Keep a copy of a Draft as a message template

I've got several message templates stored in the Drafts folder which I use on a frequent basis. However, whenever I open the template from the Drafts folder and send it, it is removed from the Drafts folder.

Can I configure Outlook to always leave a copy of the template in the Drafts folder?

Drafts folder iconOutlook has no such option but the workaround is really easy; instead of opening your template from the Drafts folder by double clicking on it, press the Forward button instead.

For Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019 and Office 365, the method requires an additional step due to the Reading Pane Reply feature.

Note: For more information and other methods about working with message templates in Outlook, also see the guide; Working with message templates

Forward method

Forward buttonBy using the Forward button or by pressing CTRL+F, a copy of the selected template is automatically being created and opened. This can then be sent without the original template being removed from the Drafts folder.

As the template message is a draft and not a received message, no header information will be added above the template text, like you normally would get when forwarding an already received message.

Forward method in Outlook 2013, 2016, 2019 and Office 365

Reading Pane buttonIn Outlook 2013 and later, things work a bit different as the Reading Pane is also a place where you can now compose emails. Therefor the Forward button is now disabled.

To still be able to use a Draft as a message template, you can use one the following methods instead:

  • Open the message via a double click first. Then either press CTRL+F while the cursor is inside one of the header fields (so not in the message body) or add the Forward button to the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT). It’s already listed as an option when you press the down arrow on the right side of the QAT.
  • Copy the message first. A quick way to create a copy is to use CTRL+C and then CTRL+V when the item is selected. You can then press CTRL+V again to create additional copies.
  • Disable the option for allowing composing in the Reading Pane. This will however also affect regular replies and forwards.
    File-> Options-> Mail-> section: Replies and Forwards-> enable option: Open replies and forwards in a new window
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