Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (2023)

I’d like to continue acquainting you with Shared Email Templates and tell you a few tricks on how to create and manage drafts in Outlook, and then use them as templates for your messages. First, I'll show you how to make a new draft, find or change its folder and remove and restore your drafts. Then, I’ll teach you converting drafts into templates and sharing those with others.

  • Create and use Outlook drafts
    • How to save a draft in Outlook
    • How to delete a draft
    • How to recover deleted drafts in Outlook
  • Use Outlook drafts as email templates
    • Create folder for your templates
    • Connect drafts folder to Shared Email Templates
    • Share connected folders within a team
  • Notes to remember

Create and use Outlook drafts

Let’s start from the very beginning. What is a draft? For example, you were creating a message and accidentally closed the New Email window. This unfinished message will become a draft. Or, let’s say, you’ve written something, re-read it and thought “I can do better”. You save this incomplete email to finish later - this is your draft.

So, a draft is an unsent email. Now let’s see how to manage drafts in Outlook and what they can be used for.

How to save a draft in Outlook

There is unlikely something easier than creating a draft. There are just 3 steps to take to save a draft in Outlook:

  1. Open a new email or create a reply to any message.
  2. Write your text, add links, formatting and pictures if necessary.
  3. Save this email (either by clicking on the Save icon or by closing the window).

That’s pretty much it :) This unfinished email will be saved as a draft in your Outlook.

But how to find drafts in your Outlook? You may see all of them in the Drafts folder on the Navigation Pane:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (1)

(Video) How To Create Email Templates in Outlook | My Templates & Quick Parts

Tip. If you have too many folders and subfolders on your Navigation Pane and you have no time for checking where the Drafts folder is in your Outlook, just enter “drafts” in the Search field and the necessary folder will be opened:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (2)

Double-click on any draft and it will become an email that you may continue editing or send.

Tip. You may enable the automatic saving for the emails you create and set the time frame for the autosave in Outlook options. Go to File -> Options -> Mail and check/uncheck the necessary options on the “Save messages” group:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (3)

I told you, it couldn’t be easier :)

How to delete a draft

It may happen that there are too many drafts and some of them were created accidentally, hence, there is no need in them. How to get rid of the drafts you don’t need? Easily! There are several ways to remove a draft in Outlook:

  • Go to the Drafts folder and hover the cursor on the unwanted draft. You’ll see the trash icon on the right side, just click on it and the draft will be removed right away:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (4)
  • If there are several drafts you need to get rid of, select them (or use Ctrl+A to select all of the drafts), right-click on any of them and choose Delete from the dropdown list:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (5)
  • You may also do it in an old-fashioned way - by drag and dropping the unwanted drafts into the Deleted Items folder.

How to recover deleted drafts in Outlook

Restoring drafts doesn’t differ from restoring messages at all. There are also a few ways to go:

  • You may use the Undo button (or the Ctrl + Z shortcut) in your Outlook and retrieve the last removed message.
  • As draft is just an email, it goes right to the Deleted Items folder after you remove it. So, open Deleted Items, find the drafts you still need and move them to the necessary folder in your Outlook:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (6)
  • Or even simpler, select the draft(s) to restore, drag and drop it into the necessary folder.
  • If however, you have already emptied your Trash folder, you may still restore the removed messages. Hit “Recover items recently removed from this folder”, choose the items to retrieve and get them back in a click:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (7)

Please keep in mind that once you send a draft, it gets converted into a sent email and it will no longer be available. Draft is a to-be-sent email so when you finally send it, you actually lose your draft with all its content.

(Video) How to Create email templates in Outlook - Office 365

Disappointing a little bit, right? But what if I told you that there is a way to save a draft and use it as a pattern for the outgoing messages? Would you like to know how you may make your drafts Outlook templates so that they don’t get lost, removed and can be used as long as you want? Keep up reading ;)

Use Outlook drafts as email templates

If you want a re-usable draft so that you could paste the pre-saved perfectly formatted text as many times as you need, I have a solution for you. Let me introduce you to our Shared Email Templates - a simple yet very efficient Outlook add-in that’ll help you make your email correspondence as quick and easy as never before.

I’ll give you an example of this add-in’s work so that you understand and share my excitement on this case. Imagine the following situation - your company has just launched a promo about your new product and the feedback is great! There are many users emailing you every day asking for more info and the special links to make the purchase with a special discount.

Although you may be thrilled to get such feedback at first, you’ll get bored retyping or copy-pasting the same text over and over again very soon. Here comes the draft solution for Shared Email Templates.

