SEARCH

How-To Geek

Create an Email Template in Outlook 2003

If you have an email you send out every day that contains the same information, or a form that requires users to dictate answers to the same questions – you can create a template in Outlook to help save you time.

The template mode will not be available if you have Word set as your email editor, so the first thing we’ll need to do is turn that option off.

Open Outlook Options by choosing Tools \ Options from the menu. Choose the Mail Format tab, and make sure to uncheck the boxes to use Word.

outlook-template_1.png

Now to create our template. Just open a new mail message, choose the person(s) to send it to, a subject line, and a message body. Now you should be able to choose File \ Save As from the menu.
outlook-template_2.png

Choose Outlook Template (.oft) as the file type, and pick a folder and file name to save the template as.

outlook-template_3.png

Now when you go to the location where you saved your template you will have an Outlook Template icon. Just double-click the icon, hit send and you are done! You could also open the template through the File \ New \ Choose Form \ User Templates option as well.

Brian Burgess worked in IT for 10 years before pursuing his passion for writing. He's been a tech blogger and journalist for the past seven years, and can be found on his about me page or Google+

  • Published 04/17/07

Comments (84)

  1. Liz

    Is it possible to use form functions such as check boxes or drop downs lists in the e-mail template? I couldn’t see how to do that without having Word as the e-mail editor.

  2. Mike

    I’ve followed your guidelines to create a template. However when I open the template, it populates my signature again. If I leave the signature off the template, it adds it at the begining of the email.

  3. cenoxo

    I’ve had the same problem. When opening a custom template I created in Outlook 2003, two signatures appeared in the body of the new message (one above the body text and one below it).

    According to the following Google Groups discussion, signatures are automatically added by default to custom forms (and templates):

    microsoft.public.outlook.general
    Auto signature placement in template
    http://groups.google.com/group/microsoft.public.outlook.general/browse_thread/thread/91b5f6b6e97ef690/2708c5cdaaff1cfa?lnk=st&q=%22outlook+2003%22+open+template+signature&rnum=3#2708c5cdaaff1cfa

    Thus, when you use a custom template to open a new message, you get two signatures. The top signature (above the body text) is automatically added by the custom template, and the bottom signature is automatically added because Outlook’s Tools > Options > Mail Format > Signatures option is set to add a signature to new messages.

    There’s some discussion about the double signature being caused by your particular version of Outlook 2003. Whatever the exact cause, I was getting double signatures using custom templates in Outlook 2003 Service Pack 2.

    As a workaround, you can edit the Registry to prevent ANY signatures from being automatically added to messages created from a custom Outlook template. See the “More Information” section at the bottom of the following Microsoft Knowledge Base article:

    840393 Multiple signatures added on a custom multi-page form in Outlook 2003
    http://support.microsoft.com/?id=840393

    Here’s the text of the suggested Registry edit from the article:

    – – – – –
    MORE INFORMATION

    Warning If you use Registry Editor incorrectly, you may cause serious problems that may require you to reinstall your operating system. Microsoft cannot guarantee that you can solve problems that result from using Registry Editor incorrectly. Use Registry Editor at your own risk. To activate this hotfix and to prevent the addition of a signature on a custom form, follow these steps:

    1. Quit Outlook 2003.
    2. Click Start, and then click Run.
    3. In the Open box, type regedit, and then click OK.
    4. Locate and click the following registry key:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\11.0\Outlook\Options
    5. On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    6. Type NoAutosigOnCustomForms, and then press ENTER.
    7. Right-click NoAutosigOnCustomForms, and then click Modify.
    8. In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.
    9. On the File menu, click Exit to quit Registry Editor.
    – – – – –

    Now, when you launch Outlook 2003 and open a new message based on your custom template, there shouldn’t be ANY signatures above or below the body text of the new message.

    If, after you make the Registry edit, you still want a signature at the bottom of your template, you must create a new template (as MysticGeek explains above). If you’ve set Outlook’s Tools > Options > Mail Format > Signatures option to automatically add a signature to new messages, one should appear at the bottom of the new message that you use to create your template. If the auto-signature option is not set, you can manually insert a signature using the new message’s Insert > Signature menu command. Compose your body text above your signature as desired, then File > Save As the new message as an Outlook template.

