CodeTwo vs Exclaimer Email Signatures for Office 365: Speed, Function, SPF and DKIM, Designing, HTML, CSAT, Rules etc

Exclaimer vs CodeTwo signatures for Office 365

Email signatures for Office 365 are a great way to standardise corporate identity, ensure signatures are impactful and form part of your organisation’s communications and marketing strategy. When considering what software to use for your email signatures for Office 365 there are a number of criteria to consider. This article covers a variety of design and technical criteria that are important to evaluate when making your selection.

In this review of the two powerhouses of email signatures for Office 365, we are going to look at the differences between CodeTwo and Exclaimer so that you can evaluate which is the best fit for your company. 

We have tried to compare all the major sections between the 2 cloud signature providers, but if you would like us to look at anything else, please comment below and we will update the article.

 

The ultimate battle between @CodeTwoSoftware and @exclaimer cloud signatures for Office 365. Click To Tweet

 

Here’s a quick overview of what we will cover in this article:

 

So how do Exclaimer and CodeTwo for Office 365 work?

Exclaimer and CodeTwo have a similar way of approaching how to stamp signatures at the bottom of your Office 365 emails. They both put a signature on the outgoing signatures whether internal or external using an exchange connector in Office 365. The mail is sent out from your email (Outlook, Phone, Tablet, web etc.) and then sent to the Exchange connector which sends it either to the CodeTwo servers or to the Exclaimer servers; which are located on the same Azure Cloud using the Microsoft Datacentres. Both CodeTwo and Exclaimer then stamp the signature onto your email in the place you want it. With the signature added, the emails are passed back to Office 365 via an endpoint connector that has been set up in Office 365. Signatures will only be added to an email once due to a secured closed-loop process between Office 365 and the Microsoft Azure infrastructure.

CodeTwo Signatures Office 365 how it works diagram
Diagram from https://www.codetwo.com/email-signatures/how-it-works

SPF and DKIM records for Office 365 signatures

We are often asked if Exclaimer and CodeTwo require the setup of DKIM and SPF records.

On SPF records, the answer is Yes.
Both companies set out their required SPF includes on their support websites https://support.exclaimer.com/hc/en-gb/articles/360019719872 and https://www.codetwo.com/userguide/email-signatures-for-office-365/spf-records.htm The only difference between the 2 companies is Exclaimer suggests that there is a SoftFail (~all) at the end of the SPF record and CodeTwo suggests a HardFail (-all). I have found that a SoftFail is much better for deliverability as most mail systems will mark an inbound message as spam if the SPF check results in a hard failure

Update 10 October 2019 : Tomki Camp from dmarcian.com says that they “lean toward the use of ~all vs -all. This is primarily due to varied receiver enforcement on the basis of “-all” combined with the fragility of SPF in some scenarios (e.g. use of an ‘include’ referring to a provider which publishes a bad change thereby breaking your own SPF entry.).”

These are our suggestions of what the SPF records should look like for both companies.

CodeTwo Office 365 SPF record

v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com include:spf.emailsignatures365.com ~all

Exclaimer office 365 SPF record

v=spf1 include:spf.protection.outlook.com include:spf.exclaimer.net ~all

The DKIM records, on the other hand, are handled the same way by both companies. The DKIM signature is removed from the message when it received from Office 365. When Exclaimer and CodeTwo pass the message back to Office 365, the DKIM signature is re-applied by Office 365 before the email is sent out. We have found that the best email deliverability for both companies happens when you have your SPF and DKIM records set up correctly.

 

Winner : Exclaimer for suggesting a SoftFail on their support site rather than the HardFail. Also based on our experience,  the best solution has been a SoftFail SPF. 

 

Designing using the WYSIWYG editor

Even though they both run the same kind of idea in terms of how signatures are applied, the actual design and implementation of the signatures with CodeTwo and Exclaimer are quite different.

CodeTwo Email Signature Editor App

CodeTwo Email Signature Template Editor
CodeTwo Email Signature Template Editor

In the CodeTwo Email Signature Editor App, the powerful app is running on your local machine and then saving the signature and rules to the cloud. This allows you to design in a simple WYSIWYG (What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get) interface along with the ability to drag and drop elements. A big feature in CodeTwo, as opposed to Exclaimer, is the ability to edit the HTML directly.
With Exclaimer the entire design process and connection process sits in the cloud and can be accessed via a browser like Chrome or Firefox from any computer with internet access. CodeTwo, on the other hand, can only work once the initial setup is done with the Codetwo Manage Signatures App. The app has to be downloaded https://emailsignatures365.codetwo.com/LaunchApp which then allows you to connect to from this app on a Windows machine through to the Azure cloud and then pushes through the designs and your rules to the CodeTwo Cloud.

