If you often send the same message, turn the content into a Quick Parts item and save time viewing email in Microsoft Outlook.
Email takes a lot of time. In fact it is such a big problem that Microsoft Outlook comes with canned responses. Unfortunately, you have to use Exchange or Outlook.com to use them. However, you can create your own canned answers and use them appropriately to save time typing the same answers over and over. In this tutorial, I’ll show you how to use Quick Parts to enter canned responses when replying to Microsoft Outlook email.
I use Microsoft 365 desktop on a Windows 10 64-bit system, but you can use older versions. This feature is not available in Outlook for the web. There is no demonstration file; you don’t need one.
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What is Quick Parts in Outlook?
Quick Parts is an Office-wide feature that allows you to create, save, and insert reusable content blocks. You save time by inserting content via Quick Parts instead of typing it manually.
To create a Quick Parts item, enter the content — text, images, and formatting — in an email message. Then select it and save it to the Quick Parts gallery. Now let’s enter some content and add it to the Quick Parts gallery for future reference.
Create a Quick Parts item in Outlook
You can create Quick Parts items in other Office apps, but we’re talking Outlook email replies, so we’ll be using Outlook.
Open a blank email message and add some content, as shown in Image A† Note that there is a bit of formatting and even a logo (it’s basically a stock photos icon). Make sure to press F7 to run the Editor. You don’t want to reply repeatedly with a Quick Parts item with a typo.
When the content is ready, select it – the text and the image. Then click the Insert menu and do the following:
- In the Text group, click Quick Parts.
- Choose Save Selection to Quick Items Gallery (Figure B†
- In the resulting dialog box, give the item a meaningful name, such as InquiryResponseGeneric (Figure C†
- The other settings are fine as they are.
- Click OK to return to the email.
Now that you have a quick answer ready, let’s try it.
Insert a Quick Parts item into email in Outlook
Now let’s say you are the first line of incoming email and you can’t respond to every post right away. Instead, respond with a standard message and then forward the email to the appropriate staff.
After reading the message displayed in Figure D, double-click to open it and click Reply. To enter the default response, enter a few characters in the name (step 3 above). In this case, research will do – type research, then press F3. Outlook will insert the entire item.
Given the nature of this particular message, you may want to change the response a bit – you won’t always do that – but this feature is flexible enough to allow it.
In the default response, select 24 hours and replace it with the hour, as shown in Digits E† Then click Submit and forward appropriately.
The limits on Quick Parts are so great 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 function will save you a lot of time. Your colleagues will be amazed at how quickly you forward emails every morning.