    YMMV, but this worked for me. Now when I open a new message based on my custom template, I only get one signature at the bottom. If I open a normal new message (one not based on a template), it still appears with a signature at the bottom.

  4. The Geek

    @cenoxo:

    Thanks for the very useful follow up comment.

  5. mysticgeek

    The fix for the double signature is to enable Word as your email editor after you have created the template.

  6. cenoxo

    The fix for the double signature is to enable Word as your email editor after you have created the template.

    If you only want to edit email within Outlook, use the Registry fix.

  7. Kevin

    The very first comment asked was how to add checkboxes to the form and have the value of that checkbox appear in the email sent.

    I have the same question … any suggestions?

    Kevin

  8. mysticgeek

    I don’t see any way of easily adding drop down boxes to your Outlook forms. You may be able to create a template with the built in Visual Basic Editor.
    Due to the security risk with SPAM involved with embedded code in an email message would make it difficult to do.

    I found the following site to be very informative on coding to customize Outlook:
    http://www.outlookcode.com/Default.aspx

  9. Felson

    I´ve been able to create a form with drop down boxes, checkboxes, etc (From Outlook 2003, Tools>Forms>Design a Form) and then choose one of the standards and modify it.
    The problem I´ve got is that after creating and saving the form, when you send it, the recipient receive a simply e-mail, but not the drop down boxes. Any help to solve this?

    Felson

  10. Stormulus

    If you’re annoyed by the security warning, you can turn it off:

    http://support.microsoft.com/kb/829072

  11. Stormulus

    You can also place an icon on the Outlook toolbar to provide easy access to the template. You can just click on the toolbar icon and it opens the template, much easier than having to browse for it through Windows Explorer.

    On the Outlook toolbar, right click and choose “Customize”
    On the Commands tab, grab Mail Message (From the File category, under New in Commands) and drag it to your toolbar.
    Leave the Customize dialogue open at this point.
    Right-click on the new icon and change the name to reflect the template you will associate it with.
    Click on Assign Hyperlink, then Open.
    Browse to the template you created and click OK.
    You may also wish to right-click on your new icon and choose “Image and Text” or “Text Only (always)”, especially if you add more than one template so you know which is which.
    Close the Customize dialogue.

    You may also wish to see my previous post about how to to remove the annoying security warning whenenever you access your template.

  12. Jocelyn

    i have followed all of the steps to create a template but when i go to save i do not have the option to save as an outlook template, only a document template. i have turned off word as my editor but still cannot find out how to make outlook template pop up.. help!

  13. Dawn

    I need help!! I created the email template but now when it actually gets sent, the only thing that appears is a blank email with just the signature line (actually, two signature lines as mentioned in other peoples comments). What have I done wrong and how can I fix it so that the actual form appears for the recipient?

    Thanks!

  14. Cheri

    I’ve got my templates saved but no longer need one. How do I delete it?

  15. e3do

    I have the same problem as Felson:
    I´ve been able to create a form with drop down boxes, checkboxes, etc (From Outlook 2003, Tools>Forms>Design a Form) and then choose one of the standards and modify it.
    The problem I´ve got is that after creating and saving the form, when you send it, the recipient receive a simply e-mail, but not the drop down boxes. Any help to solve this?

    I HAVE followed all of the instructions above carefully.

  16. Dawn

    I still need help…I cannot get the actual template to appear in the email for the recipient; the only thing that shows up when the person receives it is blank email with two signatures – somebody, please, please help!!!!

  17. AJ

    I created an email template and when i open it i can read it and see if as created but when some others open it they only see a blank email. How do i fix this?

  18. Laura

    I’ve been able to create the Outlook template and save it to my desktop as an .oft file. How do I change the file’s message? I am using this as a vacation msg (in conjunction withe rules function).

