Microsoft Outlook logo.

Email templates in Microsoft Outlook are easy to create, but not so easy to navigate to whenever you actually want to use one. Fortunately, you can create a template and pin it to the ribbon for easier access.

Templates are really useful for repetitive emails that use boilerplate text. In Outlook, it’s easy to create and save a template. Opening one, however, requires a ton of menu clicks. It’s easier to just save the email in your “Drafts” folder, and then copy and paste the contents into a new email.

That works, but you can make life much easier if you add the template selector to the ribbon. This reduces the number of mouse clicks and allows you to use templates as they were intended. A library of useful prewritten emails you can select from a menu will save you lots of time.

To get started, we’ll show you how to create an email template, and then how to add a template selector to the ribbon.

Create an Email Template

Before you can pin a template, you have to create one. Open Microsoft Outlook and create a new email. Customize it any way you want.

Templates will store the subject, body, and any formatting, including colors, background images, your signature, and so on. Once your template email looks the way you want it to, click “File.”

Select “Save As.”

In the “Save as” window, change the “Save as type:” field to “Outlook Template (*.oft),” and then click “Save.”

Outlook's "Save As" dialogue form.

Your template is now ready to use.

How to Open Email Templates the Outlook Way

To open an email template the way Outlook expects you to, you have to navigate to the “Home” tab, and then click New Items > More Items > Choose Form.

In the “Choose Form” window, you then have to change the “Look in:” drop-down menu to “User Templates in File System.” Finally, you can then double-click your template to open it.

A new email displaying the contents of the template will open. This works, but it’s not a quick process. It’s also easy to forget the menu path.

It will be much easier to open your templates if you add the “Choose Form” option to the ribbon.

How to Open Email Templates the Easy Way

We’re going to add a new button to the “Home” tab on the Outlook ribbon so we can open the “Choose Form” panel directly from there.

RELATED: How to Add New Buttons to the Microsoft Office Ribbon

To get started, right-click any of the tabs in the ribbon, and then select “Customize the Ribbon.”

In the “Customize the Ribbon” panel, change the “Popular Commands” drop-down menu to “All Commands.”

Change the "Popular Commands" dropdown to "All Commands."

Scroll down to and select “Choose Form.”

To add this button to the ribbon, you first have to add it to one of the groups in the column on the right.

The list of groups currently visible on the Outlook ribbon.

We’re going to add our button to the “Home” tab in its own group next to “New.” To tell Outlook this is what you want to do, click “New,” and then click “New Group.”

Click the new group that’s added, and then click “Rename.” Change the name to “Templates” (or whatever you want), and then click “OK.”

The name of the new group will change to whatever you named it. The final step is to add the button to the group. Select “Choose Form” in the column on the left, click “Add” to add it to the group, and then click “OK.”

Your new group, containing the “Choose Form” button, will now be visible in the “Home” tab.

The "Choose Form" button displayed in a new group on the ribbon.

Now, you can just click “Choose Form” to open the panel and save yourself the trouble of clicking through a ton of menus.

Profile Photo for Rob Woodgate Rob Woodgate
Rob Woodgate is a writer and IT consultant with nearly 20 years of experience across the private and public sectors. He's also worked as a trainer, technical support person, delivery manager, system administrator, and in other roles that involve getting people and technology to work together.
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