Outlook: Create an email template

May 10, 2011

For every document I edit for my main client, I send out a ‘QA complete’ email to the person who sent the document to me (that person might not be the author). In every one of these ‘QA complete’ emails is some standard wording, which I’ve saved on the network as a *.msg file. When I need to create another one, I open that one, copy the text and paste it into the new email then add specific text related to the document I’ve just edited for them.

While the standard wording saves time, the method I’ve been using to store it just adds to the time. So it was time for me to find out how to create an email template in Outlook, and how to use it for a new email. And it’s all very simple — I should’ve done it years ago!

These instructions are for Outlook 2007 and 2010, but they should work similarly for Outlook 2003 (though the menu paths etc. will be different).

Create the email template

  1. Create a new email message.
  2. Complete as much of the message wording as you want in the template (including your signature), and add a subject line  — you’ll be able to change anything in these areas later. You don’t need to complete the recipient fields, unless the email will always go to the same people.
  3. Depending on your Outlook version:
    • Outlook 2007: Click the Office button (top left of the message window), then select Save As
    • Outlook 2010: File > Save As.
  4. Give the template a File name (if you added a subject, the subject will default as the file name)
  5. Change the Save as type to Outlook Template (*.oft). The template automatically saves to your Microsoft Templates folder.
  6. Click Save.
  7. When you close the email template, you may be asked if you want to save changes. Click No if you haven’t made any changes since saving a few moments ago.

Create a new email based on the template

  1. DO NOT click the New button. Instead, depending on your Outlook version:
    • Outlook 2007: Click File > New (or the drop-down arrow next to the New button) > Choose Form.
    • Outlook 2010: Home > New items > More items > Choose Form.
  2. On the Choose Form window, click the drop-down arrow next to the Look in field.
  3. Select User Templates in File System to display your templates.
    Choose Form window
  4. Select the template you want to use, then click Open. A new email message opens, containing all the information you added earlier. This message is now disconnected from the template so you can make any changes you want before sending it to the recipients.

If you want to make changes to the wording in an email template, create a new email based on it, then Save As a template file (*.oft) under the same file name.


  1. I would like a tip on what needs fixing when the template brings up the compose window and the embedded image size, alignment, and font size is not the same as when the template was saved.

  2. Hi Brian

    Because I’m a big fan of plain text emails, I haven’t seen what you’ve described.

    However, I just created a new Outlook template using Rich Text, added an image, centered the image, made some text red and bold and 12 pt (instead of the default 10 pt), then saved it as the template. I then opened a new email based on that template (as per my instructions above) and nothing changed — it was all as I’d saved it.

    The only thing I can think of that might be affecting it is that when you make the changes to the template, you’re not saving them correctly, therefore they’re not showing the next time you create an email based on the template. You need to do do a Save As (NOT Save) and save the template as an *.oft file, with the same name as the old one. And say Yes to overwriting the old one. Then close the email you just modified, but this time say No to saving it. Now you should be able to select that template for a new email (as per my instructions above) and everything *should* be as you saved it.


  3. Hi,

    This is a really informative post. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. my file menu does not have a “new” option, nor does my ‘new’ button have a drop down menu.

  5. Hi Sam

    I’ve now added specific instructions for Outlook 2010 as those menu paths are quite different, especially when choosing the form.


  6. If I’m remembering where I was and what I was doing at the time, I found a complication (and solution) to my difficulty.

    IIRC, I was trying to make a template to use as stationary. Or maybe it was an oft.

    Anyway, I discovered that there was also a signature file in play. So, I had a stationary file and a signature file being placed in the Compose window.

    When I switched off the signature for new emails, things got sorted.

    Then a new problem presented itself: using Word as Outlook’s editor (Office 2003), the “Do you want to save normal.dot?” issue came up. Apparently, this is a somewhat common issue. But never had this issue before creating the stationary. (I’ve always used Word as the Outlook editor.)

    So, I switched off the stationary and switched the signature file back on. I will only use the stationary when necessary.

    And also at the same time as working through the above, the computer is now locking up hard for reasons that I have yet to suss out. But only when idle. I’m running an experiment by closing Outlook whenever I am letting the computer sit idle for more than 30 minutes.

  7. Grazie. Molto chiaro.

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