  19. swapnil

    Thanks

  20. Craig

    I have created a custom form using dropdowns and option buttons. It functions well within the boundrys of our security settings. I note a few people above have had problems viewing the forms when they are sent. Have you tried editing the read page? If you go into “Design a form” and open the form you created, you will see “Edit Read Page” next to “Edit Compose Page”. If you open this, you will probably find a blank page. Add controls to the page and link them to the applicable fields on the compose page. My form allows a user to submit a request for approval. The receiver can select “Approved/Not Approved” from a drop down box and then send it for action. If you look at the email in the preview pane, all you will see is a signature, when you open it you will see your read page.
    Hope this is of some help
    Craig

  21. Judy

    Craig,

    I have created my form and designed the read page also. When I use the template some of the people that I send it to see my form and some just see a regular email. I have checked the ‘Send form definition with item’ option on the properties tab so it should work on all user’s machines. Is there a setting in Outlook that would keep the form from displaying correctly when received?

    Judy

  22. mysticgeek

    Good question Judy! I am thinking it has something to do with the end user machine and their settings … it might be something with the exchange server .. but I doubt it … let me investigate!

  23. Murugan

    Hi,
    How will export the all mail on microsoft outlook to local disk d drive,If know any one please send me the all steps.

    Regards
    murugaN

  24. Jeremy Bennett

    I’m creating a form template for work. However, some people at work open it up fine, while the others when they click on template just open up a blank e-mail. Can you help me with a setting that they may need to change to get them to open it correctly? Thanks!

  25. Jay Braun

    Interesting how no one seems to want to REALLY answer the question about previews and signatures! Is that because there isn’t an answer?

    The specific questions are:
    Q. When a someone sends a form, recipients see two signatures – why is that?
    A. Part of it is because the recipient is looking at the preview pane. If they actually open the message they probably see your from.
    Q. What if they open it and still see on the signatures?
    A. Most likely it’s because you are still using the default “Read Page”.

    The question that is NOT getting answered:
    Q. Ok, I have modified the Read page and everything looks good when the user opens the form. However, in the preview pane, they either see a blank preview or one or two signatures. Why is this the case?
    A. No one seems to know – or at least no one seems willing to answer. Seriously, does ANYONE know why the preview pane doesn’t show your actual “Read Page”?

    Thanks,
    Jay

  26. D Tan

    In Outlook 2003 there is an”Edit Read Page”. This displays how the email will look when it is opened. The template will not show in preview (or atleast I can’t get it to work). The design mode is similar to Access reports in how it is customized.

    D

  27. shruthi

    am working in word 2003. i have to create a template in which there are some details of the documents which must be mailed to the user. i will tel u still clearly.. i hav send button and a text box in which mail id will be typed such that this particular mail must be sent to the user same as outlook but i need the button code.. please help me..
    waiting for ur reply..

  28. ignore_me

    heads up, i read somewhere that the format of the message must be rtf, and that word must be turned off as the editor in outlook.

  29. DominiRicanUSA

    For the signature issue, just make sure your signature isn’t selected in Mail Format when creating the form, so when you create the form it doesn’t pull your signature and should be blank. Turn your sig back on after you are done. That fixed it for me.

  30. CEVA

    This may sound stupid… but how do you delete a template? I created one, but don’t need it. How can I get rid of it?

  31. Mike Park

    Does anyone know if you can set an outlook templaye as the auto signature in outlook 2003?

  32. Evelyn

    To delete an Outlook template, browse to the template via Windows Explorer to the default template location (C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates). Your template will be listed as an *.oft file. Delete the file.

    If you have not saved your template to the default location, you’ll have to search for ‘*.oft’ files on your system.

  33. Shuli

    Stormulus,
    I followed all your steps to create a button for my template but when i click the button i created it gives me a message saying “This operation has been canceled due to restrictions in effect on this computer. Please contact your system administrator.
    I’m using Office 2007 and my windows user account has Admin privliges. How do i make it work?

  34. Stormulus

    Shuli, have you tried following the steps provided by Microsoft which I linked to in my first post regarding annoying security restrictions?

  35. Chris

    Thank you very much!

    VIP user was having problems. Noticed that Outlook was dependant on Word customised setup and had no idea how to split it.

    Unticked “Use Microsoft Office Woord 2003 to edit e-mail messages”

    and presto! dependancy gone. (default template will do)
    The world is safe again…

  36. Sanjana

    Hi,

    I have created a newsletter using document template in Microsoft word and have saved it as a .dot file. When I use the ‘send a copy’ via outlook email, I see the document resolution has went down …small grids appears in the background color ..etc. Also my html links in the document does not work any more. How do I resolve this?