 

 

Exclaimer Email Signature Editor online interface

Exclaimer Email Signature Template Editor
Exclaimer Email Signature Template Editor

I find the Exclaimer Email Signature Template Editor much simpler to use than the CodeTwo App. But this is really personal preference. Having the table borders highlighted so that when you drag a new element into the signature design, you can see where the element will be placed. Also in the designing process, you can see the end result on the right-hand side immediately so that you can fix any issues you might have without having to close the app to see the final design. This might seem like a small thing but when you are designing a complicated signature it really makes the design process more efficient.

The Undo and Redo functions of Exclaimer work much more reliably than in CodeTwo. I have found in CodeTwo needing to undo an error and being unable to undo a step and the entire design process had to start again. I understand I should save my design more often, but it is an expectation of software to be able to process Undo and Redo correctly.

 

Winner : Exclaimer for very stable and simple WYSIWYG editor

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Creating new signature designs

Normally a client has an idea of what they want their signatures to look like. However, if they are looking for inspiration, both Exclaimer and CodeTwo have a template library of Signature designs that you can choose from. In terms of who wins this round… CodeTwo by a long shot. The designs that they have are really modern looking with loads of functionality added; like voting buttons for collecting clients opinions. They also have a quick selector when you choose a signature that allows you to remove things like Email Addresses and CSAT (Customer satisfaction) Voting. This allows you to create a new, professional-looking signature very quickly. Exclaimer needs to look at the quality of premade signatures if they want to compete in this area.

Exclaimer Template Library
Exclaimer Template Library

 

CodeTwo Template Library

CodeTwo Template Library

 

Winner : CodeTwo for the beautiful gallery of new signatures

 

Adding HTML to the signature design

Adding HTML to signatures is something that the more advanced users might require. Exclaimer does not have this option, which is a problem if you need this functionality. One of the best things about this is the ability to include a CSAT (Customer satisfaction) Voting buttons to the signature, this way you can gather customer satisfaction in real-time for each of your employees.
https://www.codetwo.com/userguide/email-signatures-for-office-365/one-click-surveys.htm

The ability to edit HTML has its negatives as well and that might be the exact reason why Exclaimer does not activate this feature. If a marketing person, for example, decided to include code that wasn’t properly formed then the signatures would come out damaged and possibly unreadable on the other side.

Due to the CodeTwo not having the ability to restrict a user from just designing with the editor and not having access to the HTML editor, this allows the non-technical user to possibly mess with the design of the signature. The below example was damaged by leaving out one < from the HTML code. CodeTwo does have checks in place to repair most HTML errors we have tried, but errors can occur.

CodeTwo Editing HTML can go wrong
CodeTwo Editing HTML can go wrong

 

Winner : CodeTwo. We will give a draw for the HTML editing, with its positives and negatives, but give the win to CodeTwo for having integrations with CSAT providers

 

Speed

The difference in speed between CodeTwo and Exclaimer sending out emails, in theory, should be the same. Maybe a couple of seconds from the time you send the email to when the email is received. But in reality, we have found that CodeTwo sometimes, can take a couple of minutes to send the emails through. We have spent time with the partners in South Africa and the official technical support of CodeTwo and we couldn’t get the speed to be any better. Depending on your country and the number of emails sent, your speed and experience may vary.

 

Winner : Exclaimer for consistently having the fastest email and most reliable email sending

 

Rules and Scheduling of Signatures

Once again the scheduling between CodeTwo and Exclaimer is quite different. Basically you can do the same things but the way it is implemented is different. Depending again on your requirements for your company, one might work better than the other for you.

Exclaimer Date Time Trigger

Exclaimer Date Time Trigger

Exclaimer assumes a simplistic approach with the Date/Time Trigger. Basically, “Apply this signature between these 2 dates”.

CodeTwo Scheduler

CodeTwo Email Signature Scheduling Basic

When it comes to advanced scheduling, CodeTwo has a lot more options.

CodeTwo Advanced Scheduling

CodeTwo allows you to schedule the signature on a daily schedule or even on a weekday schedule during a range of dates and times. You can schedule the signature weekly or even on a specific day of the week. The monthly option allows you to schedule the signature for a month and for a day or multiple days of the month.