First off, you’ll need to create a draft of your future reply: write some text, apply coloring, paste an image and include a link.
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (8)

Here is the draft. But how to use it for the future replies? Simply! Save it as a template.
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (9)

Looks like nothing difficult, right? I’ll tell you more, once I walk you through the entire process and show you how effortlessly and quickly it is, you will not want to write repetitive emails manually anymore ;)

(Video) How to Create Email Templates in Outlook

Create folder for your templates

For Shared Email Templates to “see” your drafts, you’ll need to place them in a separate folder in Outlook and then connect it to the add-in. To begin with, create a new folder and place your future templates there.
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (10)

You may create several folders and place different sets of drafts in each of them or share the particular folder with the particular people.

Now you need to add this folder to Shared Email Templates.

Connect drafts folder to Shared Email Templates

Once the folder is ready and filled with drafts, let’s connect it to the add-in to make them templates. So, start Shared Email Templates, choose a folder on the add-in’s pane, right-click on it and choose “Connect Outlook Folder”:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (11)

Then browse for the necessary folder with your drafts, add it and it’ll be available as a new folder with a small O letter on its icon:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (12)

If you expand this folder, you’ll see all the drafts you’ve created.

Tip. If you don’t see any recent updates or newly created templates, first try to refresh your data.
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (13)

(Video) Power Automate Create a Draft Email #PowerAutomate #Outlook

If your teammates want to use the templates you’ve created too, there is no need to send them the content and make them follow the same steps to create and add drafts in Shared Email Templates. You may simply share your own drafts with the rest of your team. It’ll take no more than a few minutes, let me guide you through this process:

  1. Start Shared Email Templates and create a new team.
  2. Connect your Outlook folder with the drafts so that the to-be-shared templates get loaded.
  3. Invite your teammates to your team and set the desired permissions level for everyone.
  4. Now let’s grant the others access to your special folder with drafts. Find the folder with your drafts on the Navigation Pane, right-click on it and choose Properties:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (14)
  5. Go to the Permission tab and click on the Add icon:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (15)
  6. You’ll get the Add Users dialog window open. Here you choose and add the accounts you’d like to share your drafts with. Once everyone is added, hit OK to get back to the folder’s properties.

You’ll see the newly added accounts with the None permission level. In this case, your teammates still won’t see your drafts and won’t be able to use them. Stand on the necessary account, open the Permission Level drop-down list, and pick Reviewer or higher.
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (16)

One more step to take - you need to make your Outlook folder available to everyone. But it is not enough to open the drafts folder you are to share, you’ll need to share your Outlook mailbox. It’s easier done than said, see:

  1. Get back to your root folder, right-click on it and hit Folder Permissions:
  2. Pick the necessary account and check the Folder Visible checkbox:
    Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (17)

    Note. No worries, the others won’t be able to access your account and emails once you enable the Folder Visible option. It just lets the add-in to check the structure of your folders, nothing more.

  3. Do it for each and every account you are to share your drafts with and you’re good to go :)

In case you forget to add a user’s account in the folder’s properties or don’t set the permission level, your teammate will get the following notification:
Create Outlook drafts and use them as email templates (18)

In this case you go to step 4 and in a minute your colleague is all set up.

See? It’s not rocket science, the drill is plain and simple. From now on, your teammates may use the drafts you’ve created as templates.

(Video) How To Create Outlook Email Templates

Notes to remember

There are a few things I should point out so that you don’t get confused when working with your template-drafts:

  • There is no automatic synchronization so once the changes are applied, you’ll need to refresh your data to see the changes.
  • When you choose the draft-template, you see no formatting on the add-in pane. That’s ok, you’ll paste the text with all the formatting applied.
  • If you are to share your Outlook drafts, please keep in mind that it’ll work within one Office 365 business domain only. If you have a paid personal Office 365 account (Home, Personal, Student or a free account), you won’t be able to share your drafts.

I do hope I managed to convince you that it is easy to create and use drafts as templates and you’ll give our Shared Email Templates a shot :) If you have any feedback to share, please leave a few words in the Comments. And, of course, stay tuned as there are more tutorials are about to come ;)

You may also be interested in:

  • Add images from OneDrive in Outlook messages
  • Paste pictures from URL or clipboard into Outlook emails
  • How to attach files to Outlook emails using Shared Email Templates
  • Creating drafts with attachments to use them as templates in Outlook
  • WHAT TO ENTER macro in Shared Email Templates
  • How to create, use and apply formatting to tables in Outlook templates
  • Docs: Use drafts as templates in Outlook


Can you save an email draft as a template outlook? ›

In the message body, enter the content that you want. In the message window, click File > Save As. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type list, click Outlook Template. In the File name box, type a name for your template, and then click Save.