    Is there a way to convert .dot template to an email .oft template?

    Thanks a lot,
    Sanjana

  37. Omar

    I just want to say a big “Thank You” to all those of you who have contributed with your comments to this post. I learned in a few minutes how to create a customized email template with bells and whistles or should I say ‘radio buttons’ and ‘drop down boxes’. You’ve made my life and job easier.

    Cheers,

    Omar.

  38. Edward A. Owen

    I have the same problem as Felson:
    Ive been able to create a form with drop down boxes, checkboxes, etc (From Outlook 2003, Tools>Forms>Design a Form) and then choose one of the standards and modify it.
    The problem Ive got is that after creating and saving the form, when you send it, the recipient receives a simple e-mail, but not the drop down boxes. Any help to solve this?

    I HAVE followed all of the instructions above carefully. Word is NOT selected as my editor.

  39. JoeySal

    I am in DESPERATE need of HELP with TEMPLATES!!!
    I am trying to set up an out of office reply in Microsoft Outlook 2003.
    I am using the Rules option and the option to reply with Template.
    The reply works fine – everything looks great and hyperlinks work – BUT – what I’d like to do is only offer the reply to the FIRST e-mail, and not to each and every subsequent e-mail.
    I know if I just used the text box in the Out Of Office Assistant, this is what would be done, but as the text box does not support hyperlinks (which I need in my auto-reply) I need to use the template option.
    Futher, when I follow the instructions offered here, I do not have the option under “save as type” for Office Template *.oft. I kind of thought this might be another way to accomplish the same goal, but with no *oft, not so much.
    Any ideas? Suggestions? Help?
    ALL APPRECIATED!!
    Thanks

  40. Ron

    I’m still using Eudora — templates are easy and work great. I want to switch to outlook as it is much more popular but I don’t want to give up the easy template function.

  41. Sophia

    What if you want to create a template but do not know who the recipients will be, will this create a problem when including this template in a rule or create other issues?

  42. Elaine

    Somehow my file association got screwed up on my oft files. I tried to repair it my setting them up to open with outlook, but that is not working. It just does nothing, or sometimes I get an error saying my command line is wrong and to verify the switch. But I don’t have an enabled command line, just the button to click on and chose with application I use to open it. Hope that makes sense.

  43. Tash

    HI

    Would anyone know how to go about with a new template that I have created for all outgoing messages (Stationery). I have changed the file format to .pot and still cant seem to use it!

    Tash

  44. Beth

    I have templetes that I no longer use and want to delete them. I have tried everything can you help. Thanks

  45. Ian

    For those people that are having trouble with the recipients not seeing what they designed…

    When you are in form design mode, go to the FORM menu and uncheck SEPARATE READ LAYOUT. This should grey out the Edit Compose Page and Edit Read Page options.

  46. Saif

    Thank you very much for the usful information

  47. Gos

    If you have an existing template – how do you edit / update the template? I tried going to dseign a form / updated it and saved it but when i try sending it 0 it gives me the old form

  48. Sharon

    I thought you had to publish a template through Outlook before you could send a message with it. By double clicking an icon, or sticking it on your toolbar aren’t you actually using the template without publishing it?

  49. Sharon

    You can open the template again, edit it and save it as an oft again over the top of the original – that’s how I edited mine.

  50. Jaime

    Is there a way to save an email template in Outlook that multiple users can access?

  51. Ben F

    Any way to take emails from Outlook 2003 and ‘export’ them into a Microsoft 2003 template (.dot) file? We have specific report formts in words that I would love to populate with the header/text body info at the click of a button if at all possible. Thanks!

  52. Gary Appenzeller

    I have a form I created. It has some code in the background. If I go to User Templates and choose the form in the design function, everything looks good. If I choose Run Form (while in Design), it looks good. Then I publish the form to my Personal Forms Library. Everything works. But when I go back to Choose Form and choose to run the form from User Templates, the background code doesn’t work. If I go to Choose Form and choose the form out of Personal Forms Library, everything works. I have to get the form to work when I choose it from the User Templates, because that is the file that I have access to in order to publish it on the server for everyone to use. I haven’t figured out how to get the User Template form to work properly. This just started today after I made a change to the original form. I know it sounds confusing, but if you know about Outlook forms and how they are listed in two different spots, you may be able to follow it.

