How to Quickly Reply to an Email Using Quick Parts in Microsoft Outlook

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If you send the same message often, turn the content into a Quick Parts item and save time viewing emails in Microsoft Outlook.

Image: Diego/Adobe Stock

Email takes a long time. In fact, it’s such a big deal that Microsoft Outlook comes with predefined responses. Unfortunately, you have to be on Exchange or Outlook.com to use them. However, you can create your own preset answers and use them appropriately to save time typing the same answers over and over again. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Quick Parts to enter preset replies when replying to a Microsoft Outlook email.

I use Microsoft 365 desktop on a 64-bit Windows 10 system, but you can use older versions. This feature is not available on Outlook for the web. There is no demo file; you won’t need it.

SEE: Google Workspace vs. Microsoft 365: A Side-by-Side Analysis with Checklist (TechRepublic Premium)

What is Quick Parts in Outlook?

Quick Parts is an Office-wide feature that lets you create, store, and insert reusable content blocks. You’ll save time by inserting content through Quick Parts instead of typing it in manually.

To create a Quick Parts item, enter the content (text, graphics, and formatting) into an email. Then select it and save it to the Quick Parts gallery. Now let’s get into some content and add it to the Quick Parts gallery for future use.

How to create a Quick Parts item in Outlook

You can create Quick Parts in other Office apps, but we’re talking about Outlook email replies, so we’ll use Outlook.

Open a blank email and add content as shown in Figure A. Note that there is some formatting and even a logo (it’s actually a stock images icon). Be sure to press F7 to run the editor. You don’t want to repeatedly respond with a Quick Parts item that contains a typo.

Figure A

Enter content to save to the Quick Parts gallery.

When the content is ready, select it – text and graphic. Next, click the Insert menu and do the following:

  1. In the Text group, click the Quick Parts option.
  2. Choose Save Selection to Quick Items Gallery (Figure B).
  3. In the resulting dialog box, give the item a meaningful name, such as InquiryResponseGeneric(Figure C).
  4. The remaining settings are fine as is.
  5. Click OK to return to the email message.

Figure B

Save selection to gallery.

Figure C

Give the element a meaningful name.

Now that you have a quick answer ready and waiting, let’s try it out.

How to insert a Quick Parts item into an email in Outlook

Now suppose that you are the first line of receiving incoming mail and cannot respond to each one immediately. Instead, you reply with a predefined message, then forward the email to the appropriate staff.

After reading the message displayed in Figure D, you double-click to open it and click Reply. To enter the canned response, enter a few characters in the name (step 3 above). In this case, survey will – type survey, then press F3. Outlook will insert the entire item.

Figure D

Type a few characters in the item name, then press F3 to type it.

Given the nature of this particular post, you might want to tweak the response a bit – you won’t always do that – but this feature is flexible enough to allow that.

In the canned response, select 24 hours and replace it with the hour as shown in Figure E. Then click send and forward appropriately.

Figure E

You can edit the canned response.

The quick coin limits are so big that you would run out of ideas before reaching them. Whenever you find yourself replying with the same text, add it to the Quick Parts gallery so you can reuse it. This feature will save you a lot of time. Your colleagues will be amazed at how quickly you deliver emails every morning.

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