Application Development

Modifying email signatures with the Gmail API

Posted by Wesley Chun (@wescpy), Developer Advocate, G Suite

The Gmail API team introduced a new settings feature earlier this year, and today, we're going to explore some of that goodness, showing developers how to update Gmail user settings with the API. Email continues to be a dominant form of communication, personally and professionally, and our email signature serves as both a lightweight introduction and a business card. It's also a way to slip-in a sprinkling of your personality. Wouldn't it be interesting if you could automatically change your signature whenever you wanted without using the Gmail settings interface every time? That is exactly what our latest video is all about.

If your app has already created a Gmail API service endpoint, say in a variable named GMAIL, and you have the YOUR_EMAIL email address whose signature should be changed as well as the text of the new signature, updating it via the API is as pretty straightforward, as illustrated by this Python call to the GMAIL.users().settings().sendAs().patch() method:

  signature = {'signature': '"I heart cats."  ~anonymous'}
GMAIL.users().settings().sendAs().patch(userId='me',
        sendAsEmail=YOUR_EMAIL, body=signature).execute()

For more details about the code sample used in the requests above as well as in the video, check out the deepdive post. In addition to email signatures, other settings the API can modify include: filters, forwarding (addresses and auto-forwarding), IMAP and POP settings to control external email access, and the vacation responder. Be aware that while API access to most settings are available for any G Suite Gmail account, a few sensitive operations, such as modifying send-as aliases or forwarding, are restricted to users with domain-wide authority.

Developers interested in using the Gmail API to access email threads and messages instead of settings can check out this other video where we show developers how to search for threads with a minimum number of messages, say to look for the most discussed topics from a mailing list. Regardless of your use-case, you can find out more about the Gmail API in the developer documentation. If you're new to the API, we suggest you start with the overview page which can point you in the right direction!

Be sure to subscribe to the Google Developers channel and check out other episodes in the G Suite Dev Show video series.