How do I... Create easy-to-use Outlook e-mail templates?

Enable the Outlook e-mail editor

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Do you find yourself typing the same text over and over again in certain types of Outlook e-mail messages? You might change some of the content based on the situation, but for the most part the text is basically the same. For example, you may regularly send technical notifications to network users that provide new information along with a series of precautionary steps that almost never change.

The typical way to handle this type of boilerplate text is with a copy and paste operation. A more sophisticated approach is to use Word as your e-mail editor and drop in AutoText entries for the standard text. But perhaps the most efficient approach is to design templates you can use to create standard e-mail messages. You can even create a menu containing your templates so you can instantly open a new message based on the template you want. Here's a look at how this works.

Before you start: Enable the Outlook e-mail editor

If you've configured Outlook to use Word as your e-mail editor, you'll need to temporarily switch to using the Outlook e-mail editor before creating templates. When you're finished, you can switch back to using Word and the templates will work just fine.

To make Outlook your e-mail editor, follow these steps:

  1. Go to Tools | Options and click the Mail Format tab.
  2. Deselect the Use Microsoft Word To Edit E-mail Messages check box and click OK.

To switch back to using Word as your editor, just go back to the Mail Format tab and reselect that option.