  53. DAVE ID

    Sweet! I was stuck on the Word Editor (never would have guessed) so thanks for the How-To now I have my template. :)

  54. Jane

    Just create a signature with more detail. There is no need to change any of your settings. I have page long ‘signatures’ including one with a table which I can tab through to adjust information before sending.

  55. Taye Geressu

    I’m looking for an E-Mail format to show my students in their text book.Would you kindly help me in sending me one legible E-Mail format? The focus is Business letters. Than you in advance!

  56. Maria

    I am setting up standard email template/forms that a department sends out on a regular basis. I would like to pre-populate the “From” field with the address of the department shared mailbox (all these users have permissions to “send as” with this mailbox).
    However, when I add any text to the From field on the form (e.g. the smtp address), it simply disappears when I actually open the form. Does anyone have any advice about this?
    Regards, Maria,

  57. Julie

    Hi, I am trying to save my template with outlook 2003 but I can’t save as .oft, I just don’t have the option in my drop box. Am I missing a setting somewhere?
    Thanks

  58. Marcy

    FANTASTIC!!! Thanks so much!

  59. Jill

    Thank goodness for How to Geek – couldn’t find a sensible answer on Microsoft on line – this had me sorted in less than 5 minutes – shame I wasted an hour trying to understand the Microsoft on line help.

  60. Randy

    I’m having the same problem as Maria:

    I am setting up standard email template/forms that a department sends out on a regular basis. I would like to pre-populate the “From” field with the address of the department shared mailbox (all these users have permissions to “send as” with this mailbox).
    However, when I add any text to the From field on the form (e.g. the smtp address), it simply disappears when I actually open the form. Does anyone have any advice about this?
    Regards,

  61. Randy

    Maria, I found the following:
    A published message form does not retain any value you put in the From field, although a form saved as an .oft template file does. A possible workaround is to use this code in your form to set the From value. (Note that this is not the same as designating a sending account for the item, which is not possible in custom form code.)

    Function Item_Open()
    Item.SentOnBehalfOfName = “me@me.com”
    End Function

  62. Brian

    My company uses hundreds of different email templates when corresponding with customers. Employees currently have to copy and paste the information from a word doc into an email. These email templates would be a huge time saver. I currently have a few templates set up on my tool bar and want to get other people in my office to start using this funciton in Outlook.

    Is there an easy way for me to set this up for 50+ employees or do each of them have to go through this step by step process for each template that they use? For instance, is there a way to send the tool bar button to someone else with the templates already hyperlinked?

    Any assistance you can provide would be great.

    Thanks,

    Brian

  63. Fattire

    I think the problem with all of your option buttons not saving data is the fact that they are probably set to a field that is true/false or yes/no fields. Here are the instructions if using more then 2 radio buttons:

    1. Add a frame
    2. Add your multiple option buttons in the frame
    3. Right click on the first button
    4. Click the Value Tab at top
    5. Click “New”, give it a name, leave both drop downs as TEXT and TEXT
    6. Back in the Value Tab, make sure the “Value” text box in the middle of the Value Tab has the SAME text as what is in the Caption text box on the “Display” tab.
    7. Make sure all radio buttons are like this.
    8. Publish to Personal and it all works.

  64. cathy

    I have solved the problem of 2 signatures. When creating the template, remove the automatic signature than appears at the bottom before you save as a template. When you open the template later, it automatically affixes your signature to the bottom – now you will have only one signature at the bottom.

    I would like to know how to delete .oft templates.

  65. Steven

    When developing a form, how do I get the content of the form to aqppear in the conversation pane in the inbox. What happens now is the form (designed as a message) will ony show if you click on the email. If you try and read it from the inbox without opening it will just appear blank. How do I get my form to appear without having to open the email in its own window?

  66. Kumar

    Thanks a Million .