I tried to think of various situations where these options would not be able to cover the situation and could not come up with anything. This is a brilliant solution to scheduling emails signatures.

 

Winner : CodeTwo for more scheduling needs than you will know what to do with

 

Signature Rules

Exclaimer Rules

Exclaimer Signature Rules

The Signature rules in Exclaimer are simple and straight forward. I have never needed anything else for a client. I cannot think of a situation where these rules would not be sufficient. Basically you are defining a rule for each signature. You enable this signature and then you define if this signature is applied to the email.

  • The first section looks at the subject of the email. If you use a special phrase like “~~signature1~~” then this will be applied. You can then also remove this from the subject and the rest of the subject will be applied.
  • The second section looks at the body of the email. If Exclaimer finds any word in the whole email thread then it won’t apply the signature. So if you are maybe sending out a quote to clients then the word “Quote” might be in the body and then you might not use this signature that doesn’t show the latest product, you might want to rather show another product or even upsell the product that you are quoting on.
  • The third section decides if the rules should stop here or if Exclaimer must look at the next email rule. Depending on your rules you might want to skip this signature, then you “Process the next Signature”.

CodeTwo Rules

CodeTwo Keywords Rule

CodeTwo handles their rules in much the same way as Exclaimer. They do add an extra field to allow them to apply this rule if there is a keyword like “Quote” but you can exclude this signature if there is a word like “Invoice” in the mail body or subject.

CodeTwo Options Rule

You can also have the next rule applied or not.

 

Winner : CodeTwo has a slight advantage over Exclaimer here for the ability to exclude words

 

Visibility of objects based on other objects

Exclaimer has the ability to hide Variables or Objects based on whether another field has a value or begins or contains a value. This is a very useful function which we use all the time. We would design a field that would display a Cell Phone number like this

Mobile Number: {Mobile}

Now if someone doesn’t have a mobile number in their AD contact details, the signature would have just the title displayed and the {Mobile} field would be blank. This would look strange and that is why we use this often.

The number of queries available to you here is unprecedented and allow you to query to have a certain field show / not show, if a completely different field either is blank, not blank, starts with…, ends with…, equals and the negatives of those. You could not ask for more choice.

Exclaimer Visibility if then

CodeTwo has a more simplistic way of doing this by wrapping the fields like this. {RT}M: {Mobile} {/RT}

 

Winner : Exclaimer for the brilliant way they have implemented this. 

 

Selecting Senders to use this signature

Both companies allow you to define the senders and who gets the signature. And to be honest both do it exactly the same way.

Exclaimer Select Senders

Exclaimer Select Senders

What you will see here is a very simple way of selecting who gets the signature based on 1 of 4 criteria. “Everyone in the organisation” “Members of this group” “Specific User or Email Address” or lastly an “Advanced query”. The Advanced Query is amazing and will be more than anyone will ever need.

Exclaimer Advanced Query

You can either start with “No-one” and then add users to the query as I have above. Or you can work backwards and start with everyone and remove based on criteria.

CodeTwo Select Senders

CodeTwo Select Senders

CodeTwo gives the same 4 criteria, just names them a little differently. Their “Advanced Query” is called “Azure AD Filter”.

CodeTwo AD Filter

Here you can build your query and include fields and users in the first box and exclude in the second box. It harnesses the same fields as Exclaimer and runs the queries in basically the same way.

 

Winner : Exclaimer by a small margin as the query building makes more sense to me.

 

Selecting Recipients who will see your signature

Exclaimer Select Recipients

Exclaimer allows you to make sure that when you email a specific email address or domain that you can specify a signature. This has been used by our clients often when they are emailing a supplier they don’t include a link for the supplier’s competitor in the signature. You can also specify if you are emailing internally in your organisation that you can include a banner about an HR announcement rather than an advert for a product.

Alternatively, CodeTwo does not have this option. They have the option to have a different signature for an internal or external email, but not to specify a domain or email address. It seems like they have this functionality in their software for Exchange, but have not incorporated it into their Office 365 package.

 

Winner : Exclaimer for implementing this functionality 

 

QR Code Generator

CodeTwo QR Code Generator

CodeTwo has the functionality of creating a QR Code from Variables. Having a QR code generated on the fly for each user is quite amazing. However, most clients that we have dealt with want a QR code to link to a special event like this banner below. This functionality seems more of a novelty than something that is actually used a lot. Exclaimer does not have this functionality.

