How to use Outlook drafts as templates

In Shared Email Templates for Outlook

You can use your Outlook drafts as templates in Shared Email Templates. To do this, you create an Outlook folder, store your drafts in this folder and connect this folder to Shared Email Templates. These drafts will be displayed in your templates list and you'll be able to use them to create new messages or quick replies.

Video: Link Outlook folder and share drafts in team

Before you start

When you use Outlook drafts in the add-in, please consider the following points.

Linked Outlook folders

To use your Outlook drafts as templates, you collect them all in one or several Outlook folders and then link these folders to your Shared Email Templates account.

No automatic synchronization

The linked Outlook folders are not synchronized automatically with Shared Email Templates and you'll have to refresh data after each edit made in these Outlook folders.

Edits only in Outlook

You can edit your drafts as regular Outlook messages directly in Outlook, not in a linked folder in Shared Email Templates.

Sharing within one business domain only

The linked Outlook folders can be shared within one Office 365 business domain. For example, if your Outlook business account is user@company.com, you can't share your drafts with a colleague with an email account user@business.com

No sharing for personal or free accounts

If you have a paid personal Office 365 account (Home, Personal or Student) or a free Outlook.com account, you can't share your Outlook drafts in Shared Email Templates.

Rich text formatting is not displayed in the Preview field

When you stand on the template, in the Preview field, you will see the template contents in plain text, rich text formatting is not displayed.

Step 1: Create new Outlook folder and save drafts there

  1. In Outlook, right-click the root Outlook folder or any subfolder and select New Folder:
    Create New Folder.
    Name your folder and press the Enter key:
    Name New Folder.
  2. If you want your drafts to be available to other people in your team, you have to grant access to the created Outlook folder to your teammates.
  3. In Outlook, under the Home tab, click the New Email button. Fill all the fields you want to save in your template and click the Exit button in the top-right corner of the window. In the dialog box, click Yes:
    Save your draft.
  4. By default, Outlook saves drafts to the Drafts folder. So, stand on the Drafts folder, right-click the draft you want to use as a template, and pick the Move option. Select the folder you will link to Shared Email Templates:
    Move the template to the folder.
  5. Now, when we have an Outlook folder and a draft in it, let's connect this folder to Shared Email Templates.

To link an Outlook folder to Shared Email Templates, take the following steps:

  1. Start Outlook, create a new mail and run Shared Email Templates.
  2. Right-click a team or the My Templates folder and select the Connect Outlook Folder option:
    Pick Connect Outlook Folder.

    Note. If you link an Outlook folder to the My Templates folder in Shared Email Templates, your drafts cannot be shared and can be used by you only. To make your Outlook drafts shareable, link the Outlook folder to your team.
  3. Pick the Outlook folder and hit the Select button:
    Select the folder to connect.
  4. You will see the linked Outlook folder and its messages. It is marked by a blue "folder" icon with a letter "O":
    Linked folder in your tree.

    Note. When you stand on the template, in the Preview field, you will see the template contents in plain text, rich text formatting is not displayed:
    Plain text in Preview.

Refresh data

If you change, add, delete, or rename your drafts in Outlook, you'll need to refresh data in Shared Email Templates.

Note. Outlook may need up to 5 minutes to process changes you've made in your Outlook drafts, so we recommend that you wait a couple of minutes before refreshing the linked folder in Shared Email Templates.

There are two ways to refresh data:

  • Click the Refresh Data button at the bottom of the pane when you stand on the folder:
    The Refresh Data button.
  • Right-click the linked folder and pick the Refresh Data option:
    Click Refresh Data.
Note. You can refresh data in the Outlook add-in only, in the web app this option is unavailable as the app can't access your Outlook folders.

Disconnect Outlook folder

If you no longer need to use drafts from a folder, right-click it and hit Disconnect Outlook Folder:
Click Disconnect Outlook Folder.

Also, you can stand on the folder and click the Disconnect Outlook Folder icon in the preview pane:
Click Disconnect Outlook Folder in preview.

Share your Outlook drafts in team

If you want to use Outlook drafts in a team, bear in mind that the linked Outlook folder won't be available to your teammates if you don't give access to your initial Outlook folder to them.

How to give access to your Outlook folder

  1. In Outlook, right-click the folder with your drafts and select Properties:
    Click Properties.
  2. Open the Permissions tab and click Add:
    Open Permissions.
  3. In the Add Users dialog window, find the Outlook account(s) you want your drafts to share with, click the Add button and then hit OK:
    Add users.
  4. In the Properties dialog window, stand on the name of your colleague, open the Permission Level drop-down list, and pick Reviewer. Click OK:
    Pick Reviewer.

    Tip. The Reviewer permission level allows other people to only see your Outlook folder and use its drafts in Shared Email Templates. If you want them to be able to edit your drafts, you can select higher permission levels.
  5. Now enable the Folder Visible option for all the parent folders, including your Outlook mailbox:
    • Right-click the root folder of your mailbox and pick Folder Permissions:
      Root Folder Permissions.
    • For the mailbox, the sufficient permission level is Folder visible, you can simply check this box in the Properties dialog window:
      Make folder visible.
Note. The enabled Folder Visible option lets other people see the folder structure but not its contents.

That's it! Now you can invite mates to your team if you haven't done this yet.

Known issues

If you were invited to a team and you try to paste a shared template from an Outlook folder to your email, the following error message may pop up:

The Item not found error.

There are two reasons why this happens:

  • This item was moved or deleted by the owner of the folder or somebody else with corresponding permissions.
  • The Outlook folder that contains this templates is not shared with you in Outlook and thus you cannot use templates from this folder in Shared Email Templates.

Unfortunately, we cannot detect, which of the cases is yours, so, please, do the following:

  1. Right-click the team and select Refresh Data or stand on the team and click the blue Refresh Data button:
    Refresh the team.
  2. If you get an error message again, this means, that you do not have the access permission to this Outlook folder. Please contact the owner of the folder.

Responses

Last week when I got a fresh version of Outlook installed on a new computer, there was an option in my Outlook Inbox to "Click here to add a new post" (or something along those lines...Maybe an MS Teams integration feature?). You could write something inside of the box, hit enter, and it would drop the message into your inbox like you just received an email display in your inbox. This seems to be useful to jot down reminders for the day, and more convenient than the Tasks feature. Has anyone ever seen this, and/or what it takes to have it display in Outlook? I made some changes in Outlook, and it went away, but I didn't realize until a few weeks later. I have gone through what feels like everything to get it to reoccur, but no luck.

Any help is appreciated.

Reply

I have never seen this in Outlook. But what you described looks like an interesting feature. Is it Office insider?

Reply

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