How many times have you sat staring at your blinking cursor while trying to decide on the best way to sign off an email or other communication? So what is a sign off, and what is the best way to use it, and when?

Let’s start with the basics: a sign-off is that small text people add right before they finish their letter. These one or two (or more) words define in many ways the relationship between the letter sender and letter recipient.

sign-off is that small text people add right before they finish their letter.

“With love” “Best regards” or even “Your obedient servant” are forms of signing off a letter, each expressing a different feeling from the letter writer or his or her recipient.

Definition of sign off is to announce the end of something (such as a message or broadcast) 2: to approve or acknowledge something by or as if by a signature sign off on a memo.

Merriam-Webster dictionary

Meet the Expert: Susie Wilson

Susie Wilson is the founder of the Susie Wilson Finishing School in Melbourne, Australia. She teaches people of all ages the timeless etiquette and deportment arts. Susie is passionate about education, and she works with everyone from corporate offices to children.

Susie began her formal finishing with her grandmother, Florence McMorhan. These weekly sessions helped Susie transition into successful adulthood. Today, Susie works tirelessly to ensure the decorum of yesteryear continues.

Susie Wilson, the Etiquette Expert
Susie Wilson, the Etiquette Expert

So how do you sign-off an email?

When your email recipient finishes reading your message they should find two things at the bottom of your email:

Both of these are an essential and expected piece of decorum, as Susie puts it. However, should you go with “sincerely” or “all the best”? Or maybe a cheeky “cheers?” Sometimes figuring out how to end your email can take even longer than writing the message itself. The etiquette there is intricate, and what Susie teaches can help.

The sign-off is just as important as the content of your email. The way you choose to close your email says a lot about your relationship with your recipient and will influence the way they respond to you. So it’s crucial to get it right.

What is the best way to sign off your emails?

Of 1,000 adults polled, among the most commonly reported sign-offs were “Thanks” (used by 62 percent of respondents, who were allowed to report more than one answer), just a name or initials (46 percent), “Sincerely” (44 percent), “Love” (28 percent), “Regards” (22 percent) and no signature at all (21 percent).

graph

Unfortunately, there really isn’t any one answer.

The way that you choose to end your email may depend on what you’re comfortable with and what your relationship is with the person who you are addressing. This is where the social skills Susie teaches are highly applicable as well.

Why are Email Sign Offs Important?

Email sign offs are an essential component of email overall, though they have expanded and adapted to other platforms as well. All the best email sign offs set the final impression of the message and seal the tone. Without them, your email may fall flat.

As mentioned, your choice of email sign off completes the impression someone gets reading your email. That means not giving it any thought can change the whole impression the client or your boss gets while reading. Talk about not finishing with a bang.

Your email sign off matters as the cherry on top. It helps people learn a little about you and how you view them while also offering you another opportunity to reinforce the relationship. Those impressions determine whether you get what you are looking for, which is why applying the etiquette experts like Susie teach is essential.

The Etiquette Question

As your digital communication has evolved, so too has the etiquette in such situations. Unfortunately, it’s new enough that there are many conflicting opinions regarding the best practices, especially for newer platforms.

For example, Slack has made its way into the business realm. Often, it’s used to communicate with whole teams. Do you choose the sign off based on the highest ranked person in the group? Or do you choose based on how comfortable you are? Can you opt for no sign off at all?

Those are the questions experts like Susie aim to answer. Figuring out the etiquette for these platforms that go beyond email is a challenge, especially since the answer must be practical as well.

Many disregard etiquette as an antiquated concept. However, considering it while choosing from all the best email sign-offs can help you navigate the line between informal and formal. Otherwise, you’re taking a guess based on your instincts.

Susie Wilson, the Etiquette Expert
Susie Wilson, the etiquette expert

Corvid-19 email sign-offs – very respectfully email

The COVID-19 is introducing a new email sign offs as everyone socially distances. This pandemic altered how you work and communicate dramatically.

The Normal became wishes that everyone you know remains healthy. Depending on your relationship like any other email sign off, the sign off “Stay Well” is popular in both informal and formal settings.

Towards that end, acceptable email sign offs changed. As the pandemic evolved, you likely saw new variations of good wishes. Today, wishing people health and wellness is normal, so it’s time to embrace it.

Not Sick -coronavirus email sign off

Sick -coronavirus email sign off

Formal Sign Offs in Business and Work

Business and work are perhaps the most important place to consider your email sign off. Your choice can dramatically affect how your email is received and what action the recipient takes. Therefore, personalizing each email sign off is best, even if you keep the signature uniform.

