig file, have a look here. Warning … geeky stuff to follow. Start here and follow the process outlined and skip the long explanation below:
For those who want a little more step by step advice, follow me …
- Open the “Preferences” pane for Mail under the “Mail” menu in the upper left hand corner of your screen.
- In the “Preferences” pane click the “Signatures” icon and either select your existing email signature or create a new one. Include the details that you would like every email to have automatically when you send such as your contact information, links to your Web site or blog, etc., company privacy statements or other disclaimers if needed, all that fun stuff.
- Close the “Preferences” pane to save the signature. Quit Mail. This will generate a “Web Archive” file that contains your signature that is stored in your Mail preferences in your “Home” folder in Mac OS X.
- Open a “Finder” window and navigate to your “Home” folder which will be represented as a little house icon with your user account name next to it in the left hand pane of the finder. From there open the “Library” folder, then “Mail”, then “Signatures”. In the “Signatures” folder you will find a file with a long name starting with 3 numbers and ending with “.webarchive”. You need to open this file with an HTML friendly text editor such as BBEdit. Note – Apple’s “TextEdit” application does not work for editing a Web Archive, it actually will render the HTML and not allow you to edit the source. When you have the HTML source in front of you, you are ready to add the Skype Me button’s code to your signature file.
- Pick the Skype Me button you want to include in your email. You can choose one of the simpler ones we have prepared for you in advance, or go to the advanced wizard and pick your own combo of functions, text, and graphics. The Skype Me button wizard will automatically generate the HTML and links to show the graphics and add your Skype name. Make sure you select “Email ready HTML” from the code pane on the right side of the page before you copy the code. Make a Skype Me button here:
- Paste the email ready HTML from the Skype Me button wizard into your open signature file HTML in the HTML-friendly text editor of your choice in the spot you want it to appear in your signature file.
- Save the file as Signature.HTML file on your desktop.
- Launch Apple’s Safari Web browser. Select “Open File” from the “File” menu for Safari and select the Signature.HTML file from the desktop. You should see your signature file rendered in Safari with your new Skype Me button. If you are unhappy with the layout or want to make changes, go back to your HTML editor and edit the source as needed.
- Save the open Signature.HTML file as a WebArchive from Safari. To do this select “Save As …” from the “File” menu in Safari. You need to rename the file from Signature.HTML to be the same name as your current signature file that is saved in “Home/Library/Mail/Signatures”. The quickest way to accurately rename it is to navigate to the file using the file browser in the “Save As …” Dialogue and select the greyed out file. This will replace the Signature.HTML filename with the name of your active signature. Make sure that the “Format” drop down menu is set to “Web Archive” and save it to “Home/Library/Mail/Signatures”. When you are asked if you want to replace the file of this name with this new one, select yes.
- Run Apple Mail now. Go back to the “Preferences” pane as before. Chose the “Signatures” icon. You should now see your new signature file complete with the Skype Me button in the pane. If you see a broken image icon, you may not be online. Select the new signature and apply it to your account(s).
- Send a test mail to yourself. You should see the signature with the Skype Me button in the email compose window. Send the test message to yourself and you should see your Skype Me button in the received mail. For some unknown reason Mail might not show the image in compose window the first time and will display a broken image icon and text. Once you send a test message and receive it the image should render and cache from then on.
From here on out all of the email you send to colleagues, friends, and family will let them know that you are a Skype user and they can easily contact you with one click via Skype from your email instead of writing back if they have Skype installed to. Remember … Skype don’t type
Next up … how to add a Skype Me button to your SixApart TypePad blog using the “Notes” TypeList feature.