  67. Raghav

    was very helpful, thanks i can save time now

  68. Rob

    I found a no frills fix that a caveman can do. Simply un-check the “Automatically include my signature on outgoing messages” after setting up your signature. When you type your e-mail click on the “Insert Signature” icon on the toolbar of your e-mail and it will be a “Single” signature. Not the best fix, but it works!

  69. Jodi

    I’m having the same problem as Julie … no option to save OFT in Outlook 2003. I can in 2007 though. Any ideas?

  70. Jodi

    Nevermind, I had to change it so that Word was not set as the editor. And also had to close Outlook and reopen after I did that.

  71. yCekyLL

    Very, very thanks to share you skill!
    and for tip of template in outlook 2003

    Rugs!

  72. jimmy

    thanks

  73. Danno

    Hi gang, I have heaps of experience doing this (and teaching it!) in 2003 and 2007, but does anyone know *how to create your own buttons in 2010*? From the microsoft instructions, i can see how to add a button, but not how to tell it to use the template i’ve made.
    thanks!
    Danno

  74. Danno

    hang on… I’m guessing it has something to do with QuickSteps – will check that out first. Sorry :)

  75. Danno

    Ok – yep QuickSteps is part of it – but you used to be able to make a template that already had an attachment – This doesn’t appear to be possible in QuickSteps – anyone know how to do that one?

    thanks!

  76. Purdee

    Quote “To delete an Outlook template, browse to the template via Windows Explorer to the default template location (C:\Documents and Settings\xxxxx\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates). Your template will be listed as an *.oft file. Delete the file.

    If you have not saved your template to the default location, you’ll have to search for ‘*.oft’ files on your system.”

    I can see that the template was saved in the C drive as C:\Documents and Settings\MyName\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates
    I was able to get to the C drive –> Documents and Settings –> my folde –> But there’s no folder calls ‘Application Data’

    What did I do wrong?? Thx

  77. Stormulus

    Purdee, sounds to me like you have Windows Explorer set to hide system files. You can check by going to the Tools Menu, selecting Folder Options, clicking the View tab, and ensuring that “Show hidden files and folders” is selected and that “Hide protected operating system files (recommended) is unchecked. You may wish to also ensure that “Hide exensions for known file types” is unchecked.

    Hope this helps.

  78. Purdee

    THANK YOU Stormulus
    It worked :)

  79. isitmondayet

    I’ve been playing around with the Outlook forms and this is going to be great for MANY messages we send regularly as announcements.

    How do I clear the display view (not the actual file/template – that’s easy – see above) of all the folders/docs I have been playing and testing this with. This list appears in the drop down field ‘Look In’ of the Choose Form pop-up window (FILE > NEW > CHOOSE FORM)??

    Many Thanks!!

  80. Jacqui

    Hi, after following your instructions and opening a new mail message, there is triple spacing between the lines on my email signature. How do I fix this please? (Only one email signature, just lots of space).

    Thanks,
    Jacqui

  81. Danno

    Hi Jacqui,

    Check that there is no “blank line” in your signature, before the text. Also check that there is no blank line at the end of the text in your template.

    You will probably still get a small gap, but it won’t be as big.

  82. Danno

    Jacqui – I just realised you might have meant throughout the signature, not just before and after it. Try copying the text to word, going into Format, Paragraph, remove any line spacing, then copy and paste back to Outlook.

  83. Danno

    still looking for help here -anyone?

    Ok – yep QuickSteps is part of it – but you used to be able to make a template that already had an attachment – This doesn’t appear to be possible in QuickSteps – anyone know how to do that one?

    thanks!

  84. MAUSER

    please help.

    I hace created a form in outlook 2007 with the below code to open a specific web page (changed it to google for privacy reasons).
    If I open the form, it work perfectly.
    If I email the form, the VBA code does not work for the recipient and the web page does not launch.
    I know the code works but what do I need to add \ change for it to work for the email receipient of the form.

    Thank you in advance.

    Sub cmdQuestionnaire_Click()
    Set IE = CreateObject(“InternetExplorer.Application”)
    IE.Visible = True
    IE.navigate “http://www.google.com”
    End Sub

Enter Your Email Here to Get Access for Free:

Go check your email!