How do I create an email template with fillable fields? ›

On the add-in's pane, select the target folder and click the New Template button. If the text you want to include in your template is in the message you are composing, select that text, and then click New Template. The selected text will be inserted into your template automatically.

How do I use a template I created in Outlook? ›

To use an email message template, use the following steps:
  1. Select New Items > More Items > Choose Form.
  2. In the Choose Form dialog box, in Look In, click User Templates in File System.
  3. The default templates folder is opened. ...
  4. Select the template, and then click Open.

How many templates can you save in Outlook? ›

There is one limit though, you can only save up to 32kb of template data. So that means that if you create too many or too large templates, you will get an error that you can't save the template.

Where are Outlook templates stored? ›

An Outlook template is a usual file (. oft), so you can pick any template from the folder where all Outlook templates are stored ( C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates ) and send it as an al attachment or save to a network share.

How do I create a fillable field template in Outlook? ›

To design an Outlook form
  1. On the Developer tab, in the Custom Forms group, click Design a Form, and then select the standard form on which to base your custom form.
  2. Add the fields, controls, and code that you want to your new form. ...
  3. Set form attributes for the custom form.
  4. Publish the form.
21 Jan 2022

What are drafts in Outlook? ›

If you are not ready to send an email, you can save it for later by creating a draft. Draft messages are saved to the Drafts folder in Outlook. You can come back, finish, and send your draft message later.

How do I create a draft email? ›

Draft emails from Google Docs
  1. On your computer, open a Google Doc.
  2. At the top left, click Insert > Building blocks > Email draft. ...
  3. To add recipients in the "To" field, type "@" and search your contacts, or type out email addresses.
  4. You can add a subject line, write text in the email body, and format your draft.

How do I edit an Outlook email template? ›

How to edit email templates
  1. Select an email template in the templates tree.
  2. Press the F4 key on your keyboard or the Edit icon in the toolbar: Also, you can right-click on the template and select the Edit option:
  3. Make the necessary changes and click Save to save the template in Outlook.

How do I embed a fillable PDF into Outlook? ›

Add a PDF to your Office file
  1. Click Insert > Object in the Text group. For Outlook, click inside of the body of an item, such as an email message or calendar event.
  2. Click Create from File > Browse.
  3. Browse to the . pdf file you want to insert, and then click Open.
  4. Click OK.

How do I add an Outlook template to Quick Access Toolbar? ›

Step 1: Click the New Items > More Items. Step 2: Right click the Choose Form item. Step 3: In the right-click menu, select the Add to Quick Access Toolbar item. Then the Choose Form command is added to the Quick Access Toolbar immediately.

How do I reply to a template in Outlook? ›

In the replying message, please click the Insert button behind the auto text entry of formatted template text to insert it, then compose the reply message and send it.

How do I create an email template in Outlook browser? ›

Creating a Template

Click the New Message button to create a new message. In the lower right corner in the New Message window, click on the 'My Templates' icon. Click on the + Template and type a Template Name and the body of the template (e.g., all the standard information). Click Save.

How do I create an HTML email in Outlook? ›

On the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab. Under Message Format, in the Compose in this message format list, click HTML or Plain Text, and then click OK.

How do I backup my Outlook templates? ›

IT Help Desk
  1. Step 01: Open File Explorer. Open File Explorer in Windows.
  2. Step 02: Open the Templates Folder. Once you open File Explorer, paste following address in the address bar %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates\ ...
  3. Step 03: Copy Templates. ...
  4. Step 04: Store the Copied Templates. ...
  5. Step 05: Restore Templates.
13 Jun 2022

Can you share Outlook email templates with others? ›

As all templates are stored in a sharing cloud-based service, you can easily share them with your colleagues united into one or several teams. To start using your templates, simply install the add-in via the Microsoft Office Store, sign in, create a team and invite your mates.

Why have my templates disappeared in Outlook? ›

Microsoft has changed the file location for personal templates in Office and you will need to move templates created in earlier versions of Office: Select the Start button, type %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates\ and press Enter to open a Windows Explorer view showing all your custom templates from older versions of Office.

What is the fastest way to access email templates in Outlook? ›

Add a shortcut on the Outlook Ribbon
  1. From the File tab, choose Options.
  2. Select Customise Ribbon.
  3. In the right pane; ...
  4. In the left pane; ...
  5. This icon will open a Choose Forms window.
  6. In the Look In box, choose User Templates in File System and select your template.
14 Apr 2020

Where is the default Outlook email template? ›

Go to the destination folder, where all Outlook templates are saved by default. It is- C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. Locate the template you need and click on it to drag it towards the Outlook icon on your taskbar.

