Create and Use Email Templates in Outlook

Businesswoman talking on phone at desk
Cultura RM/Daniel Allan/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

When you realize that you frequently send very similar emails, don't click Send right away. Save the message as a message template first in Outlook, and next week's composition will be that much swifter starting from that stationery (not to be confused with email stationery, of course…).

Create an Email Template (for New Messages) in Outlook

To save a message as a template for future emails in Outlook:

  1. Create a new email message in Outlook
    1. Go to Mail (press Ctrl-1, for instance)
    2. Click New Email in the Home ribbon's New section or press Ctrl-N
  2. Enter a Subject if you want to use one for your message template
    1. You can save an email template without default subject in Outlook, of course
  3. Now enter the email template's text body
    1. Do remove any signatures if you have set up Outlook to add a signature automatically when composing
  4. Click File in the message's toolbar
  5. Select Save As on the sheet that has appeared
    1. In Outlook 2007 and earlier, select File > Save As from the menu
    2. In Outlook 2010, click the Office button and select Save As
  6. Select Outlook Template under Save as type: in the Save As dialog
    1. Outlook will automatically select the "Templates" folder for saving
  7. Type the desired template name (if different from the email subject) under File name:
  8. Click Save
  9. Close the email composition window.If prompted:
    1. Click No under We saved a draft of this message for you. Want to keep it?

Of course, you can also send the message—using, in a way, the template for the first time—instead of discarding it.

Compose an Email Using a Template in Outlook

To write a new message (see below for replies) using a message template in Outlook:

  1. Go to Mail in Outlook
    1. You can press Ctrl-1, for example
  2. Make sure the Home (or HOME) ribbon is selected and expanded
  3. Click New Items in the New section
  4. Select More Items > Choose Form… from the menu that has appeared.
    1. In Outlook 2007, select Tools > Forms > Choose Form… from the menu in your Outlook inbox
  5. Make sure User Templates in the File System is selected under Look In:
  6. Double-click the desired email message template.Address, adapt and eventually send the email

Create a Simple Email Template for Quick Replies in Outlook

To set up a template for lightning-fast replies in Outlook:

  1. Go to Mail in Outlook
  2. Make sure the Home ribbon is active and expanded
  3. Select Create New in the Quick Steps section
  4. You can also click the Manage Quick Steps button in the section's lower right corner, click New and select Custom
  5. Type a brief name for your reply template under Name:
    1. For a template to reply with a product description and price list, for example, you could use something like "Reply (Prices)", for example
  6. Click Choose an Action under Actions
  7. Select Reply (under Respond) from the menu that has appeared
  8. Using New Message (instead of Reply), you can set up a simple template for new messages as well, including a default recipient
  9. Click Show Options
  10. Enter the message for your reply under Text:
    1. Do include a signature
  11. Possibly, select Importance: Normal to have your reply go out with normal importance regardless of the original message's level
  12. Optionally, check  Automatically send after 1 minute delay..
    1. This means you will not get to edit or even see the reply by default before Outlook delivers it
    2. For 1 minute, the message will sit in the Outbox folder, however; you can delete it from there or open it for editing to preempt the quick reply
  1. Optionally, add further actions using Add Action
    1. Add an action to move the original message to your archiving folder, for example, or categorize it with a certain color to help you spot messages that received a boilerplate answer
  2. Also optionally, select a keyboard shortcut for the action under Shortcut key: for even faster action.
  3. Click Finish

Reply to an Email Fast Using a Quick Reply Template in Outlook

To send a reply with a pre-defined Quick Step template:

  1. Make sure the message to which you want to reply is selected in the message list or open (in the Outlook reading pane or in its own window).Make sure the Home ribbon (using the message list or reading pane) or the Message ribbon (with the email open in its own window) is selected and expanded
  2. Click the desired reply step in the Quick Steps section
    1. To see all steps, click More
    2. If you defined a keyboard shortcut for the action, you can also press it, of course
  3. If you have not set up the Quick Step to deliver the message automatically, adapt the email as needed and click Send