How to use Template Phrases in Outlook online

Template Phrases for Outlook Online will help you instantly reply emails by using your template phrases from the add-in pane. Below you can find a detailed description of how the add-in works.

Add and edit templates

Creating a new template is very easy: once you open the add-in, click on the +New button at the bottom of the pane. To create a new group of templates, click on the down arrow next to it:
How to create a new template.

  1. Enter a name for a template in the Title field. A title will make it easier for you to differentiate this template from others and quickly find it in the list.
  2. Choose the folder where you want to place the new template. If you are going to use this template often, mark it as favorite by clicking the star icon next to the folder field.
  3. Enter the template text. You can paste it from your reply or type from scratch. If the template implies some custom information or recipient each time you insert it, consider using macros.
  4. Click Save to see the template in your list, or Cancel to discard changes:
    Enter or paste template text and save it to your list.
  5. To update a template, select it in the list and click the Edit icon in the preview window at the bottom of the pane:
    Update the existing template.
  6. Make the necessary changes and click Save.

Add macros

Macros will help you automate such routine steps as filling in the subject and address fields, as well as adding a date, name, or other custom information when using the templates.

  1. To insert a macro, click the Macro icon in the template text box when editing it:
    Add macros to your templates.
  2. Choose the macro you need from the list and save changes.

There are two main groups of macros: the first group is for filling in the subject and address fields, the second one is for inserting information into the message body.

Below you can find the description of each macro.

Fill in address and subject fields

$Fill[TO]=
This macro will fill in the TO address field with the email address you enter after the equals sign. If there are other addresses in the field, the macro will remove them.

$Fill[CC]=
This macro will fill in the CC address field with the email address you enter after the equals sign. If there are other addresses in the field, the macro will remove them.

$Fill[BCC]=
This macro will fill in the BCC address field with the email address you enter after the equals sign. If there are other addresses in the field, the macro will remove them.

$Fill[SUBJECT]=
This macro will fill in the SUBJECT field with the text you enter after the equals sign. This macro will replace the subject you may have.

Note. Please keep in mind that all the Fill macros remove pre-existing data and paste new instead. If you need to add something to existing data, use the Add macros instead.

$Add[TO]=
This macro will add the email address you enter after the equals sign to the emails that are already present in the TO address field.

$Add[CC]=
This macro will add the email address you enter after the equals sign to the emails that are already present in the CC address field.

$Add[BCC]=
This macro will add the email address you enter after the equals sign to the emails that are already present in the BCC address field.

$Add[SUBJECT]=
This macro will add text you enter after the equals sign to the text that already exists in the SUBJECT field.

Note. To avoid confusion, please make sure you use either Add or Fill macros in one template.

Add information into the message body

  • General

    $SUBJECT[]
    inserts the contents of the Subject field into your email.

    $TIMESTAMP[DATE]
    inserts the current date into your email.

    $TIMESTAMP[DAYOFWEEK]
    inserts the current day of the week into your email.

    $TIMESTAMP[TIME]
    inserts the current time into your email.

    $WHAT_TO_ENTER[ text for replacement ]
    prompts you to enter the necessary text and pastes it instead of the macro every time you use a template. For example, if you add ~%WHAT_TO_ENTER [Company] to the template, each time you insert it you'll see a dialog box that will let you enter the company name.

  • Recipient information

    $TO[ADDR]
    adds the email addresses from the TO field into your message body.

    $TO[FULLNAME]
    takes the full names of the contacts in the TO field.

    $TO[FIRSTNAME]
    pulls the first names from the TO field.

    $TO[LASTNAME]
    lists the last names from the TO field.

  • Sender information

    $FROM[ADDR]
    inserts the email address of the FROM field into your message body.

    $FROM[FULLNAME]
    adds the full name of the FROM field.

    $FROM[FIRSTNAME]
    takes the first name in the FROM field.

    $FROM[LASTNAME]
    pastes the last name of the FROM field.

  • Carbon copy recipient information

    $CC[ADDR]
    adds the email addresses from the CC field into your message body.

    $CC[FULLNAME]
    takes the full names of the contacts in the CC field.