It’s important to maintain formality with business emails. You do not want to use something like “later gator” on something your boss might read at a later date or keep your colleagues at a distance by always using “regards” to end your email.

You will also need to tailor your email based on who you’re messaging and their relation to your organization. After all, what you send as a job applicant is distinct from what you would send to a client. These sign-off changes are based on decorum, says Susie.

Business Email Sign-Offs Best Practices

  1. Best – This is recognized at the most commonly used email sign off, and looking through my inbox I have to agree that this probably true. But I also agree with some that say that “best” is a rather benign and flavorless way to end an email. Many people who were once regular “best” users have since switched over to more meaningful sign-off choices.
  2. All the best – Breezy but not too casual for professional emails, this one is generally a good choice.
  3. Regards – A slightly warmer sign-off than “best.” It could be a good choice for when sending a quick message to someone or when responding to an email.
  4. Rgds –  I’ve seen this sign-off mentioned by others but I can’t recall ever receiving an email in which it was used. I think I would remember it too, because this unnecessary abbreviation would annoy me.
  5. Best Regards – This is the sign-off that I use the most frequently in my professional correspondences. It’s slightly formal but also has a friendly feel to it. I think it works well with almost any email.
best regards

For general business and work, consider these in order of formality:

  • Best regards
  • Best
  • Regards
  • All the best
  • Rgd

There are many specific circumstances that alter what you write as the sign off. All of these must take into account the common etiquette rules and levels of relationship. Respectfully email signature are easier to remember than others, and you will certainly use them more than others.

Signing an email to your boss requires consideration as to what type of boss you have and your relative position. You must also account for your relationship to your boss. The better you know your boss, the more likely you can move to a slightly less formal sign off.

The sign-off that you use in an email to your boss will depend on the kind of relationship that you have with him or her. Respectfully email signature are easier to remember than others, and you will certainly use them more than others.

If you have a casual formal relationship, as is often the case for anyone working at a small company or startup, then a casual sign-off would be suitable.

If you work at a company where your relationship with your boss is more distant and formal then a formal sign-off would be appropriate.

Email sign offs to your boss:

very respectfully email

Signing emails to colleagues also presents a unique dilemma. On one hand, you are still at work, and anything you write could end up in a formal meeting. On the other, you like your colleagues and hopefully are getting close with them. You will need to pick the right sign offs to capture your intent without feeling constantly formal.

Of note, you may not need to sign off if you’re exchanging messages quickly.

Email sign offs to your colleagues:

Remember, if you’re not sure where you stand with someone, it’s always respectfully email signature best to lean formal. Susie points out.

Emails to colleagues are usually more casual than other work correspondences and the sign-off that you use will depend on how close you are to your recipient.

In general, any of the below sign-offs would work:

talk to you later sign off

If your colleague has helped you out with something, or you are requesting their help, you can end the email with a “thank you” or “thanks so much for your help.”

You might not even need to include a sign-off if it’s someone that you are close with and whom you email regularly throughout the day. Such emails are more like quick text messages, which don’t require any sign-off.

Though in some work environments it may be common for colleagues to use more intimate sign-offs, such as “XOXO” or “warm regards,”.

Business outreach Sign Offs

Outreach focuses on potential partners, so you want to put your best foot forward. That means leaning a little more formal while picking the best email sign off. You also want to be warm and leave a positive impression so the representative is inclined to reach back to you.

Potential sign offs:

  • Please let me know if you have any (other) questions that I can answer for you, for the full list

B2C Sign Offs

Talking to customers is essential, and ensuring they get the right impression is paramount. You may find your company has established guidelines for this category, so check that out. After all, treating clients right is how companies stay in business.

Customer support is a complex relationship. You’ll need to make sure the customer feels they’re getting personal attention regardless of how fast you solve their problem. Therefore, you want to make sure you are personable and seem available. Susie points out that customers also tend to need to feel esteemed.

How to sign off an email to a client?

The sign-off that you use with clients will depend on your industry, the content of your message and your relationship with your client.

How to sign off an email to a new client?

When emailing a new client who you are just getting to know it’s a good idea to keep the tone of the email slightly formal and to use a sign-off such as “best regards,“kind regards,” or “all the best.”. Sometimes a promising sign off such as “Looking forward to working with you!” can do the job and start the relationship in a good tone according to Susie.

How to sign off an email to someone you don’t know well?

When emailing someone that you don’t know very well, take into consideration the content of the email and the identity of your recipient when picking which sign-off to use.

In general, you’re best off going with a friendly but slightly formal sign-off like “best regards” or “all the best.”

If you expect to see or meet the recipient in the near future then you can end the email with “I Look forward to speaking with you” or I look forward to meeting you.”

