Feb
20

How to create and use e-mail templates in Outlook 2010 and 2013

In this article you will learn how to create, save and use standard Outlook email templates. You will also find out how to reply with template in Outlook 2013, 2010 and lower or automatically add an email  template of your choosing to all new messages, replies or forwards.

Outlook e-mail templates is a really powerful feature, though often underestimated. Rather few people know that email templates exist in Outlook and even fewer know how to create and use them in the right way.

For example, do you know how to create beautiful feature-rich Outlook templates with any text formatting, pictures, signatures and attachments? Do you know you can open a template by clicking the shortcut or add it to the message by double-clicking the template's name in the e-mail window? Moreover, there is an easy way to reply with template in Outlook or have a certain template added to all new messages, replies or forwards automatically.

Just think how much time you could save if instead of typing the same text over and over again, you would simply click on a template and a nicely formatted e-mail message with pre-verified and therefore always accurate information is ready to be sent!

Creating email templates in Outlook

This section explains how to create and save email templates on an example of Outlook 2010. In Outlook 2013, it works exactly in the same way, with maybe some insignificant differences in the color scheme and design of the Outlook ribbon.

How to create an email template in Outlook 2010

You start creating an email template by composing a new message in the usual way (Home tab > New E-mail). Be sure to add all the details you want to save in your template, such as the body text, subject, attachment, recipient address if needed, and so on.

For example, you've created a new design of your newsletter and now want to save it as an email template in Outlook:

Creating an email template in Outlook

How to save an email template in Outlook

1. When you have finished composing a message, switch to the File tab and click the Save as button.
To save an email template, switch to the File tab and click the Save as button.

2. Select Outlook Template (*.oft) from the Save as type drop-down list, and give your new e-mail template an appropriate name.

Important! Do not change the destination folder where Outlook templates are saved, otherwise Outlook won't be able to locate them. By default, Outlook 2010 saves all template files to this folder C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.
Saving an Outlook e-mail template

Tip: In the same way you can make a template from any existing e-mail message that you either sent or received. Just open it from your Outlook folder, say Sent Items, switch to the File tab and click Save as.

How to use email templates in Outlook

1. To use an email template, navigate to the Developer tab and click the Choose Form button.
Navigate to the Developer tab and click the Choose Form button.

Note: In case you don't see the Developer tab on your Outlook ribbon, right-click anywhere on the ribbon and then click Customize the Ribbon.... This will open the Outlook Options dialog and you select the Developer check-box in left pane.

2. In the Choose Form dialog window, select "User Templates in file System" from the drop-down list next to Look in. You will see a list of all the e-mail templates you currently have, select the needed one and click Open.
Using an email template in Outlook

That's it! A new message will be created based on the chosen template, with the same message body, subject, formatting, images etc.

How to edit the Outlook email template

If you need to make any changes in your email template, open it as an email as described above and make the changes you want. After that save the template under the same name again as described in Saving an Outlook template. Done!

How to quickly access your email templates

If you frequently use one or more of your email templates, navigating to the Developer tab each time may seem quite a long way. In this case you can create a shortcut and place it on your desktop or pin the template to the task bar. The latter seems to be even a better option, so let's go ahead with it.

1. Go to the folder where all Outlook templates are located: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.

2. Find the needed template, select it and drag towards the Outlook icon on your taskbar. This will pin the template to context menu on your Outlook icon.
Pin the template to context menu on your Outlook icon

3. Next time you need to need to e-mail with template in Outlook, simply right-click the Outlook icon on the task bar and choose the template you want. As you can see in the screenshot below, you can pin several templates that you use most often.
You can pin several templates that you use most often.

If you don't want a particular email template on your task bar any longer, right click on it and choose Unpin from this list.

If you'd rather have a template shortcut added to the desktop, then open the folder with your Outlook templates, as described on step 1 above and select Send to >Desktop.
Add a template shortcut to the desktop.

