WHAT TO ENTER macro – the most useful helper in Shared Email Templates

This article will introduce you to the most impressive macro in Shared Email Templates WHAT TO ENTER. It may paste any text, number or date you want in your email and open a dropdown with the prefilled options you may choose from to populate your message. You may even paste the same value several times and combine this macro with others.

Stay with me till the end of this manual and I’ll convince you that one small macro will help avoid so much manual work that you couldn’t even imagine ;)

What is a macro?

Before we start exploring each and every feature of the WHAT TO ENTER macro, I’d like to point out that it has the following form:


For the convenience and readability, I’ll be calling it WHAT TO ENTER or even shorter – WTE. However, when you use it in your templates, please bear this spelling in mind.

Now let me quickly walk you through the basics:

  • What is Shared Email Templates? We created this Outlook app so that millions of users around the world could avoid doing repetitive tasks and handle their routine email correspondence in a few mouse clicks. With this add-in you can create a set of templates, add formatting, links, specify the files to be attached and the fields to be populated and so on. Moreover, those templates you may run on several machines (PCs, Macs and Windows tablets) and share with your colleagues.
  • What does the macro mean in terms of Shared Email Templates? It is a special placeholder that may help you insert the recipient’s first and last name in an email message, attach files, paste inline images, add email addresses to the CC/BCC fields, populate your email’s subject, include the same text in several places of your email, etc. Yes, etc., as this list is not even close to be complete :)

Sounds promising, isn’t it? Then let’s get started :)

WHAT TO ENTER macro – what it does and when it can be used

Long story short, the WHAT TO ENTER macro adds special placeholders to your templates so that you get a completed email on a fly. You may fill this placeholder with any custom value – text, numbers, links, dates, etc. Alternatively, you may add the dropdown list and choose one of the options from there.

Moreover, when there are several places in your message you need to fill in, WHAT TO ENTER will ask you to specify the text to paste just once and populate all those places automatically.

Now let’s have a closer look at each macro’s option and learn to set it up correctly for each and every case.

Add relevant info to Outlook emails dynamically

The easiest goes first :) Imagine this: you send a reminder to your customers to notify them about the status of their order. Of course, each order has a unique id so you’ll need to paste a template, then look for the place of the order number in the text and type it manually. Almost got you ;) No, you won’t need that as WHAT TO ENTER will show you the input box where you paste the correct number that gets inserted into the necessary place of your email right away.

Let’s see how it works. You create a new template, add the notification’s text and include the macro:
Insert macro to add any text in an email.

Tip. If you want to change or remove the text in the fill-in field, no need to re-add the macro, just modify it a little bit. See, in my example above the macro looks like that:

~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[enter order number here;{title:"order number"}]

If you remove “enter order number here” (or replace it with the text you like more), just modify the first parameter of the macro:

~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[;{title:"order number"}]

Change the fill in field’s content.

Note. It is important to have the semicolon left in order not to corrupt the input box appearance.

Paste predefined values into message

Let’s have a closer look at the reminder template above. While there are unlimited order numbers, there may be just a few order statuses. Typing one of, let’s say, three choices every time isn’t very timesaving, right? Here comes the “Dropdown list” opinion of WHAT TO ENTER. You just add a macro, set all the possible values and paste your template:

~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[“Finalized”;“Waiting for the payment”;“Payment checking”;{title:"Status"}]

Choose and paste a preset value from the dropdown list.

The Dropdown List option offers two parameters I’d like to draw your attention to:

  • User can edit selected item(s) – check this option and you’ll be able to edit the selected value in the dropdown list before you paste it into your message.
  • User can select multiple items separated by – once this opinion is selected, you can check several values at once. You may specify the delimiter or leave everything as is and the delimiter would be a comma.

You may have noticed that the macro’s window now has two placeholders to populate – order and status. As I’ve added two WTEs, there is a special field for each of them. Once I’ll add the third one (yes, I will), there will be three spots. Hence, you won’t get bored by multiple pop-ups for each and every macro but fill in all the info and hit OK just once before getting a ready-to-be-sent email.

Insert dates into Outlook templates

The WHAT TO ENTER macro can handle not only text and numbers, but also dates. You may enter it manually, choose from the calendar or hit Today and the current date will be populated automatically. It’s up to you.

So, if you need to specify some timing, the macro will do a great job for you.

Getting back to our reminder, let’s improve it a little bit more and set a due date for the order.

~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[{date,title:"Due date"}]

Insert any date using a special macro option.