    $CC[FIRSTNAME]
    pulls the first names from the CC field.

    $CC[LASTNAME]
    lists the last names from the CC field.

  • Blind carbon copy recipient information

    $BCC[ADDR]
    adds the email addresses from the BCC field into your message body.

    $BCC[FULLNAME]
    takes the full names of the contacts in the BCC field.

    $BCC[FIRSTNAME]
    pulls the first names from the BCC field.

    $BCC[LASTNAME]
    lists the last names from the BCC field.

Mark templates as favorites

If you use a particular template more often than the other ones, mark it as favorite to get a quicker access.

  1. Select a template you often use.
  2. Click on the Star icon at the bottom of the preview window:
    Add tempolates to the Favorites list for a quicker access.
  3. You will see it listed in the Favorites group at the top of the pane.
  4. To remove a template from favorites, just click the Star icon in the preview window again.

Back up and import your templates

If you've been working with the desktop version of our Template Phrases add-in, you can transfer your records to the online version using the Import option. You can also use the Export option to avoid any data loss when switching to another user account.

How to import your templates

  1. Click on the menu icon with three dots in the bottom-right corner of the pane:
    Share, back up, and import your templates.
  2. Click Import and choose the .data file with your desktop version templates or a .ptd file to upload.
  3. You will see the imported templates in a separate folder. It will have the same name as the top folder in the file.

How to export your templates

  1. Click on the menu icon with three dots in the bottom-right corner of the pane and click Export.
  2. All groups will be selected by default. Clear the checkboxes of any groups you do not wish to export by clicking on them in the list:
    Choose groups to export.
  3. Click Export to download a .ptd file with your templates.

Insert templates into your replies

Whenever you reply to a common question, start the Template Phrases add-in from the Add-ins menu to add the answer in a click:

  1. Find the right template in the list (you can use the Search field at the top).
  2. Click on a template to see its preview at the bottom of the pane. You can change the height of the preview window by dragging the top border, or expand it to the entire height of the pane by clicking on the square icon:
    Change the size of the preview window using the top border.
  3. Click Insert in the preview window or double-click the template to add it to your message body.

Search templates

The Search field at the top of the pane allows you to quickly find the right template. Enter any word from your text snippet and see all templates that contain it listed below:
See the list of all matching templates in the field.

Responses

Somehow my template phrases add-in cannot load. It worked fine before, but now the templates are not loading. Any thoughts?

Reply

Hello, Chen,

Thank you for contacting us. I'm sorry you've encountered difficulties with our product.

For us to be able to assist you better, please email us to support@ablebits.com with the following information:
1 Are you trying to use the add-in in Outlook online or desktop Outlook?
2 Specify if you can't see the add-in sidebar at all or if the add-in loads but you don't see your templates there.
3 Are standard templates on place or you can't see them as well?

These details will help our support team understand the problem better.
Thank you.

Reply

Hello,

We just spent all day drafting email templates for our mailbox account. However, it looks like all the templates were deleted. Is there a way to recover them?

Vic.

Reply

Hello, Vic,
Thank you for reporting this problem to us.
We've got your message in our Inbox as well, and I'll reply to you there.
Thank you for understanding.

Reply

Hi,
just started the template and I think it will work. (Where) Can I change the font / font size for the template?
My Emails are in Arial 10, but the template is inserted as Calibri 11.
Please send answer also as Email. Thank you.

best regards from Germany
Matthias

Reply

Hi, Matthias,
Thank you for your interest in our product.

Per your request, we replied to you by email. Please check your Inbox for a message from Ablebits support team.
If it's not there, make sure to check the Spam/Junk email folders as well.

Thank you.

Reply

Can I get those instructions too? I would like to do things like bold and underline by default as well. Is this possible?

Hello,

I’m sorry, but the current version of the add-in stores all templates in plain text. We do consider adding formatting support in one of the next versions of the add-in, but I can't give you exact timing yet as there are some storage issues in Outlook online.

My apologies for any inconvenience.

Good afternoon,

I have the same question could you please advise?