How to sign off a customer support email?

When you write an email that provides a solution to a problem that your customer has encountered with your product or service, you can sign off using one of these options:

  • Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
  • Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with. Click here for the full list

Prospective clients are a little different. These folks are attempting to connect with your company, and as you know, people buy based on feelings. Therefore, you need to evoke a positive feeling wherever possible while appearing personable and confident in the product. That makes choosing from all the best email sign offs difficult.

How to sign off an email to a prospective customer?

When sending an email to a prospective customer you want to make sure that your sign-off leaves your recipient with a positive feeling about you and your business.

  • Please let me know if you have any (other) questions that I can answer for you.
  • Let me know if there is anything else that I can help you with. Click here for the full list

Job Seekers sign offs

Looking for a job is stressful, especially when you know the company is evaluating your every word. A cover letter is one of the few instances in which using the sign-off “sincerely” is appropriate since the email is a formal one.

You can also end your email with “I look forward to hearing from you,” which will make you sound confident and serves as a gentle prod to your recipient to respond to your message.

Another good option is “thank you for your time” which shows appreciation towards the hiring manager and will leave a positive impression.

Cover letter and email sign off options:

  • Sincerely
  • Thank you for your time
  • I look forward to hearing from you
  • Thank you for your consideration

A cover letter is one of the few instances in which using the sign-off “sincerely” is appropriate since the email is a formal one.

You can also end your email with “I look forward to hearing from you,” which will make you sound confident and serves as a gentle prod to your recipient to respond to your message.

Another good option is “thank you for your time” which shows appreciation towards the hiring manager and will leave a positive impression.

Academic sign-offs for use in college or university

The academic setting is often the first place students and teachers are on more even footing as Susie puts it. However, that does not mean you should disrespect your professors by using a slang sign off. Instead, stick to something formal until they demonstrate a lower level of formality.

Suitable options:

Military Email Sign Offs

In some ways, signing off to a member of the military is easier than any other category. You will find that there are fewer options, and therefore less of a decision. Of course, some units will be less formal and you may employ the occasional “Thank you.”

The military choices:

  • V/R email – Use V/R email sign off If the sender is junior
  • Very respectfully email- respectfully email signature should be addressed to someone in a higher power such as a commander.
  • R/ – address r/ email signature if the sender is senior, also military emails sign-offs to civilians are often /r See more best email sign off examples.

How to sign off an email with multiple names:

When signing off an email with multiple names, such as co-workers or corporate members. The person who is writing the email will put their name and team name or they will mention the title of the person who ranks higher in the organization for example:

  • Best,
    (first name, last name) and the (company name/ department)
  • Best regards,
    CEO John Doe, and team

Stick with a traditional sign-off, any of these would be a good choice of all the best sign off

  • Best regards
  • Kind regards
  • All the best
  • Thank you

Informal email sign offs

a. Friendly sign offs 

A sign-off and an email signature in an email composer window is a boundless opportunity. With informal and friendly sendoffs, you can express yourself. You may even use a warmer or goofier sign off on an informal email. The weight of decorum is less, as Susie puts it.

b. The “warm” sign-offs

kind regards
  1. Kind regards/ warm regards – I don’t think I have ever actually used either one of these but they have a feel-good sentiment that I like. When I do receive emails that sign off with one of these messages I can’t help but feel more favorable towards the sender.
  2. Take Care – This sign-off sounds a bit too much like a warning to me (take care? Do you know something that I don’t) and if used at all, should be reserved for personal emails.

c. The thankful sign-offs

Thanking your email recipient at the end of the message is a common practice which gives the note a friendly tone. Some people say that this sign-off should only be used when you are actually thanking your email recipient for something specific. Others use this sign-off for most of their emails.

Thank you – According to polls made a majority of people don’t mind receiving a thank you at the end of their emails, and find it a lot less annoying than most of the other sign-off options. I personally do use this sign-off quite often and view the “thank you” as an appreciation to the recipient for taking the time to read through my message.

Thanks or Thanks! –  Similar to the full-out “thank you.” Though be aware that to some people a simple “thanks” may come across as a bit terse. Attaching an exclamation point to the end can make the thank you sound a bit more sincere and enthusiastic.

Thank you so much – Adds a note of sincerity to your thank you.

