For anyone who sends emails on a regular basis, you may find yourself sending the same information over and over. This is especially relevant for people running a business and it is this situation where email templates can come in very useful.
I use email templates on a regular basis and have about a dozen saved on my computer to utilise when the time is appropriate. Templates can be a huge time saver as you no longer need to hunt through your Sent Items looking for “that email” you sent weeks or months ago in the hope of using the content again.
To create an email template, follow these steps:
- Open Microsoft Outlook
- From the Inbox press Ctrl + N to create a new blank email message
- Leave the To field empty and use the TAB key to move to the Subject field
- Type a suitable Subject for the email you are about to create, remember this will be the default subject used when you use this email template however it can be customised at each use if needed
- Move to the message body area and type the information you wish to include, don’t forget to include an open salutation such as Dear _____
TIP: Where I want to leave a section blank so I can enter a person’s name or a personalised piece of information I generally prefix it with symbols so that I can easily spot it when I use the template and remember to include the corresponding information. I generally use XXXX but you can use whatever you find easiest.
- Your email message should begin to take shape
- If you have set Microsoft Outlook to use a default signature then you do not need to include this in the template as Outlook will add this automatically when you open the template for use
- Double check spelling is accurate or run the Spell Checker to be sure (F7 on the keyboard)
- Now select File > Save As
- The Save As dialog will appear:
- Firstly you need to select the type of file we are going to save
- From the Save as type drop-down menu select Outlook Template (*.oft)
- You will notice that the location the file is being saved to is automatically changed and you will now see the C:\Users\%Username%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates directory
- I find that saving templates to this location can be fiddly to open and use the template so I find it easier and quicker to save templates to a location which is easy to access. Don’t bury your templates inside 10 other folders or you will never utilise them. A good idea can be to create a folder on your desktop or within the Documents folder called Templates and save all your email templates within this one location for easy access
- Navigate to the location you wish to save your templates, such as the Desktop or Documents and create a folder called Templates (I have created a folder called Templates inside my folder called The Training Lady Blog)
- Now you will need to give the email template a suitable name, it will default to the Subject line you used, however, you can change this to be more specific to the content if needed
- Once you are happy click Save
- Use File Explorer (Windows key + E on the keyboard) and check that the template file is now visible within the folder you specified
To use an email template
Now that you have saved an email template, it’s now time to utilise it.
- Navigate to the folder which contains your email template
- Double click the email template you created
- The email template will now open
- In the To field type in the email address or contacts name you wish to send the email to
- The Subject field should already be completed
- Move the cursor into the message body area and fill in any specific details which you prefixed with XXXX
- Double check and read over your email and once you are happy, click Send
To edit a template
If you need to change the content of a template; simply open the template, make the changes and save the file again into the same location with the same name. You will be prompted to save over the original template, select Yes.
You have now successfully created an email template for use in Microsoft Outlook. Repeat the process for any remaining templates you wish to create.