How to use Microsoft Outlook 2007's Quick Parts feature

Discover how to use Microsoft Outlook 2007's Quick Parts feature (formerly known as AutoText) to save fragments of text in a gallery for repeated use in email.

Formerly known as AutoText, Microsoft Outlook 2007's Quick Parts feature lets you save fragments of text in a gallery for repeated use in email and documents. Learn how to create and edit Quick Parts in this tip.


In Microsoft Outlook versions prior to Outlook 2007, there was a feature called AutoText that let users save and reuse text that was frequently used in email messages. In Outlook 2007, AutoText has been merged into a new feature called Quick Parts. Microsoft Outlook 2007 Quick Parts lets you create fragments of text and save them in a gallery for repeated use in email and documents.

Quick Parts is actually a subsidiary of the Building Blocks function of Microsoft Office, which is a general framework for creating and organizing snippets of text or data for reuse in multiple contexts.

To create a Quick Part for Outlook 2007:

  1. Type the text you're going to reuse and highlight it.
  2. In the Insert tab, select Quick Parts -> Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery.
  3. Choose a name for the Quick Part and an optional description -- but don't change the Gallery description.
  4. Click OK.

The resulting Quick Part will be saved to the NormalEmail.dotm file, the template used by Microsoft Outlook for email messages.

If you want to edit elements in your Quick Parts gallery, you'll need to do so through Microsoft Word, since the email editor in Microsoft Outlook is technically part of Word:

  1. Close Microsoft Outlook 2007.
  2. Open the NormalEmail.dotm document template, which is usually in %appdata%\Microsoft\Templates.
  3. Go to the Insert tab and select Quick Parts -> Building Blocks Organizer.
  4. Sort by Template in the resulting display to move together everything from NormalEmail.dotm.
  5. You should now be able to edit or delete the components from NormalEmail.dotm in this view.

If you attempt to open NormalEmail.dotm when Outlook 2007 is open, you'll get a warning informing you that the file is open and the option to work on a read-only copy of the document. If you do this, none of your changes will be saved back to the file.

MEMBER FEEDBACK TO THIS TIP

Right-clicking the Quick Parts Gallery gives an option to "Organize and Delete." This takes you straight to the Building Blocks Organizer without the need to close Outlook and edit NormalEmail.dotm in Microsoft Word.
—Colin W.

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That's excellent feedback -- thanks!
—Serdar Yegulalp, tip author

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I cannot get Quick Parts to save. I am following all of the steps and the entries stay saved until I close Microsoft Outlook. When I reopen Outlook, it has purged all of my Quick Part entries. Do you have any suggestions on how to fix this?
—Jessica F.

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There are a couple of possible reasons for this. For one, if you have any other Microsoft Office applications open when you do this process, including Word, they might cause the Quick Part entries to be overwritten.
—Serdar Yegulalp, tip author

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I'm experiencing the same problem, and it is likely due to having an Excel spreadsheet open when Quick Parts entries are edited. Not so slick though, Microsoft. Aren't Office applications supposed to work together?
—Jesse A.

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Do you know a way to copy my Quick Parts from one computer to another or, better yet, to share them with others on my network?
—David F.

About the author: Serdar Yegulalp is editor of Windows Insight, a newsletter devoted to hints, tips, tricks, news and goodies for all flavors of Windows users.

Do you have comments on this tip? Let us know.

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This was first published in June 2007
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