Increase Productivity by Using Email Templates in Outlook 2016

Before making any changes, please back up your work! I’m not responsible for negative outcomes, only positive ones!


We’re changing the format a little for today’s post. I’ve included a linked table of contents of short instructions that all work together to get you using templates in Outlook. I use a template for an email I send every week. My template includes a line for every possible item I might need to report, and then I just delete the lines I don’t need when it’s time to send the email. Use templates to increase your productivity, as well!

Create a Template
Start a New Email from a Template
Update a Saved Template
Create a Shortcut to “Choose Forms”


Create a Template

  1. Start a new email and fill in anything you’d like to be in your template. This includes your signature.
  2. On the email, click File > Save As.
  3. On the Save As pop-up, switch the “Save as type” field to Outlook Template (*.oft). The save location and file extension will automatically update. You can change the name of the file, but don’t change the extension or save location.
  4. Click on Save.
  5. You may close or use the email you created. You don’t need to save a draft.

Start a New Email from a Template

  1. Make sure you’re on the Home tab.
  2. Click on New Items > More Items > Choose Form.
  3. On the Choose Form pop-up, switch the “Look In” field to User Templates in File System.
  4. Select the desired template in the list and click on Open. A new email that looks exactly like the one you originally saved will open.
  5. Make any changes you want before sending the email. Your changes won’t affect the saved template.

Update a Saved Template

  1. Start a new email from the template you’d like to update.
  2. Make the desired changes to the open email.
  3. On the email, click File > Save As.
  4. On the Save As pop-up, switch the “Save as type” field to Outlook Template (*.oft).
  5. Select the existing template you would like to overwrite or make sure the file name of the new template is different if you don’t want to overwrite the old one.
  6. Click on Save. If you’re overwriting the old template, click Yes on the confirmation pop-up.
  7. You may close or use the open email. You don’t need to save a draft.

Create a Shortcut to “Choose Forms”

  1. Right-click on the Quick Access Toolbar and click on Customize Quick Access Toolbar. You could also choose to add the shortcut to the Ribbon.
  2. Above the left list, switch the “Choose commands from” field to All Commands.
  3. In the left list, select Choose Form.
  4. Click on the Add >> button to move Choose Form to the list on the right.
  5. Click on OK.
  6. Click on the new icon in your Quick Access Toolbar to open the Choose Form pop-up. Now you just have to switch the “Look In” field to User Templates in File System to view your custom templates.