In this paper, we review the differential signalling technique and investigate its implementation of in free-space optical (FSO) communication systems. The paper is an extended version of our previous works, where the effects of background noise, weak turbulence and pointing errors (PEs) were investigated separately. Here, for the first time, we present a thorough description of the differential signalling scheme including for combined effects. At first, we present an extension of the analysis of differential signalling to the case of moderate to strong atmospheric turbulence. Next, we investigate a more general case where both channel turbulence and PEs are taken into consideration. We provide closed-form expressions for the optimal detection threshold and the average bit-error-rate, and present a set of numerical results to illustrate the performance improvement offered by the proposed differential signalling under various turbulence and PEs conditions.