This will create a shortcut on your desktop and you click it whenever you want to create an email message with this template.

How to share your Outlook email templates

An Outlook template is the usual file (.oft), so you can pick any template from the folder all Outlook templates are stored (C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates) and send it as a usual attachment or save to a hard drive or network share.

Automatically apply a template for all new messages as Outlook theme

If you want to apply a specific template for all new emails, then you'd need to create an HTML template first and then set it as your Outlook email theme. For example, you may want to use a particular font or background color in all email messages you send.

The below instructions describe the required steps to create an html email template in Outlook 2010, but you can use a similar technique in other Outlook versions too.

1. Design your email template and open it as a usual Outlook email message.

2. Switch to the File tab, click the Save As button and save the email as a HTML file to the Stationery sub-folder of the Microsoft folder. On Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8, this folder is located here: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Stationery.
Save the email as a HTML file to the Stationery sub-folder of the Microsoft folder.

You can also design your Outlook e-mail template using any other HTML editor and save the resulting html file to the same folder.

3. To set the newly created template as your default Outlook email theme, go to the File tab > Options > Mail > Compose messages section and click the Stationery and Fonts button.
Click the Stationery and Fonts button to set the newly created template as your default Outlook email theme.

4. Find your email template in the list of Outlook themes and click OK to set it as the default email theme.
The new default email theme is set.

From now on, your new Outlook email template will automatically be applied for all messages you are composing.

Where do I find free email templates?

There are tons of free ready-to-use templates on the web for all possible scenarios and occasions. Here are just a few examples:

As you can see, Outlook templates provide a handful of useful features that can save you a lot of time. But if your work implies sending tens or even hundreds of emails every day, the capabilities of standard Outlook templates may not suffice. For example, what if you want to reply with template in Outlook? And what if you have a few dozen templates for different occasions and you need to view the template's content in order to pick the most suited one and insert it in the message you are composing with a mouse click?

Does the above sound like a wish-list for the Microsoft Outlook development team? :) No matter how fantastic it may sound, all these features have already been implemented in advanced Outlook email templates that work with all versions of Outlook 2013 - 2003, and further on in the article you will find how to use them.

Advanced email templates for Outlook 2013, 2010, 2007 and 2003

As I've mentioned above, there exist Outlook email templates that you can use in all types of messages: new e-mails, replies and forwards. These templates do not require switching to other Outlook tabs, creating desktop shortcuts and the like. You can create, edit and inset a template in your message directly from the e-mail window, all with a single mouse click!

So, here it comes - Template Phrases for Outlook.
Outlook email templates for all message types: new e-mails, replies and forwards

Once installed, this plug-in adds a special pane to the right-hand part of your e-mail window that shows your own catalog of Outlook email templates grouped in folders and sub-folders. The content of the currently selected template is displayed in the preview window, as you see in the screenshot above. In your templates, you can use any text formats, insert various pictures e.g. your company logo, signatures, hyperlinks and so on.

If you don't want to see the Template Phrases pane when composing a message, simply click on the chevron button at the top right-hand corner and it will minimize to a small vertical strip, as you can see in the screenshot below.
The minimized Template Phrases pane

Creating email templates for new messages, replies  and forwards

1. In the e-mail message you are composing or replying to, select the text you want to add to the template and click the New template icon New template on the add-in's toolbar.

2. The selected text is automatically added to the body of your new email template and the first line of the text becomes the template's name. All text formatting, links and images will be fetched and added to the template you are creating.
The selected text is automatically added to the body of your Outlook email template.

Nothing can be easier, agree? In the same way, you can create an email template from any message you have sent or received in Outlook, or copy / paste the text from Microsoft Word or any other application.

