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!
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:
- When you have finished composing a message, switch to the File tab and click the Save as button.
- 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.
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.
- To use an email template, 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.
- 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.
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.
- Go to the folder where all Outlook templates are located: C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- Design your email template and open it as a usual Outlook email message.
- 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.
You can also design your Outlook e-mail template using any other HTML editor and save the resulting html file to the same folder.
- 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.
- Find your email template in the list of Outlook themes and click OK to set it as the default email theme.
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:
- Collection of email templates from Microsoft
- Email newsletter templates
- Sample letters (sample letter texts and templates)
- Thank you letters (this is our own collection of thank you letters, after job interview, follow-up, recommendation e-mails)
- Business letters (job interview, cover letter, request for recommendation etc.)
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.
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.
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.
Creating email templates for new messages, replies and forwards
- 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 on the add-in's toolbar.
- 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.
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
- If you need to make changes in your Outlook template, select it on the pane and either click the Edit icon on the Template Phrases toolbar, or right-click on the template and choose Edit from the context menu.
- 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 on the Template Phrases toolbar.
- Right-click on the email template and choose Paste from the context menu.
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.
- Put all the templates you want to share into one folder.
- Select that folder, click the Backup & Share button on the Template Phrases toolbar and select the Export the selected folder.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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:
- The Insert File dialog window will open and you browse for the file you want to attach and then click the Open button.
- That's it! The attachment is added to your 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:
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!