Many thanks – Another warmer alternative to a simple thank you.

majority of people don’t mind receiving a thank you at the end of their emails

d. The emotional sign-offs

  1. Sincerely – If you’re wondering when to use “sincerely” in an email the answer is: very rarely. While this used to be a common way to close a handwritten note,  today it would be considered a little too formal for most email exchanges. You’ll probably come across a few situations in which “sincerely” is appropriate, such as when emailing a cover letter or when sending a formal letter to a superior or government official.
  2. Love – Used only for close friends and family members. The love sign-off is not relevant when sending a corporate or business email.
  3. Cheers – I like the cheerful vibe of this sign-off though I personally don’t think I could pull it off. If this is something you’d say in real life then you can probably get away with it in your emails as well. Otherwise, it may come across as pretentious if you’re not British or Australian.
  4. Respectfully/ Respectfully yours/ Very respectfully – These are too formal for most email communications. “Respectfully” and “very respectfully” or (V/R) are used in the military and they also may be appropriate for emailing government officials and clergy. This could also be a good sign-off for an email to someone that you deeply admire and respect.
  5. Xx – I have never received a professional email with this sign-off and I would probably be taken aback if I did. But according to Will Schwalbe, author of, “SEND: Why People Email So Badly and How to Do it Better,” it’s become acceptable to use this sign-off in casual business correspondences
  6. Xoxo – Save this one for emailing good friends, or your mother.
  7. Yours / Yours truly – A formal sign-off that was more commonly used for written letters, back in the day.

e. The spiritual sign off

Spiritual sign offs are a great informal option, especially if you know the spirituality of the recipient. These sign offs generate a warm feeling in the recipient and generally make the email more positive. Remember, spirituality and religion are two distinct things, so choose from all the best email sign offs wisely.

Spiritual Options:

Namaste email sign off

f. The holiday and religious Sign-Offs

Depending on your faith, you may regularly communicate with friends and family of the same faith. That’s the perfect opportunity to use a religious sign off. Using these sign offs connects you to the community.

Christian sign offs:

Jewish sign offs:

  • Chag sameach (happy holliday), for more.

Muslim sign offs:

  • as-salāmu alayk – Single, Feminine, for more

g. Condolences sign offs

Unfortunately, condolences may be necessary at any point. Having an idea of what you might say will prevent you saying something offensive in most cases, and preparedness maintain social grace according to Susie. After all, we’re all human, and we all grieve.

Condolence Sign Off Options:

  • Our thoughts and prayers are with you
  • I am so sorry for your loss
  • My condolences, for more

h. The Unique Email Sign-offs

There are also fun ways to end an email, ones that make your recipient smile. Though before using it consider if it’s appropriate for the context and recipient.

Sometimes a unique sign-off can help make your email memorable.  Just make sure it’s not a sign-off that’s too obscure or just really annoying.

Here are a few out-of-the-box sign-offs:

i. The funny Reddit sign off

Reddit is a fun platform, and there are some wild sign offs across the forums. You can appropriate some of these for informal email sign offs, especially for friends who could use a laugh. Just make sure your audience is receptive.

Fun Reddit sign offs:

  • This message will self-destruct
  • Please print and burn after reading

Closing with an Email signature

While your sign-off provides the final farewell to your recipient and the signal that your message has ended, your email signature lets them know how they can get in contact with you.

Don’t have an email signature? – Get one for free with an email signature generator

In some cases your recipient might even scan your signature first in order to see who you are and what professional details they may glean about you. So it’s important to have that information easily available to them.

Here is the basic information that your email signature should include:

  1. First and last name
  2. Company name
  3. Title/position

Most people also like to include contact details and links to other places online where they can be found, that information can help you drive traffic to your marketing channels and increase sales. Here are some additional information that you may want to include in your signature:

  1. Phone number
  2. Email address
  3. Mailing address
  4. Website
  5. Social media profiles links

Email signature example with detailed information

Tips for getting the most out of your email signature

  1. Automate your email signature using a tool like WiseStamp so that once you set up your signature it will automatically be added to all of your emails. This will be a lot easier than copying and pasting your signature every time.
  2. Add a profile picture to your signature to help make you more memorable or use a handwritten sign-off customized to your liking.
  3. Include a call-to-action in your signature to turn your emails into powerful marketing tools.
  4. These can be in the form of banners, YouTube videos or even just a link inviting you email recipients to visit a landing page or participate in an upcoming event.
  5. Don’t make your signature too long or busy because it might distract your recipients from the main content of the email.

B. Say goodbye with style

Your sign-off signals to your email recipient that your email has come to an end, and this is your parting message. Ending an email without a sign-off is like walking away from someone at the end of a conversation without saying goodbye. It doesn’t leave a good impression, and you should always strive to end things well according to Susie.

Your email signature allows your recipient to quickly identify you, before even reading the email, and to easily find the various ways that they can get in contact with you.

Want a designed stunning email signature? Get one here!!

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