Editing an Outlook template directly from the message window

1. If you need to make changes in your Outlook template, select it on the pane and either click the Edit icon Edit on the Template Phrases toolbar, or right-click on the template and choose Edit from the context menu.
Editing an email template

2. The editing window will open, you make the necessary changes and click OK to save them.

Inserting a template into an email message with a click

If you want to add a template to the message you are currently composing or reply with a certain template in Outlook, you have three options to choose from:

  • Double-click on the email template in the pane (my preferred way : )
  • Select a template on the pane and click the Paste icon Paste on the Template Phrases toolbar.
  • Right-click on the email template and choose Paste from the context menu.

Inserting a template into an Outlook message

Tip: You can assign a shortcut to your most frequently used template(s) and have it inserted in an e-mail message by pressing, say, Ctrl+Shift+1.
Assign shortcuts to your most frequently used templates.
If you want to use a particular email template in each new message, reply or forward, choose the appropriate option from the Shortcuts drop-down list and you will have the template added automatically to all messages of the selected type.Use a particular email template in each new message, reply or forward.

Sharing email templates

If you work as part of a team, you may want to share a set of verified and proof-read templates with your co-workers to ensure that everyone sends accurate and up-to-day responses to your clients or partners.

1. Put all the templates you want to share into one folder.

2. Select that folder, click the Backup & Share button on the Template Phrases toolbar and select the Export the selected folder.
Sharing email templates

3. Choose the destination folder of your local network and you are done!

When someone wants to add the shared folder to their template catalog, they need to perform the same 3 steps but choose Import to selected folder instead of Export on step 2. The imported folder with shared templates will be added to the end of the email templates tree.

Using macros in Outlook email templates

I know that many Office users have an innate fear of macros. If you are that user type, don't be afraid, in this case "macros" do not mean writing VB scripts and the like. The Template Phrases add-in has a pre-defined list of macros that you can use in your Outlook email templates to automatically attach a certain file, fill in To, Cc, Bcc or Subject fields etc. As well as all other manipulations with Template Phrases, adding a macro to a template takes just a couple of clicks.

1. When creating a new or editing an existing template, click the little arrow next to the Insert macros button in the lower left-hand corner of the window.
To add a macro to your Outlook email template, click the little arrow next to the Insert macros button.

2. This will open a list of available macros and you pick the needed one. The macros' names are self-explanatory, so you will easily guess what each particular one is purposed for. For example, to add an attachment to the template, you select ~%ATTACHFILE= that comes first in the list:
A list of available macros to be used in email templates

3. The Insert File dialog window will open and you browse for the file you want to attach and then click the Open button.

4. That's it! The attachment is added to your template.
A macro to attach the selected file to the email template

If can find more about macros and other Template Phrases features on this page: How to create an email template in Outlook.

And here how the template looks like when added to the message. As you can see in the screenshot below, I've used 3 macros: to fill in the Subject field, attach a file and insert the highlighted word(s) into the template's text:
An email template with 3 macros in inserted in the message.

If you are interested to try these email templates in your Outlook, you can download a trial version of Template Phrases. As I've already mentioned it works with all versions of Microsoft Outlook 2013, Outlook 2010, 2007 and 2003. I truly hope you will love these new powerful Outlook templates. And if you do, grab this coupon code AB14-BlogSpo that we provide especially for our blog readers and get your license with 15% discount. Alternatively, you can use this direct order link: get Template Phrases for Outlook with 15% off.

Anyway, please do share your feedback here in comments and thank you for reading!

41 Responses to "How to create and use e-mail templates in Outlook 2010 and 2013"

  1. Tom says:

    I would like to add my company logo so that it appears in the top left corner of all of my emails and doesn't move. I can add it as a new stationery option but when I tab down from the subject field, the logo moves down as well placing the cursor above it. Any suggestions?
    Thank you,
    Tom

    • Hi Tom,

      This definitely can be done. But we need to see the html code of your template to be able to say what exactly changes need to be made. If you can send us (support@ablebits.com) the .html file of your template from the Stationery folder (C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Stationery), we will try to help.

  2. Ларс says:

    How can I convert HTML file into Outlook 2010 template??