Many thanks,

Good afternoon, Arantxa.

I'm afraid we haven't yet provided ways to format fonts in Template Phrases for Outlook online. If the feature is too important for now, please consider trying out our Template Phrases for desktop Outlook.

I sincerely apologize for any inconvenience.

Heather Martelle says:
February 12, 2019 at 8:24 pm

Hi. I am loving the possibilities of this add-in! I am wondering if there is a way to write in text formatting such as italics or bold into each template phrase?

Thanks,
Heather

Reply

Hi Heather,
Thank you so much for the kind feedback!
I’m sorry, but the current version of the add-in stores all templates in plain text. We do consider adding formatting support in one of the next versions of the add-in, but I can't give you exact timing yet as there are some storage issues in Outlook online. 
Our add-in for the desktop version of Outlook fully supports formatting, however, it is not free. Here is a link in case you would like to try it:
https://www.ablebits.com/files/get.php?addin=ol-template-phrases&f=free-trial

Thank you.

Reply
Heather Martelle says:
February 13, 2019 at 2:28 pm

Thanks so much for the reply and explanation!

Ivonne Rangel says:
December 18, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Are you also considering images/clip-art as part of the editing add on?

Ekaterina Pechyonkina says:
December 18, 2019 at 5:53 pm

Hello Ivonne,

Thank you for your question. Sorry, we do not plan to add images/clip-art editing in this add-in. Still, I should tell you about our brand-new Shared Email Templates tool that has improved functionality: https://www.ablebits.com/docs/outlook-shared-templates-intro/

Our business uses a number of email templates to send to customers which we are currently attaching a word file as "insert as text" so we can change pricing details etc. We are wanting to use OWA exclusively and are struggling to find a way to use these templates as they are too big to save in "My Templates" and the "Template Phrases" won't save the hyperlinks and text formatting.
What I'm wanting to know is, is there a way to save several templates with all the formatting/hyperlinks in Template Phrases or My Templates or is there a way to insert existing word files as text in OWA like you can in Outlook 2016? Please help!

Reply

Thank you for contacting us, Megan.

Template Phrases app for Outlook online you get from the store currently offers only plain-text templates. In other words, it doesn't support formatting and hyperlinks at the moment since the platform itself imposes some restrictions.

However, we have Template Phrases for desktop Outlook (a part of Add-ins Collection) that offers formatting support and other advanced functionality like shared templates. However, you can’t use it in the online version of Outlook. It is not free, but you can get a fully-functional evaluation version and see if it meets your needs.

Reply
Brett Levengood says:
May 29, 2019 at 1:33 pm

Hello,

I have multiple users using the desktop version of Template Phrases, and a few are also using the Outlook Online version.

We have always been able to import the .data file from the desktop client to the Outlook Online version. I see that it is listed as a supported feature in the "How to use Template Phrases in Outlook online" document. However, within the last few weeks, none of our users are able to import a .data file to the Outlook Online Template Phrases anymore.

Is there a fix for this? Anything we should try?

Thanks!

-Brett

Reply

Hello Brett,
Thank you for contacting us.

Our support team specialist has just replied to you via email, please check your Spam/Junk/Trash email folders if you still don’t see it in your Inbox.

Reply

Hello,

I am trying to export all the templates but I do not see a file being generated/downloaded after following the directions. Please help.

Reply

Hello Brendon,

If you work with the tool from the desktop version of Outlook, please open Outlook online and try to export from there. It should prompt you to select a folder to save the PTD file.

If this doesn't help as well, please email us to support@ablebits.com and specify your browser, operating system, and the version of your Outlook. We'll see what we can do.

Reply
Alejandro Flores de la Fuente says:
June 18, 2019 at 1:10 pm

Hola,
Me gustaría y sería muy útil el que también tuviera una macro para la fecha dando únicamente el mes y el año y otra que de únicamente el puro mes.
Si esto ya lo tiene me pueden decir cómo hacerlo?
Gracias

Hello,
I would like it and it would be very useful if I also had a macro for the date giving only the month and the year and another one of only the pure month.
If this already has it can you tell me how to do it?
Thank you

Reply

Hello Alejandro,
Thank you for contacting us.

