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Creating OFT templates for Outlook 2010

I wrote an article a few years ago on creating OFT files for Outlook. This was written for Outlook 2007, and since then, Outlook 2010 has been released and things have changed. The ability to view web pages within Outlook 2010 has been removed and the UI has also been redone, but fear not, the ability to make OFT files still exists, although it’s not as straight forward as it used to be.

After looking everywhere for a way to load a web page within Outlook 2010, I finally checked Microsoft’s site only to find out that this ability had been removed entirely. I started thinking about other ways to get a page into Outlook without using a 3rd party mailer application. That’s when I fired up Internet Explorer and found the Send Page by e-mail option. The good news is after several tests the results seem to be the same. To send the HTML to Outlook I used Internet Explorer 8. I’m not sure if other browsers can do the same, but since this is a proprietary MS format it’s probably best to stick with IE.

In Internet Explorer go to:

File / Send / Page by E-mail…

If you have Outlook 2010 as your default mail client it should automatically load with the page embedded into an email message. Now one would think that by now all you would have to do is save the email as an OFT and be done with it, but for some reason every time I tried this the resulting OFT was a blank file. The trick is to email the message to yourself and then save it as an OFT. Don’t forget to change the subject title to whatever you would like the OFT to read.

In Outlook 2010 go to:

File / Save As

Select Outlook Template under Save as type:

Now you should have an OFT that will work just as 2007 templates worked. Remember when creating OFT files there are many limitations, and tables and spacer GIFs are a must for any remotely complex layouts. Check out the related posts below for more Outlook tips and tricks.

18 Comments to “Creating OFT templates for Outlook 2010”

  • Tom Edwards

    Excellent trick – I am not a HTML programmer so just tried the same thing using MS Publisher 2010, I created my Auto Reply using the Publisher Email template, clicked “send to email recipient”, then clicked “email preview” which opened IE. I then followed your instructions and it work perfectly – thanks

  • QC

    Thanks a lot for this article, it’s just what I was looking for!

  • Shaun Hensher | Graphic Design Toronto

    Thanks for this.

    I was having trouble at first. The OFT would save fine, but then if I tried to resend it, it would strip out all the HTML.

    I changed the doctype to HTML 4.01 transitional (from XHTML 1.0) and it works now.

  • Christine

    Thanks! I hadn’t created an oft in about year (when I had 2007). Don’t do it very often, obviously, and was trying to refresh my memory. Using Word’s Help feature showed your article and voila! gave me what I needed. Saved me tons of time (sometimes, I refuse to read the manual or search the help topics and insist on figuring it out myself. Only to discover I’ve wasted 2 hours). L8r.

  • Erika

    This is exactly what I was looking for. Thanks for the helpful instructions.

  • lindsey

    I have a text only design as a pdf from Indesign. I work on mac, use gmail.

    For the first time a client has asked for an OFT. I want to say YES!
    But now.. after downloading outlook and trying to get a handle I am nowhere…

    can you explain what I am supposed to do from a PDF to creating an OFT? I am clearly not one bit of a coder…
    much appreciated!!

    • Ian Hoar

      Hi Lindsey,

      You can’t just convert a PDF to an OFT. I suggest finding someone to help you out with the HTML. You will need to create an email newsletter and then important that into Outlook.

      • Hans

        Hello Ian,

        I have a simular question.

        I already made several OFT files with Outlook 2007, but when I want to adjust them in Outlook 2010 I can’t find a way to do so in Outlook 2010.

        There is a option “choose form” but no longer a possibility to change or adjust them.

        Hope you can help me.

        Regards,

        Hans

  • Brandon

    Is there a way to make an Outlook 2010 Email Template file (.OFT) Read Only, where the recipient cannot enter info into it without having to create a new email first??? Basically, once I email the user using the template, is there a way to make the content of my email read only/protected so that the recipient can ONLY copy & paste the body of my email into a new email but not modify message body of my original email???

    • Joi

      Hi Brandon,
      Just curious if your question was answered. I have the same question. I would like to be able to make my oft file non editable for my sales reps.

      Thanks

      • Ian Hoar

        Hi Joi,

        I don’t think you can change this. There is almost zero flexibility with OFT files and I generally recommend against people using them for this and many other reasons, but sometimes clients insist, thus the need for a blog post. 😉

    • Joi

      Thanks Ian. I totally agree with you. But our clients insist on wanting their Sales Reps to be able to send their customers special deals via emails and we just don’t them to alter the information on the oft files. Thanks for your quick reply. Joi

  • Mike M

    I just got outlook 2010 and I cannot figure out how to find and retrieve my templates. Can someone help?

  • Lisa

    So – my hunch is that it’s all changed again with Office 2011. Can you make any recommendations on how to do this with Windows 8 & Outlook 2011?

  • Oliver

    You can try some Outlook add-ins. I read an article the other day and it lists 3 to 4 methods: 1. Outlook template as what you have in your article; 2. using VBA editor to deploy a macro; 3. Some add-ins; 4. ask your mail admin to put a few e-mail addresses for direct forwarding in your mail account profile. If you like to read detail about this article, here it is: http://blog.evomailserver.com/auto-bcc-outlook/

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