How to Properly Sign Off on an Email

Are you itching to add that cute emoji to your signature every time you send off an email, even if it’s meant for business? Could there possibly be a way for you to get around the stringent rules on email etiquette, especially when you want your personality to be reflected in your sign off? Learn about the right way to say your email adieus.

by Mabie Alagbate, 10 August 2017

You may have the urge to make your email as personalized as possible, but you also have to know when to keep it professional.

Sending an email can be a lot more complicated than meets the eye. It’s not simply a matter of correctly addressing it to the proper recipient and using the appropriate tone for the message of the email, but also how you sign off before hitting that send button.

How do you sign off appropriately in an email, anyway? Can you put a smiley or any other emoji that represents your personality next to your name to give the feel of congeniality? What about your placeholder quote sitting right under your signature? Would you have to remove that every time you send out an email to your boss, or is it something that you can retain so that your personality shines through even in an email? Too bad if you’d have to, especially if it’s such an inspiration for you, too!

As much ado as there is about email etiquette and properly signing off, however, it still doesn’t have to be rocket science. Here are tips you should consider when closing your email for your business correspondence.

Don’t Be Too Abrupt

Sure, business emails are generally expected to have a formal or even brisk tone. This should not be taken to mean, however, that you can be abrupt and downright cold, especially when ending your email.

Some people are in the habit of simply ending their email with a dash (—) followed by their name. This practice makes you appear very distant, and is not even all that formal in its form. It’s just very no-nonsense and seemingly disinterested, done by a can’t-wait-to-bolt-out-of-here type. The point is that you’d like to wrap up your email as congenially as possible (unless of course if it’s to call out a wayward employee, which is a different matter altogether), and a dash in this context simply won’t cut it.

Say It Only If You Mean It

The “well-wishes” world of email sign-offs is full of choices. There’s “Best”, “Yours”, “Sincerely”, and “Thanks” and their many other permutations. Right now, there seems to be a consensus among the email experts that signing off with “Best” is just about the laziest way you can sign off an email. Usually, this is paired with “Regards” or “Wishes” which implies your intention to send them your best possible well-wishes. Sometimes, people just leave it at “Best”, which then begs the question of what this “Best” being referred to in the email is.

If you’re aiming for sincerity, you can say “Thanks” or any other version of it, but only as long as you are indeed expressing gratefulness for something like perhaps if the email is referring to a favor or expected action. “Looking forward” is another sincere sign off you can use, especially if there is indeed an anticipated follow-through to a previously held meeting or correspondence.

Don’t just use generic go-to phrases that do not really fit the content and context of your email, and especially don’t use jargon for no apparent reason.

Refrain from Being Too Casual

There’s a lot more leeway for you to be more playful with your expressions when sending messages to your friends. You can even construct your entire email with emojis, if you would like. In a business email, however, you need to keep it formal, or at the very least, professional. So, in as much as you are tempted to close your email with “XOXO”, which means hugs and kisses, don’t.

For some, however, the use of X following your name, such as “Peter X,” for example, could be acceptable, granted that there is a clearly established rapport or closeness between the correspondents. Otherwise, it’s best to approach this sign-off with caution. Its other variety, “xoxo”, is a lot worse. Never use this in a professional email, as this is reserved for emails to  friends and more familiar and intimate correspondences.


Using proper sign offs is an indication of mindfulness in completing an email. You want to leave a good impression from start to finish, so don’t drop the ball at the end of your message. Consistency indicates professionalism, too, so make your email worthy of the time and attention of your reader.