  3. Ismail Shani says:

    Thanks a lot, I have done setting default template back in 2012, but no idea, no matter how I thought I didn't remember. But this forum solves this dilemma.

    Thanks again

  4. Ismail Shani says:

    I tried and I am able to find my custom theme listed in theme section in stationery. But when I tried to set bullet for my listings, it doesn't take my custom bullet. Any idea?

    Thanks in advance,
    Ismail

  5. Linda martinez says:

    Can I take a part of the subject line and have it repeated somewhere in the email? Just part not call of the subject. Also can fill in fields be created in the email? Thx

  6. Hello Linda,

    Regrettably, this is not possible with standard Outlook email templates.

    Advanced email templates (Template Phrases for Outlook) described in the 2nd part of the article provide such capabilities.

    You can use macros to fill in To, Cc, Bcc and Subject fields.

    Also, you can use the following combination of 2 macros ~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[~%SUBJECT] to insert a subject or its part into an email. Every time you click the template to paste it into an email, you will see a dialog box with the subject text to be inserted, where you can remove some words and make any other edits. These edits will be applied to the subject's text inserted into the message body only, the Subject per se will remain intact.

  7. angie says:

    I have set up an email template. However, is it possible to make it customer specific? I want to be able to tab to the name and other various fields to make the changes. There is heavy volume, so I am trying to make this time efficient. Maybe there is another option that i do not know of. Thank you

    • Hi Angie,

      I am afraid Outlook email templates are not well suited for this purpose. You can check out the Mail Merge features. The above article describes how to do a mail merge from Excel to Word, but you can merge with your Outlook contacts list exactly in the same way.

      As an alternative, you can consider using some personalized software for Outlook such as Easy Mail Merge.

  8. Jack Bennett says:

    Dear Svetlana,
    I often am on a web site, click on something that tells me this is how to contact the organization and then an Outlook HTML E-mail form pops up with a send address in it. I write my subject and compose my message and then............ I cannot figure out how to send it. I did read somewhere that Ctr Enter would do it, but it doesn't work.

    This is really frustrating.
    Thank you,
    Jack

    • Dear Jack,
      I have never heard about such problem before. When I click an email address on some web-site, I always see a normal Outlook message window with the Send button. Anyway, for us to understand the problem better, can you please click our support address (support@ablebits.com) and then send us a screenshot of what you see?

  9. Ryan says:

    Good Morning Svetlana
    I have followed your instructions completely and created my template and saved in the right location. However I can run the form and open it up perfectly but when I send it to myself to test it I receive the email but with no text that I typed in at all. I have checked to see if the text box was enabled and visible etc which it is I just cant seem to fathom it out - any help would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you
    Ryan

    • Hello Ryan,

      It's very hard to diagnoze the root of the problem without seeing your template. If you can send it to me at support@ablebits.com as an .oft file (C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates), we will try to figure this out. You can remove any sensitive info, if any, and leave only the formatting and some sample text.

      • Ryan says:

        Hello Svetlana
        I have sent you the .oft template that I am using. There is no sensitive information in it. If you could have a look at it for me then that would be great.
        Kind Regards
        Ryan

        • Hello Ryan,

          You have created a very complex form, we are really impressed! I consulted our Outlook guru and he spotted a couple of issues that need to be fixed. I emailed you the details a few minutes ago, hopefully the information will be helpful.

          • Ryan says:

            Hi Svetlana
            You and your gurus have worked wonders - the form works perfectly now.
            Thank you ever so much.
            Ryan

  10. Tabitha says:

    Thank you for this clear, concise and applicable tutorial. After looking at, and attempting to use, several other tutorials, your was a breath of fresh air.

  11. Mohan Pakalapati says:

    Thanks a lot Svetlana Cheusheva! you saved my day,
    your post is clear and perfect

  12. Linda says:

    I want to create a template and have a file attached to it so I don't have to attach it each time I use it. Can this be done?