Where are the drafts in Outlook? ›

To view the contents of the Drafts folder in Outlook, click the “Mail” icon in the Navigation Bar, if needed. Then click the “Drafts” folder in the Folder Pane. Your saved email drafts then appear to the right.

Where are drafts in Outlook app? ›

These days, the Outlook app for iPad, iPhone and Android will automatically sync drafts across devices and computers. Look in the app folder list for Drafts.

How long do draft emails stay in Outlook? ›

When you “Discard” a draft message, it is placed in the “Deleted Items” folder and will remain there until the folder is emptied or 30 days has passed.

What does it mean to draft an email? ›

Occasionally, while composing a message, you may want to save it as a draft, then continue to work on it later before sending it as a message. A draft is intended for one-time use only. Once you click Send after working on a draft in the Compose window, Mailer deletes it from your file system.

What is an email draft an email? ›

Drafts represent unsent messages with the DRAFT system label applied. The message contained within the draft cannot be edited once created, but it can be replaced.

How do you create a draft? ›

8 steps to writing your first draft
  1. Outline your core topic. ...
  2. Identify your audience. ...
  3. Plan with pre-writing. ...
  4. Make a mess and clean it up in later. ...
  5. Avoid adding minute details. ...
  6. Start writing without engaging your inner critic. ...
  7. Don't stop to do more research. ...
  8. Seek appropriate feedback.
27 Jan 2020

How do I edit an oft file? ›

Open . oft file, make required changes and click File - Save as, change file format to . oft and save in require location. Home ->New Items-> More Items->Choose Form , Select User template in File System , click on the Browse button and the "Browse For Folder" dialog will allow to browse the File System.

Can you embed an interactive PDF into an email? ›

To do this, click the "Insert" tab on the ribbon bar, and then click "Object." In the Object window, select "Adobe Acrobat Document" and then click "OK." Browse to the PDF you want to display in the message, highlight the filename and then click "Insert." Outlook formats the first page of the PDF and inserts it as a ...

How do you make a PDF appear in the body of an email? ›

Entire Document with Windows

Open the PDF file in the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Click on “Edit” from the menu along the top and select “Copy File to Clipboard.” Open the email you want to send and paste the file by holding down the "Control" key and then “V,” or right-click and select “Paste” from the menu.

How do I insert a placeholder in Outlook? ›

In the email editor, hover over the body section. When it appears, click on the pencil to edit. In the body of the email, add a greeting (with a comma or exclamation point). Place your cursor before the comma or explanation point, and click on the placeholder icon in your toolbar.

How do I create a shortcut for email template in Outlook 2016? ›

How to Add Shortcut for Email Templates folder in Outlook Ribbon

How do I create a quick step email in Outlook? ›

In Mail, select Home. In the Quick Steps group, in the Quick Steps gallery, select the Create New Quick Step. In the Name box, type a name for the new Quick Step. Select the icon button next to the Name box, select an icon, and then select OK.

How do I create an email template in quick steps? ›

QuickStep Email Template - YouTube

Why do I need to create a template for auto reply in Outlook? ›

However, by combining an Outlook auto-reply rule and email message template, we can be more productive. Basically, we're evaluating the incoming email message, and if it meets certain criteria, an automatic reply message is triggered. In some regards, it's like Excel's IF function.

How do I create a standard response in Outlook? ›

Set up a canned response in Outlook
  1. Start a new mail message in Outlook.
  2. Click in the body of the message. ...
  3. Type in your message for a canned response. ...
  4. Select what you typed in the body of the message.
  5. Click on the Insert tab and click Quick Parts.
  6. Click Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery and give it a name.
16 Mar 2017

Does Outlook 365 have email Templates? ›

If you are using Office 365 (the online version) you will notice an icon in the bottom right corner of your email that looks like a blank sheet with a blue lightening bolt. This is your templates icon. Click on it to reveal your list of email templates.

How do I create an oft File? ›

Click "File" and "Save as" in the menu. Type a name for the file in the "File name" field. Select "Outlook Template (*. oft) from the "Save as type" drop-down box.

How do I add a template to Office 365? ›

Click the Templates tab. Under Global templates and add-ins, select the check box next to the template or add-in that you want to load. If the template or add-in you want does not appear in the box, click Add, switch to the folder that contains the template or add-in you want, click it, and then click OK.

