Saving a draft

Outlook Email Drafts: Your Ultimate Guide

In the fast-paced world of email communication, saving drafts in Microsoft Outlook is a crucial skill that can save you time and frustration. Accidentally deleting drafts can happen to anyone, but fear not - there are ways to recover them and even turn them into email templates for future use. This guide will walk you through the process step by step, ensuring you make the most of Outlook's features.

Key Takeaways

  • Saving drafts in Outlook is essential for preventing loss of work and managing email communication efficiently.

  • Recovering accidentally deleted drafts is possible by navigating to the Deleted Items folder and moving them back to the Drafts folder.

  • Transforming drafts into email templates can streamline communication and ensure consistency in messaging.

  • Utilizing tools like the Shared Email Templates plug-in can enhance collaboration and productivity in team settings.

  • Accessing and managing drafts on Outlook mobile allows for flexibility and convenience in email management.

Saving Emails to Drafts in Outlook

Saving an email to drafts in Microsoft Outlook is a straightforward process, but it's an essential skill to master for anyone looking to manage their email communication more effectively. Whether you're composing a complex message that requires more thought or simply got interrupted before you could finish, saving your email as a draft ensures that your work isn't lost. Here's how to do it:

The Basics of Saving Drafts

  1. Manual Saving: While composing your email, you can manually save it by clicking on the "File" menu at the top left corner of the Outlook window, then selecting "Save." This action will immediately save your email to the Drafts folder.

  2. Automatic Saving: Outlook automatically saves your email drafts periodically. If you're in the middle of composing an email and haven't manually saved it, Outlook will save a version of it in the Drafts folder after a few minutes. This feature ensures that you don't lose your work in case of an unexpected interruption.

Organizing Drafts for Efficiency

Organizing your drafts can save you time when you need to revisit them. Here's a simple way to keep your drafts organized:

  • Using the Drag and Drop Method: You can easily organize your drafts by dragging and dropping them into different folders within the Folder pane. To do this, simply click on the draft you wish to move, then drag it to the desired folder. This method is particularly useful if you're working on multiple projects and need to keep related drafts together.

For a visual guide on how to save and organize drafts in Outlook, consider watching this helpful tutorial:

Remember, saving drafts in Outlook not only prevents the loss of your work but also allows you to manage your email communication more effectively. By mastering these simple steps, you'll ensure that your important messages are safely stored until you're ready to finalize and send them.

Recovering Accidentally Deleted Drafts

Accidentally deleting an important draft in Outlook can be a moment of panic. However, Microsoft Outlook provides a safety net for such situations, allowing you to recover deleted drafts with relative ease. Follow these steps to retrieve your lost work and get back on track:

  1. Open the Deleted Items Folder: In Outlook, navigate to the "Deleted Items" folder. This is where emails, calendar items, and drafts go when they are first deleted.

  2. Search for Your Draft: Once in the "Deleted Items" folder, you can scroll through the items or use the search bar at the top to find your deleted draft. If you remember the subject or any specific content from the draft, typing it into the search bar can help locate it faster.

  3. Move the Draft Back to the Drafts Folder: After locating your draft, right-click on it, select "Move," and then choose "Other Folder." From the list that appears, select the "Drafts" folder and click "OK." Alternatively, you can simply drag and drop the draft back into the "Drafts" folder.

  4. Verify the Recovery: Navigate to your "Drafts" folder to ensure that the draft has been successfully recovered. You can now continue working on it or save it for later.

For a visual guide on how to recover deleted drafts in Outlook, you might find this tutorial helpful:

Additional Tips:

  • Regularly Check Your Deleted Items Folder: It's a good practice to periodically check your "Deleted Items" folder for any emails or drafts that may have been accidentally deleted. Items in this folder are permanently deleted after a certain period, depending on your Outlook settings or organizational policies.

  • Use the Recover Deleted Items Feature: If your draft is not in the "Deleted Items" folder, you might still be able to recover it using the "Recover Deleted Items from Server" option available in some Outlook versions and configurations. This option is found under the "Folder" tab in the Outlook ribbon.

