Use Word letter templates in Outlook messages

Applies to
Microsoft Office Outlook® 2003

Test drive Outlook Today the convenience and informality of e-mail is part of our daily lives. Did you know that it is also acceptable to communicate more formally through online messages? In many businesses, it is common practice to send cover letters or to follow up on sales calls by using e-mail.

Instead of attaching a separate document, you can include a more formal business letter in the body of an e-mail message. Because attachments might be viewed with suspicion due to viruses and spam, communicating directly within an e-mail message is even more valuable.

You no longer have to sacrifice style and formatting in messages either. Using Microsoft Office Word 2003 as your e-mail editor in Outlook, you have all the same features and formatting options that you normally use to create business letters. With Word letter templates, you can build on and customize a variety of standard, classic, and cutting-edge letter formats and subjects. Find out more about how to use Word features in your e-mail letters.

In this article...

The hardest part is choosing a template

     How do I download a template?

Using Word as your e-mail editor

     How can I tell if Word is my e-mail editor?

     Turn on Word as your e-mail editor

     Turn on or off Word as your default e-mail editor for all new messages

     Turn on Word as your e-mail editor for one new message

Using a Word template in an Outlook message


Word business letter template

The hardest part is choosing a template

Word provides many business letter templates that cover a variety of industries, purposes, events, agendas, and tasks. When you visit the Templates on Microsoft Office Online Web site, you can also find templates for many other types of letters, as well as stationery, labels, order forms, and calendars.

After you select and download a template, all you need to do is open it in Outlook and customize it to fit your needs.

How do I download a template?

  1. On the Office Templates Web site, find the template that you want, and then click Download Now on the template's preview page. The template is automatically opened in Word on your computer.

 Note   You might need to download the templates or an ActiveX control manually, particularly if you have a version of Microsoft Office earlier than Microsoft Office 2003. The download process includes instructions.

  1. In Word, click Save.
  2. In the Save As dialog box, in the Save as type box, click Document Template (*.dot).
  3. In the File name box, type a new name for the template.

 Important   Do not change the .dot file name extension.

  1. Click Save. This saves the template in your Templates folder. The default path to the Templates folder is C:\Documents and Settings\your name or computer name\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates.

 Tip   While the Save As dialog box is open, save the new template to your My Documents folder instead of the default Templates folder. It is usually quicker to find and open files that are stored in My Documents.

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Using Word as your e-mail editor

Before you start using your template, you must be using Word as your e-mail editor. Word is the default e-mail editor in Outlook 2003, so unless you have changed this default, you are probably all set.

 Note   If you are sending the message to someone who is not using Word as an e-mail editor, that recipient may lose some or all of the template's formatting.

How can I tell if Word is my e-mail editor?

  1. In the main Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
  2. If Word is your e-mail editor, the Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages check box is selected.

Turn on Word as your e-mail editor

If Word is not selected as your e-mail editor, you can turn it on, either for all of your new messages or just for individual messages.

Do one of the following:

Turn on or off Word as your default e-mail editor for all new messages

  1. In the main Outlook window, on the Tools menu, click Options, and then click the Mail Format tab.
  2. Select or clear the Use Microsoft Office Word 2003 to edit e-mail messages check box.

Turn on Word as your e-mail editor for one new message

  • On the Actions menu, point to New Mail Message Using, and then click Microsoft Office Word 2003 (message format).

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Using a Word template in an Outlook message

  1. In Outlook, click New to open a new e-mail message.
  2. In the To line, add the people you want to send the message to.
  3. In the Subject line, type an appropriate introductory description for the message.
  4. In My Computer, browse to your Templates folder.
  5. Double-click the template file to open it in Word.
  6. In Word, on the Edit menu, click Select All.
  7. On the Edit menu, click Cut.
  8. In Outlook, in your new e-mail message, click in the body of the message. On the Edit menu, click Paste.

Now all you need to do is customize the template to fit your purpose. You can make changes to the message just as you would in any other Word document. For example, you can change the placement of letter elements, such as the date or heading, or you can change the formatting, such as font size or color. You can also add or delete parts of the message. For example, you can add new paragraphs that describe your particular situation.

Or you can just take advantage of the template structure and type whatever information you want to personalize it. It's as easy as clicking once and typing.

Template fields

Callout 1 Click once between the brackets of a template element to select it.
Callout 2 After the element is selected, start typing your information.

 Tip   After you customize a template, rename it and save it as a new template (.dot) so it is ready for the next time you want to use the template.

Take advantage of Word business letter templates — e-mail just became more convenient! Find out more about using Word templates.

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Applies to:
Outlook 2003