See? Three fields to set, as promised ;)

Put repetitive values into different places of message

You may think that you’ll need to enter as many values as there are WHAT TO ENTERs in your template even if you need to paste the same text in different places. As the macro is designed to save your time, it won’t ask you to do any extra button hits :)

Let’s have a look at the macro’s window. If you switch the options, you’ll see that no matter which of them is selected, one item is not changing. I’m referring to the “Window title” field as this is the key to pasting the same value in different places in a go.
The window title field that is not getting changed.

No matter which pasting option you choose – text, dropdown or date – if you have identical Window title, the same value will be pasted. So, you may create this macro once, copy it all over your template and enjoy :)
Paste identical values in several places of an email in a click

Nested WHAT TO ENTER or how to combine several macros

WTE can be used together with almost every other macro from Shared Email Templates. You may have already noticed the nested FILLSUBJECT and WHAT TO ENTER macros in my example from the previous section. See, I’ve just set a value for WTE, this value was added to the text from FILLSUBJECT and the result went to a subject line.

~%FILLSUBJECT[Note about order ~%WHAT_TO_ENTER[enter order number here;{title:"order number"}]]

However, not all the macros can be merged with WHAT TO ENTER. Let’s enable the “merge-macros-like-a-pro” mode and join a few macros to see if and how they work and why they may be useful for you ;)

Examples of using several macros together

Merging macros is a nice experiment that eventually ends with saving time. If you have a look at the list of macros for Shared Email Templates, you may think “Wow, so many macros to explore!”. Spoiler alert – not all of them can be merged with WHAT TO ENTER. Now I’ll show you the cases when this kind of merging works. In the next chapter you’ll see the macros that won’t work this way.

Speaking generally, you may join WHAT TO ENTER with all the FILL and ADD macros. In this fashion, you may combine WHAT TO ENTER with FILLTO/ADDTO, FILLCC/ADDCC. FILLBCC/ADDBCC and populate the recipients’ addresses. Hence, your TO/CC/BCC field will be filled with the email you enter when pasting a template.

Or, let’s take INSERT PICTURE FROM URL macro. If you recall one of my previous tutorials, this macro asks for the image’s url and pastes this image into the message. So, if you are not sure which image to paste or want to choose an image for each particular case, you may replace the link with WHAT TO ENTER and add the link when pasting a template.
Joined macros to paste an image from dynamic URL.

Tip. If you know for sure the images you’ll be choosing from, you may embed the dropdown list using WTE and choose the link that you need from there.

The macros that WHAT TO ENTER can’t be merged with

As we’ve discussed before, not all the macros can be merged. Here are the macros you won’t be able to join with WHAT TO ENTER:

  • CLEARBODY – as it simply clears the email’s body before pasting the template, there is nothing to specify for it.
  • NOTE – it adds a small internal note for the template. There is nothing to be filled in the moment of template pasting, hence, there is nothing for WTE to do here.
  • SUBJECT – this subject macro doesn’t populate email’s subject field but gets the subject text from there and pastes it into your email body. No work for WTE.
  • DATE and TIME – those macros insert the current date and time, so there is nothing WHAT TO ENTER may help you with here.
  • TO, CC and BCC – those little macros will check the email in TO/CC/BCC and paste it into the message.
  • LOCATION – this set of macros helps you email about an appointment. As they get the info from the appointments you have already arranged, there is no info that can be added or changed when pasting a template.

WHAT TO ATTACH macro in Shared Email Templates

I’d like you to get acquainted with one more macro. It is “WHAT TO ENTER Junior” called WHAT TO ATTACH. If you keep your eye on our blog, you know we have a series of tutorials about attachments. You may refresh your knowledge and check the articles on how to attach files from OneDrive, SharePoint and URL. In case an online storage is not for you and you prefer having your files locally on your machine, WHAT TO ATTACH would be a good solution.

When you insert this macro in your template, it has the following syntax:


As you may have noticed, there is no way to set the file’s location to attach it automatically. When you paste a template with this macro, you’ll see the “Choose a file to attach” window prompting you to browse for the file on your PC:
Specify the file to be attached.

Conclusion – use macros, avoid repetitive copy-pastes :)

I really hope you will enjoy using Shared Email Templates with all its macros as much as I do daily :) If you haven’t tried our Shared Email Templates yet, it’s high time! Install this add-in right from the Microsoft Store and give it a go. Trust me, it's worth it ;)

In case you have any questions to ask or maybe you’ve come up with the idea on how to improve our macros or add-in, please take a few minutes to leave your thoughts in Comments. Thank you and, of course, stay tuned!

Available downloads

Shared Email Templates presentation (.pdf file)

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One comment

  1. Hi, can you please advise how I may amend the macro code for the date drop-down macro, to default to either blank or "select date" in this parameter. I do not want it to default to todays date.

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