Recovering deleted drafts in Outlook is a straightforward process that can save you from losing important work. By following these steps, you can ensure that your drafts are safely retrieved and your email productivity remains uninterrupted.

Utilizing Drafts as Email Templates

Transforming your drafts into email templates in Outlook can significantly streamline your email communication, especially if you often send messages with similar content. This approach not only saves time but also ensures consistency in your communications. Here’s how you can leverage your drafts as powerful email templates:

Creating a Template Folder

  1. Create a New Folder for Templates: In Outlook, right-click on your email account name or on any existing folder, then select "New Folder." Name this folder something recognizable like "Email Templates" for easy access.

  2. Save Your Draft as a Template: Compose an email that you wish to save as a template. Once you're satisfied with the content, go to the "File" menu, select "Save As," and then choose "Outlook Template (*.oft)" from the "Save as type" dropdown menu. Save this template in your newly created "Email Templates" folder.

Leveraging Shared Email Templates

For teams looking to share templates and enhance collaborative efforts, utilizing the Shared Email Templates plug-in for Outlook can be incredibly beneficial. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Install the Shared Email Templates Plug-in: Visit the Shared Email Templates website and follow the instructions to install the plug-in for Outlook.

  2. Connect Your Template Folder to the Plug-in: Once installed, open the plug-in and connect it to your "Email Templates" folder. This will allow you to easily access and share your templates with team members directly within Outlook.

  3. Use and Share Your Templates: With the plug-in activated, you can now use your saved templates for new emails with just a few clicks. Additionally, you can share these templates with your team, ensuring everyone has access to consistent and pre-approved email content.

For a step-by-step visual guide on creating and using email templates in Outlook, including how to leverage shared templates, consider watching this tutorial:

Benefits of Using Email Templates

  • Efficiency: Save time by not having to compose frequently sent messages from scratch.

  • Consistency: Ensure that your communications are consistent in tone and format, especially important for business communications.

  • Collaboration: Share templates with team members to streamline collaborative efforts and maintain a unified brand voice.

By effectively utilizing drafts as email templates in Outlook, you can enhance your productivity, ensure consistency in your communications, and foster better collaboration within your team.


In conclusion, mastering the art of saving, organizing, and utilizing email drafts in Microsoft Outlook can significantly enhance your email productivity and communication efficiency. From saving drafts to prevent loss of work, recovering accidentally deleted drafts, to transforming drafts into powerful email templates for consistent and streamlined communication, these practices are invaluable. By incorporating these strategies into your daily email routine, you can save time, ensure message consistency, and improve overall email management. Remember, the key to effective email communication lies not just in what you say, but in how efficiently and effectively you manage the process.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How do I access my saved drafts in Outlook?

To access your saved drafts in Outlook, simply click on the "Drafts" folder located in the Folder Pane on the left side of the Outlook window. All your saved drafts will be listed here, and you can double-click any draft to open and continue editing it.

Can I recover a draft if I accidentally delete it from the Drafts folder?

Yes, you can recover a deleted draft if it was accidentally deleted. Navigate to the "Deleted Items" folder in Outlook, find the draft, right-click on it, and select "Move" > "Other Folder" > "Drafts" to restore it back to your Drafts folder.

How can I share my email templates with my team in Outlook?

To share email templates with your team in Outlook, you can use the Shared Email Templates plug-in. After creating your templates, install the plug-in, connect it to your "Email Templates" folder, and use the sharing feature within the plug-in to grant access to your team members.

Is there a limit to how many drafts I can save in Outlook?

Outlook does not impose a specific limit on the number of drafts you can save. However, the overall storage capacity of your mailbox (which includes all folders, such as Inbox, Sent Items, Drafts, etc.) may be limited based on your Outlook or Exchange server settings. It's a good practice to periodically review and clean up unnecessary drafts to manage your mailbox size.

Can I use saved drafts on Outlook mobile?

Yes, you can access and use saved drafts on Outlook mobile. To do so, open the Outlook app on your mobile device, tap on the Menu icon to view your folders, and select the "Drafts" folder. From there, you can view, edit, and send your saved drafts just as you would from the desktop version of Outlook.