Manual for VSigGen 1.5
VSigGen is © 1998-2004 Gert-Jan Vons
This is version 1.5 of VSigGen, an e-mail signature
generator running under Windows.
Given a file with quotes, it will generate an e-mail signature in the
specified file, based on a user-defined format.
Most mailers store signatures in a text file, so by telling VSigGen
to update that file every couple of minutes with a new signature, your
e-mail signature will automatically change!
You can also configure a static signature to be used for more formal e-mail
messages, e.g. with your company name, address, and so on. When you select
this, it will remain active until it is overwritten with a random
signature when the time-out expires.
After starting VSigGen, you can access its functionality by right-clicking
on its tray icon.
By default VSigGen stays in the background so that it can automatically
change your signature file. The /once option can be used to tell
VSigGen to update your signature file just once and exit after that,
instead of installing itself in the background.
VSigGen runs under Windows 95/98/ME/NT4/2000/XP.
Where to get the latest version
The latest version of VSigGen can be found on
my web site.
Setting up VSigGen and your mailer
VSigGen's configuration dialog is opened by right-clicking on the
tray icon. In there, you have to specify a file containing the quotes,
a file in which the generated signature will be stored, and the layout
of the signature.
The signature can be updated manually or automatically, and the quotes
can be taken from the quote file either sequentially or random.
You can use VSigGen with any mailer that manages the signature using a
text file somewhere in the file system. See below for more information
on how this is done with popular mailers.
In Eudora, one creates a signature by selecting "Tools->Signatures",
and right-clicking in the signature pane.
Eudora stores its signatures in its Sigs directory, which
is where you should find the signature file you need to specify in VSigGen.
You can configure a signature file in the preferences dialog, see "Edit->
Preferences", "Mail & NewsGroups->Identity". Just specify the same path
in both the Netscape preferences and VSigGen.
Netscape 6, Netscape 7, Mozilla
Go to "Edit->Mail & Newsgroups Account Settings...", enable the "Attach
this signature" option, and specify a signature file.
Outlook allows you to configure a signature through
"Tools->Options->Signatures". You have to create a new signature,
and configure a common file for the signature both in Outlook and VSigGen.
In older versions of Outlook (Express), one can configure a signature file
in the "Tools -> Stationery..." dialog. Just click on the "Signature..."
button to configure the signature file.
This is a tough one. Pegasus Mail has separate signature files for
local and internet mails, and for plain text and formatted messages.
And that for a number of signature sets.
VSigGen only maintains a single signature file, not four of them.
For Pegasus Mail users, it is probably easier to use the built-in
variable signatures; just look up "signature" in Pegasus Mail's
Where to find quotes
You can find quote collections at the following sites:
Format of VSigGen's signature files
The signature file must be a plain ASCII file, with either DOS- (\r\n)
or UNIX-style (\n) line breaks. The generated signature will use DOS-style
When reading the signature file, each line starting with a '#' (original
VSigGen file format) or '%' (UNIX fortune file format) is considered to
be a quote separator line, and thus ignored.
Note that some signature collections use blank lines to separate the
signatures; this is not yet supported by VSigGen, but might be added in
the future. For the time being, just put a '#' or a '%' at the start of
each blank line.
new: A static signature can be configured and selected (e.g. for storing
the company name and contact information used for more formal e-mails.)
improved: VSigGen restores its tray icon after a Windows explorer crash.
improved: the signature can now be copied to the clipboard directly from
the preview dialog.
changed: A left-click on the tray icon now opens the preview dialog, which
eases the selection of an other signature.
updated: quote sources, Inno Setup 4.x, Visual Studio .NET 2003.
new: VSigGen now also accepts UNIX fortune cookie files, which use the '%'
character to separate signatures.
new: the /once option causes VSigGen to update the signature file just
once and exit.
improved: increased size of preview window, now 80 chars wide (was 67).
improved: Suspend/resume of PC now no longer results in a "can't read
quote file" message.
improved: VSigGen will no longer generate a pile of error messages when
a network (drive) outage takes a long time to solve (if you have your
mailer set up on a network drive).
bugfix: When re-installing or upgrading, a configured signature file is
no longer overwritten by the installer.
improved: (Un)installation now tests for the presence of a running
instance of VSigGen and tells user to terminate it first.
improved: Updated for Windows Me/2000/XP (support for larger tooltips).
improved: Created real install program using Inno Setup.
bugfix: with sig files > 32KB and random sigs, the first sig appeared
very often because of a problem in the random sig generator.
bugfix: the alt-tab icon was not initialised (alt-tab while the about
or the config dialog is on the screen)
Rewrote documentation in the form of a HTML manual page, updated the
links to sources of quotes.
bugfix: some missing accolades broke the sig generation.
bugfix: don't calculate full path when sigfile in registry is empty,
will result in a directory name.
added some more URLs for sig files.
documented sig file format in INSTALL.
converted README, INSTALL, and SampleQuotes.txt to DOS text files.
straightened out app termination (Exit versus kill in taskmgr versus
when quote file changes, a new quote is generated when the config dialog
is closed (old sig used to stay around until next time-out, and the old
sig could be an error msg).
when clicking on the configdlg's preview button, a new sig is generated
right away (it used to display the sig with an empty quote, requiring
a click on the next button to get a real preview).
improved error handling in config dialog: all fields of the dialog are
checked, also when doing a preview.
improved error run-time handling (file open/... errors), a popup is
displayed instead of generating a quote with an error msg.
relpaths are how converted to abspaths to avoid problems when the
curdir changes inside the file browse dialogs. Done during config dialog
validation and after reading the registry.
added some URLs to the readme.
oops, some files still included global.h
fixed problem with small screen fonts (some labels were clipped)
fixed problem with size of fixed-width font, was too small. Now, it uses
the default size instead of forcing it to 8 points.
improved code that keeps the menu from generating multiple copies of
the about/preview/config dialog.
clicking on about/preview/config will now put the window in the foreground
if already open.
version now automatically updated in resource and about
now use "quote" to indicate what is read from the quote file, instead
of calling everything "signature". The format string now also expects
%QUOTE% instead of the previous %SIG% (!)
signature is now updated immediately when quitting the configuration
preview now uses all the settings from the configuration dialog, instead
of only the signature format.
The max number of running instances of VsigGen is now limited to one.
User can now copy either the quote or the full sig to the clipboard
left-click on icon now generates new sig instead of opening the preview.
For those migrating from 1.0, you can keep your settings by renaming
"...\VSigGen\Settings\File with sigs"
$Id: manual.html,v 1.5 2004/09/26 08:30:44 Gert-Jan Exp $