What is HTML email template? ›

An email template is an HTML file composed of reusable code modules, making it as easy as copying and pasting your copy, links, and image URLs to create an email. Let's break that down. An email template is an HTML file. HTML—or hypertext markup language—is the code that defines the structure and content in an email.

How do I test an email template? ›

Here's what to look out for:
  1. Outdated code. First, take a look through the code of the emails. ...
  2. Dark mode support. One surefire way to know when you last tested your templates is if they're coded for dark mode support. ...
  3. Accessibility changes. ...
  4. Outdated branding. ...
  5. Changes in client support.
26 Jan 2022

What does an HTML email look like? ›

HTML emails have everything plain text emails don't have: color, style, images, and sometimes multimedia. HTML emails are similar to webpages, only they're delivered to people's email inboxes. As such, you can design your HTML email to match your brand and give your readers a more visually engaging experience.

How do you keep a draft after sending? ›

Method 1. Use the Ctrl + F shortcut keys in the opened draft email
  1. Open the specified draft email by double clicking it.
  2. In the message window, put your cursor on any place of the email header field, and then press the Ctrl + F keys on the keyboard.
  3. Then a new email message with the same content of the draft is created.

How do I copy an Outlook template? ›

On your keyboard, click CTRL+A to select all template files, then click CTRL+C to make a copy of them.

How do I send a draft email to someone else? ›

Once in Drafts, open the draft message and the Send button will be active. On a similar note, if you want to resend a draft message multiple times, don't double click to open it. Instead, select it then hit the Forward button.

How do I make multiple copies of an email in Outlook? ›

  1. Double-click the email message in the main portion of the Outlook window so the email message window pops up.
  2. Click the “Reply” button.
  3. Click in the “To” field.
  4. Press the “Ctrl-F” keys together. A new copy of the email pops up. Repeat this step for as many copies as desired.

How long do draft emails stay in Outlook? ›

When you “Discard” a draft message, it is placed in the “Deleted Items” folder and will remain there until the folder is emptied or 30 days has passed.

Why has my draft email disappeared in Outlook? ›

Chances are that the Outlook application could have crashed while you were drafting an email. The internet connection could be disconnected during the drafting process. The Outlook data on your system could be corrupted, causing the crash of the app.

How do I send an editable draft in Outlook? ›

When you need to edit an email draft before sending it, find it in your Drafts folder.
  1. Click the Drafts folder. From here, you can make quick edits to your drafts in the Preview Pane, or you can open each draft in its own window.
  2. Select and edit the draft.
  3. Click the Send button.

Where are email templates stored? ›

Go to the destination folder, where all Outlook templates are saved by default. It is- C:\Users\UserName\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Templates. Locate the template you need and click on it to drag it towards the Outlook icon on your taskbar.

Can you share Outlook email templates with others? ›

As all templates are stored in a sharing cloud-based service, you can easily share them with your colleagues united into one or several teams. To start using your templates, simply install the add-in via the Microsoft Office Store, sign in, create a team and invite your mates.

What is the File extension for an Outlook template? ›

Files with . oft extension are template files that are created using Microsoft Outlook. The pre-formatted layout set for message templates is then used for sending out emails with common information to save time.

What is a ghost email in Outlook? ›

What is a Ghost Email? Emails that are deleted from the profile but are actually present in the email server are Ghost Emails. Such mails appear due to a sudden power failure or malware issue. These mails corrupt the PST files and slow down the Outlook function.

How do I permanently save a draft in Outlook? ›

To manually save a draft of a message, do one of the following:
  1. Click Save on the Quick Access Toolbar.
  2. Click the Microsoft Office Button. , and then click Save.

How do I send a draft email in Outlook 365? ›

Re: Send Draft email

Click on the 'Drafts Folder', find the email and click on it. It will show the email in editing mode. Edit if required, then click on the send icon like you normally would. This will send the email as normal.

How do you clone an email? ›

Locate the email you would like to duplicate and click on the More Options icon. Select Duplicate. You will be prompted to the Duplicate Email pop-up window. Here you can rename your email.

Will Outlook send an email twice if it entered twice? ›

Usually, the server automatically detects emails that are being sent to one recipient twice and only sends the email once. However, if it involves different email addresses or aliases, the situation that you are facing may take place.

Can someone clone my email address? ›

Your immediate concern is, of course, that you've become a victim of cybercriminals. However, this often isn't the case; instead, someone is faking your email address. All emails come with details of the recipient and the sender, and the latter can be spoofed (which simply means it's an imitation address).


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