How to create and use Outlook email templates

Svetlana Cheusheva by , updated on

The tutorial explains how to create, save and use standard Outlook email templates. You will also learn how to reply with template in Outlook 365, 2021, 2019, 2016, 2013, and 2010.

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

Imagine 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!

How to create an email template in Outlook

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

To make an email template in Outlook, carry out these steps:

  1. Compose 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:
    Creating an email template in Outlook

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

    Important! Do not change the destination folder where email templates are saved, otherwise Outlook won't be able to locate them. By default, Outlook saves all template files to this folder:

    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

To create a message based on an email template, here's what you do:

  1. On the Home tab, click New Items > More Items > Choose Form.

    Click the Choose Form button.

  2. In the Choose Form dialog box that appears, select User Templates in File System from the Look in drop-down list. This will display 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 body, subject, formatting, images, etc.

Tip. To reduce the number of clicks required for opening a template, you can place the Choose Form button directly on the ribbon. We have a special guide on how to add a custom button to Excel ribbon. In Outlook, the steps are exactly the same.

How to edit Outlook email template

To modify an existing template, open it as an email message (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 pin templates to task bar or create desktop shortcut

If you frequently use one or more templates in your work, 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 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 one, select it and drag towards the Outlook icon on your taskbar. This will pin the template to the context menu of the 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, right-click the Outlook icon on the task bar and choose the template you want. As shown in the screenshot below, you can pin several templates that you use most often.
    You can pin several templates that you use most often.
  4. 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 on your desktop, then right-click the template and choose 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 a new message with this template.

How to share Outlook email templates

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

Automatically apply a template for all new messages as Outlook theme (Stationery)

If you want to use a specific template for all new emails, then you have 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 that you send.

Here are the steps to create an html email template for Outlook:

  1. Create a new email message and design it as you like.
  2. Switch to the File tab, click the Save As button and save the email as an HTML file to the Stationery folder here:

    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 to 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:

Surely, Outlook templates provide many useful features that can save you a lot of time. But if you send tens of repetitive emails daily, the capabilities of built-in Outlook templates may not be enough. For example, what if you want to reply with template in Outlook? And if you've created a few dozen templates for different occasions, how could you view their content to pick the best-suited one? And if you could only insert a template in the message with a mouse click!

Sounds like a wish-list for the Microsoft Outlook team? :) No matter how fantastic it may sound, all these features are already implemented in our own templates for Outlook emails, and the next section shows how to use them.

Shared Email Templates - quick way to reply with template in Outlook

If you are looking for email templates that can be used at any time from any device (including Outlook desktop and Online, Windows and Mac), you'll certainly love our brand-new Shared Email Templates. This tool does do not require switching to other tabs, creating desktop shortcuts, and the like. All is done directly in the e-mail message window:

  • Write a message like you normally do and save it as a template.
  • Include links and images.
  • Attach files if needed.
  • Place fillable or drop-down fields where appropriate.
  • Click to insert the template.

Once a template is created, you can use it personally or share with your teammates.

The screenshot below gives an idea of how your email templates can look like:
Shared Email Templates

That was just a quick introduction to this awesome tool. I invite you to have a look at this page to discover a lot more fascinating features!

Other ways to reply with template in Outlook:

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