Boiler plate e-mail template with user input fields RRS feed

  • Question

  • I am completely new to using Outlook forms and templates. I am trying to create a template that uses standard text except for a few things that change each time I send it. I have created the template, but right now, I just highlight and type over the fields that change each time. I'd like to simplify this process with some kind of input form or other method of quickly typing in the variables for the message.

    Here is a simplified example of my template:

    "Hello <Name>:

    Our account at <NameOfBank> was shorted <Amount> from our deposit for <Date>. Please respond with an anticipated time to fix this problem..."

    When I open the template, I want a quick way to supply the values for the <Variables>.

    •Can I do this somehow in the template?
    •Do I need to make this into a Form?
    •Can I make an input box pop up (like MS Access)?
    •Is this a major undertaking or something fairly simple to do?

    I've got a little VBA experience so some light coding is not a problem. Also, please let me know if if I am in the correct forum for such a question - I didn't see a lot of sub-topics so I'm not sure if this is too specific for this forum.

    Thank you.


    Wednesday, July 11, 2012 9:17 PM


  • The short but unhelpful answer is: yes - you can do all of that with a custom Outlook form with light VBScript code.  Best to start with the basics though, and this is a great place to learn from:

    Microsoft Outlook Custom Forms:

    However, using a form to dynamically build e-mail body content can be difficult.  There is nothing you can do inside the control that displays the message body, for example.  You would end up doing a lot of string parsing and manipulation and creating oodles of controls to control the flow of the text.

    I'd take a look at using Quick Parts instead (for Outlook 2007+; add the hidden command to the Quick Access Toolbar).  It'll help you store and retrieve common blocks of text to insert into your e-mail body as required.  Or even take a look at InfoPath if that's an option, which is much more suitable for forms-based solutions.

    Eric Legault
    MVP (Outlook)
    About me...
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    Thursday, July 12, 2012 2:41 PM