Compose Email Faster with Outlook’s AutoText Feature

When composing emails, I find myself typing certain phrases over and over. Some phrases are used so often that the words come naturally without much thought. Other times, I need to dig through my sent mail searching for how it was written previously. To save time, I've been looking to Microsoft Outlook for help. That's when I stumbled across the AutoText feature.


Less than a year ago, we reviewed a similar Outlook feature called Quick Parts (Compose E-mails Faster with Outlook Quick Parts). The feature lets us save chucks of text to quickly include within our email messages. Quick Parts is useful, but requires us to physically look for the desired text. It would be beneficial if Outlook suggested the saved text block as we type. That's where AutoText comes in.

For example, many of my messages end with the following:

Let me know if there is anything else you need.


To limit how much I actually need to type, this could be saved as AutoText.

Note: the following directions and screenshots are based on Microsoft Outlook 2010 for Windows 7.

Creating AutoText Blocks

To create the AutoText entry

  1. Highlight the text to include
  2. Go to the Insert panel
  3. Click Quick Parts
  4. Click AutoText (see Figure 1)
  5. Click Save Selection to AutoText Gallery
  6. Modify the Create New Building Block dialog fields if you want and click OK (see Figure 2)
Outlook screenshot showing the AutoText feature
Figure 1. AutoText Option
Outlook screenshot showing the customization options for AutoText entries
Figure 2. Create New Building Block Dialog

Now, Outlook dynamically suggests the saved AutoText as we type. When "Let m" is entered, for the example, a tooltip asks if the corresponding AutoText should be used (see Figure 3). Pressing Enter on the keyboard inserts the rest of the text.

Outlook screenshot showing AutoText in action
Figure 3. AutoText Tooltip


With the AutoText feature in Outlook, emails can be composed a whole lot faster. We just need to identify all those phrases we commonly type. Then remember to pay attention to all those little popups displayed by Outlook.


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