OSH Banner with QR

Winner : CodeTwo for implementing this functionality

Conclusion

Whether you choose Exclaimer or CodeTwo signatures for Office 365, you will be getting powerful software that will allow you to have beautiful signatures in every email that you will send out. This will allow you to incorporate your email into your marketing strategy.

Things to keep in mind.

  • If your environment is mainly macOS and Linux with Office 365, then I would suggest Exclaimer as you don’t need to install an app to manage your signatures.
  • If you need a QR code deployed on the fly, then CodeTwo
  • If you need a very complex date and time trigger, then CodeTwo
  • If speed is the main priority for your emails, then Exclaimer

This is a very simple breakdown of possible needs. I would suggest that you get in touch with us on [email protected] and we can discuss your needs. If you would like more info on either product, please fill in the form on this page and we will get in contact with you.

We have tried to compare all the major sections between the 2 cloud signature providers, but if you would like us to look at anything else, please comment below and we will update the article.

We sent this review to both Exclaimer and CodeTwo before it went live to make sure that there was no incorrect info. This does not mean that they agree with the results of this review, but rather that they are aware of this blog post.

 

Table of comparison between CodeTwo and Exclaimer Signatures for Office 365

 

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365

Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365

Number of Users76000+ companies150 million users
Year Started20072001
Microsoft PartnerGoldGold
Employees80100
HQPoland, EuropeFarnborough, UK
Other BranchesPolandUK, USA and Europe
Support Hours24/5 technical support, performance is covered by 24/7 back-end support and monitoring.24/5 technical support, performance is covered by 24/7 back-end support and monitoring.
Partner needed?Direct or through partnerDirect or through partner
Physical datacentersCodeTwo Email Azure Service currently operates in 8 geolocations: West US, North Central US, Canada East, North Europe, UK South, Germany West Central, West Europe, and Australia East.Exclaimer Email Azure Service currently operates in 12 geolocations: West US East US, Canada Central, Canada East, North Europe, UK South, UK West, West Europe, West India, South India, Australia Southeast, and Australia East.
Multiple servers in one location or single?Multiple with failovers in secondary geolocations in the same region (for enhanced High availability (HA))Multiple with two paired load-balanced data centers in each region that also provides failover within your region (Active-Active HAC)
Pricing for 100 users – Monthly$ 1.01 x 100 = $ 100.65$1.25 x 100 = $125.00
Pricing for 100 users – Yearly$ 9.66 x 100 = $ 966.20$1.25 x 12 x 100 = $1500 – 10% discount = $1350
Websiteshttps://www.codetwo.comhttps://www.exclaimer.com
Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/CodeTwohttps://www.facebook.com/exclaimer
Youtubehttps://www.youtube.com/user/CodeTwoChannelhttps://www.youtube.com/exclaimer
LinkedInhttps://www.linkedin.com/company/codetwo/https://www.linkedin.com/company/exclaimer/
Twitterhttps://twitter.com/CodeTwoSoftwarehttps://twitter.com/exclaimer

 

 

Final Scorecard

Category

CodeTwo Email Signatures for Office 365

Exclaimer Cloud – Signatures for Office 365

SPF and DKIM recordsWinner
Editing of signaturesWinner
New Signature designsWinner
Adding HTML to SignaturesDrawDraw
Adding CSAT to SignaturesWinner
SpeedWinner
RulesWinner
SchedulingWinner
Object VisibilityWinner
Sender RulesWinner
Recipient RulesWinner
QR Code GeneratorWinner
CostWinner

 

Image Credits

Featured Image: pixabay Modified by Paul Ogier (Author), October 2019
All screenshots were taken by the author, October 2019

2 thoughts on “CodeTwo vs Exclaimer Email Signatures for Office 365: Speed, Function, SPF and DKIM, Designing, HTML, CSAT, Rules etc”

  1. Great review and comparison of these 2 email signature providers. We have moved from CodeTwo to Exclaimer as we found the use of the app to update the signatures a little old fashioned. We love the speed of everything that Exclaimer does.

    As an IT manager with CodeTwo, if CodeTwo stopped processing the signatures after hours, then I would have to connect to my work machine via TeamViewer and reconnect the CodeTwo app. With Exclaimer, we have never had an issue with the email signatures stopping working, but I was requested to update the banner for Christmas last year after hours and I logged in and changed the banner very quickly, WITHOUT installing an APP!

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