I'm sorry, we do not have macros with the functionality you described. You can see the full list of the available macros here.

Reply
Charlotte Eley says:
July 23, 2019 at 2:44 pm

I have been using this add-on and it's great but I have been trying to add an additional template and it deletes as soon as i have used it. I currently have 10 templates and this will be my 11th. Is there a limitation on the number of templates you can have saved in the add-on app?

Reply

Hello Charlotte,
Thank you for contacting us.

We have just replied to you via email, please check your Inbox. Thank you.

Reply
Thomas Biebl says:
August 1, 2019 at 7:13 pm

I really like the features of your addin but it doesn't safes any templates and categories I create. It always gets reset to the defaults as soon as I reopen the addin.
Im using Exchange Online with Office 365 Pro Plus and the language of my Mailbox is German.
Is there a know Issue at the moment?

Best Regards
Thomas

Reply

Hello Thomas,
Thank you for contacting us.

Our support service assistant has replied to you via email, please check your Inbox. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to address them to support@ablebits.com. Thank you.

Reply
Tayamara de Hilster says:
October 2, 2019 at 6:44 am

Good day,

I had found the below video online about your product and I really liked it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JA5xYwP1gU0

But now I have installed it in my Outlook and the program has a lot less possibilities and looks a little different. Has this something to do with light and payed versions? How can I get the full version?

Kind regards,

Tayamara de Hilster

Reply

Hello Tayamara,
Thank you for contacting us.

Most likely you have installed the online version of our Template Phrases while the video refers to the desktop one. Our Template Phrases tool is available as a part of Add-ins Collection that you can install in a trial mode and check all the features out for free: https://www.ablebits.com/files/get.php?addin=ol-collection&f=free-trial

Reply

is three a way to change formatting of the templates?

Reply

Hello Ryan,
Thank you for your comment. I’m sorry, the current version of Template Phrases in Outlook online stores all templates in plain text.

Our add-in for the desktop version of Outlook fully supports formatting, however, it's part of the Add-ins Collection for Outlook and is not free. Here is a link in case you would like to try it: https://www.ablebits.com/files/get.php?addin=ol-collection&f=free-trial

Reply

Several months ago the templates stopped working in Desktop Outlook. They are still present in Online, but that doesn't help me, it's still adding an extra step to my workflow. I have altogether stopped using this add-on because of it, and am copying and pasting from my Sent folder to achieve the desired affect. The last toubleshooting rabbit hole I went down resulting in me being told to 'just use the online version'. Has there been any progress in fixing this issue with the Desktop version?
Thanks for your time,
Kenneth

Reply

Hello Kenneth,
Thank you for sharing your experience with us. We have just replied to you via email. Please check your Inbox for our message. Thank you.

Reply

Hi, today my computer upadted outlook (I guess to ver. 1908) and I cannot open the Template Phrases add-in. Any suggestion on how to solve this? Please let me know, thanks!

Reply
Ekaterina Pechyonkina says:
January 23, 2020 at 12:58 pm

Hi Federico,

Thank you for contacting us. I have just replied to you via email. Please check your Inbox. Thank you.

Reply

Hi,

My desktop version of Template Phrases stopped working. Side screen lunches but all the templates are gone and none of the menus/controls are clickable. How do I fix this?

Regards,
Piotr

Reply
Ekaterina Pechyonkina says:
January 24, 2020 at 7:11 am

Hi Piotr,

Sorry to hear you are having issues with our add-in. One of our agents sent you a message with the details. Please check your Inbox. Thank you.

Reply

Hello. The desktop version of Template Phrases has also stopped working for me, since the recent Outlook update. Are you able to send me or post instructions on how to fix this? Thanks.

Reply
Katerina Bespalaya says:
January 30, 2020 at 6:51 pm

Hello Rob,

Unfortunately, when updating Office and Windows, Microsoft has stopped caring about the compatibility with third-party add-ins, even with those tools published in their Office Store. I believe it caused the issue you've reported. Please check if you can still see your templates in the web version of Outlook and copy/paste them into the necessary location. Alternatively, you can export the .ptd file with your templates as described here.

