How do I Add a Disclaimer to E-Mail?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

The process of adding a disclaimer to an email is rather simple, but the issue of getting the wording right within that disclaimer takes a bit of consideration and planning, and it is also important to make sure that the text of the disclaimer is differentiated from the body of the email. Most email systems allow users to add a standard signature to all of their emails. Some people use this as a way to avoid re-typing their contact information every time they send out an electronic missive. It is in this section that one can add a disclaimer that will be sent out at the bottom of all of their emails. Alternatively, one can add a disclaimer manually to emails as needed, either creating the text of the disclaimer within the body of the email or pasting it from another source.

Man holding computer
Man holding computer

There are a number of ways to make sure that people receiving emails with disclaimers can easily distinguish between the body of the email and the text of the disclaimer. Some people use punctuation such as a series of dashes or periods to create a visual break between the email and the disclaimer. Another way make the text of the disclaimer look different from the text of the email is to use different font sizes, font styles, and font colors. If the text of an email is black in 12-point Times New Roman font, then the text of the disclaimer could be blue in ten-point Courier New font.

Companies that require workers to add a disclaimer to all emails usually provide the text of the disclaimer. Those who want to add a disclaimer that is not provided for them should first consider the protections they are hoping to gain from the disclaimer. Then they can work to create a text that is concise, while still affording them the protections that they need.

In some cases, it may be necessary to consult a lawyer in order to add a disclaimer that serves unique needs. There are a number of standard email disclaimers that can be borrowed for basic confidentiality protection. These are readily available online. If something more complex is needed, then it may be necessary to seek legal counsel. A legal professional will be able to help created the right language to help secure the needed protections.

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

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Discussion Comments


@Fa5t3r - That would be beside the point though. If they cut off the disclaimer then it wouldn't be attached to the message, but the email source still would be and the legal purpose of the disclaimer might be voided.

I think the most you could hope for is some kind of smart email that would clear up multiple identical disclaimers into a bundle or something like that.

But I have a friend who works for the government and I know he has to be absolutely careful that there is a disclaimer on everything he says in public forums, even on facebook, because it's so easy for people to take offense.


@browncoat - People should try to keep these to an absolute minimum. I have a mailing list with my family and most of them work in offices of some description, so whenever we have a bunch of replies there seems to be ten minutes worth of scrolling through disclaimers to get to the actual messages.

I understand that you have to add a disclaimer to your email if you're working for a company and you use their email addresses but there should be some way of automatically cutting them off from replies so that they don't clutter up the whole thing.


I would double-check with my workplace if you don't happen to have one of these because they seem to be fairly standard these days. Don't try to add one yourself unless they tell you to, or you work for yourself. You don't want to get the wording wrong and offend someone or put yourself in legal trouble or something like that.

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