  13. Gilly says:

    Hello Svetlana,

    May I ask you if it would be possible to have a email template with different tabs? So I can use it for sending out information of different vendors in the same email.

    Kind Regards,

    Gilly

    • Hello Gilly,

      Regrettably, it's not possible to create an email template with tabs either with standard Outlook templates or with our Template Phrases add-in. The Template Phrases provides 'What to Enter' macro that prompts the user to enter some specific text in each message whenever the template is applied, though I am not sure this feature is fit for the case.

  14. G13 says:

    I have a custom email template with cells and rows. I have images I have inserted into some of theses cells and am having trouble setting the positions into these cells. is there an easy way to position and lock the images into these cells? center of the cell? top left corner? left margin-center of the cell? while locking them into position? i can drag the images all around but this a manual process and the positions are not necessarily uniform. thanks in advance.

    • From our own experience with sending newsletters, there is no easy way. Different email clients behave in a different way not complying with standards, and regrettably Outlook is not an exception.
      To be properly positioned, each image requires specific CSS styles. We do not know any way to do this via drag-n-drop.

  15. Rayna says:

    Hello. I have multiple Outlook profiles and when I add the stationery to one profile, it is using that for my personal work profile as well. I don't see a way with Outlook 2013 to assign the stationery to a particular email account, like you can with a signature.

  16. Melissa says:

    Hi Svetlana,

    I have created a form in Word 2013 using the developer tool. Followed all instructions I can find on inserting it into outlook in order to create an email template. Not for the life of me will the form work. PLEASE HELP! ... or if I can insert this form into gmail that would be better. Is this at all possible?

    Oh, the form works perfectly fine in word.

    Kind regards,

    Melissa

  17. Melissa says:

    Thanks Svetlana!

  18. chandini says:

    ive managed to create oft email template file and saved it. but unable to share it with my colleagues, how can do this?

  19. CarmCo says:

    I have a business partner who wants to save the template so that it is coming from a specific “From” email address. When we try to update it in the “From” menu, after we save it and try to open it again, it’s reverting back to my own email address.

    Is there a way to do this?

  20. AMY says:

    I have created a custom email template with custom fields to be filled out by my sales force. However somewhere along the way I do not have the ability to attach any files once I run the template. I am using 2007 and not sure what I am missing. When I try to use standard email fields, the attachment shows up a check box? Thank you.

  21. JosieW says:

    I created an email newsletter which contains a lot of images... Most people who open it up and read it on their desktop with Microsoft Outlook say it looks fine, however some people who open it up in Microsoft Exchange OR Microsoft Outlook on their smart phone (BlackBerry) have a ton of "attachement files" just show up!

    How do I get rid of those? Anybody know?

    THANKS!

  22. tomo says:

    Template can only made in Outlook 2010 and 2013? Mine is 2011. My Save As item is useless.

  23. Dan says:

    FYI: I had to find the file in Windows Explorer to drag it to my task bar. It would not budge from the Outlook template window. Right click also produced no menu.

Post a comment



Ultimate Suite for Excel Professionals
 
 
The best spent money on software I've ever spent!
Patrick Raugh
Ablebits is a fantastic product - easy to use and so efficient.
Debra Celmer
Excel is at its best now
Annie C.
I don't know how to thank you enough for your Excel add-ins
Jennifer Morningstar
Anybody who experiences it, is bound to love it!
Kumar Nepa
It's the best $100 we've ever spent!
Mike Cavanagh
I love the program, and I can't imagine using Excel without it!
Robert Madsen
One word… WOW!
Dave Brown
Love the products!
David Johnston
It is like having an expert at my shoulder helping me…
Linda Shakespeare
Your software really helps make my job easier
Jeannie C.
Thanks for a terrific product that is worth every single cent!
Dianne Young
I love your product
Brad Gibson
Awesome!!!
Sheila Blanchard