Please also have a look at our brand-new add-in, Shared Email Templates, that may be of interest to you. Thank you.

Reply

The desktop version of "My Templates" in my outlook has also randomly disappeared. It shows in my web view but I have no idea why it disappeared from my desktop version or how to add it back

Reply
Katerina Bespalaya says:
February 26, 2020 at 8:53 am

Hello Meagan,

As it was mentioned in the comment above, the Template Phrases app may not work correctly in the desktop version of Outlook due to the latest Office and Windows updates. Unfortunately, we cannot do anything from our side to fix this problem. At the moment I can only recommend using the app in the web version of Outlook or try our new Shared Email Templates add-in as an alternative.

We are truly sorry for the inconvenience that may be caused to you by this.

Reply

I am have a similar issue that Brendon had in 2019. When i click export on the PC version of outlook, mac version and web version it simply reverts back to the template phrases main section.

Your help would be very helpful.

Reply

Hello Aaron,

Thank you for contacting us. Please check if you can still see and export your templates in the web version of Outlook:
1. Open Outlook online in your browser and sign in.
2. Click on the New message button in the top left corner.
3. Then click on the icon with three dots at the bottom of the New message window and select Template Phrases from the drop-down list.
4. When the add-in pane appears, your templates will be available for export.

BTW, you can import your existing templates into our brand-new Shared Email Templates:
https://www.ablebits.com/docs/outlook-shared-templates-import-folder/
Thank you.

Reply
Νικόλαος Παράβαλος says:
June 29, 2020 at 9:54 am

Dear AbleBits Team,

I need your help. How can I insert automatically the day before of the current day.
I tried with $TIMESTAMP[DATE-1], $TIMESTAMP[DATE]-1 and some other experiments but no result.

Best Regards,

Nikos Paravalos

Reply

Dear Nikos,

Thank you for contacting us. Unfortunately, we cannot offer you any solution at the moment.

Sorry for the inconvenience caused.

Reply

Hello,

I am able to get all of the $FROM macros to work properly, but the only $TO macro that populates anything in the body is $TO[ADDR]. Nothing appears when using $TO[FirstName], $TO[LastName], or $TO[FullName].

Please advise.
Thank you.

Reply

Hello Jeremy,

Thank you for your comment. The thing is, Template Phrases in Outlook online is no longer updated and supported since Microsoft became the cause of too many unsolvable issues. We've recently released a new tool called Shared Email Templates that is sort of an upgrade of the add-in you're using now: https://www.ablebits.com/docs/outlook-shared-templates-intro/

There are multiple macros available, and if you decide to transfer your templates from the old add-in into the new one, there'll be no problem at all. I believ you'll enjoy using our new Shared Email Templates 🙂

Reply

Hello Mary,
I love Template Phrases but recently, when i opened it, I only have an empty window. I'm affraid to have lost all my templates !!! where are the templates stored on my computer to try to recover them ? Do you know why i face this bug and how i can fix it ? Thank You !

Reply

Hello Sebastien,

I've just sent you the instructions on how to restore your templates and how to import them into Shared Email Templates via email. Please check your Inbox. Thanks!

Reply

Dear Ablebits Team,

Is there an option to assign a shortkey for each template and auto-enter the template once we enter the shortkey (similar to Shortkey software)?

Thanks,

Riju

Reply

Dear Riju,

Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, Microsoft doesn't provide a technical possibility to embed keyboard shortcuts into our add-in. However, we have introduced an alternative to shortcuts, which is called snippets, into our new Shared Email Templates add-in. For more details, please visit this page: https://www.ablebits.com/docs/outlook-shared-templates-snippets/

If you have any other questions or need further assistance, feel free to email us at support@ablebits.com.

Reply

Ask a question (posted publicly)

If you have any questions or issues with this add-in, please feel free to post your concerns in the comments area. As soon as we answer, a notification message will be sent to your e-mail. If you do not want to share your thoughts in public, please contact us at support@ablebits.com.
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