Gettin’ my lazy on with Outlook Quick Parts and Quick Access Toolbar

Do you hate email as much as I do? If you follow what I write or present at all here in Victoria, you should be well aware I’m a fan of the “Inbox Zero” movement (i.e. at the end of each day, I strive to have zero items in my inbox – everything is either archived, tasked/delegated, scheduled or deleted – really, what other option is there?). That coupled with my undeniable love of Yammer ( for our small team means the amount of time I spend in Outlook is minimized – and so well it should be. After all, email was originally intended to be for an inbox and outbox … and nothing more – and look at the mess we have made of it now (PIM … Pishaw!).

*** Warning: RANT ***

In fact, here are the tools I use today just in case they are at all helpful for you:

  • OneNote – that’s where my ideas, wishes, inspiration, archives and quick reference goes (
  • Outlook – this is my inbox/outbox and calendar ( and important tasks that have an actual date for something to be completed
    • In Outlook I also use Techhit Simplyfile – you should check it out (
  • Yammer – for working “out loud” with my colleagues and clients (customers). Discussions, Q&A, small document review/collaboration gigs, etc. (
  • Outlook for iOS – this is my (new) favourite app for when I’m mobile (on my iPad and iPhone – get it here). It is a recent acquisition by Microsoft from an app formerly known as Accompli. There is some work to be done in the app for it to really earn my love but it looks like most of my needs are on the way. One thing I’m already starting to do is try and stop filing emails so much in Outlook (sorry Simplyfile, we might need to have a frank discussion in a year or so…). The Outlook App wants to create two folders in your Outlook – Archives and Scheduled and considering Outlook Search is so good these days, why do I need to file stuff so much anymore. If it is an archive, put in an archive – stay tuned, I’m not there yet though…)

*** End RANT ***

Anyways, on to my point for today…

For this particular dish, the recipe is two parts:

  1. Add common phrases to your Outlook “Quick Parts” Gallery
  2. Add the Quick Parts option to your Quick Access Toolbar so it is even less effort to get to them

How to add new Quick Parts (text phrases) in Outlook

I want to spend even less time in Outlook and often I end up typing many of the same things in emails. You know, stuff like:

  • That’s great. Thanks for the update! (because I want to be updated and I need to acknowledge I got that update)
  • Let’s schedule a time to meet and discuss. Here’s my availability in the next little bit (all times PST)
  • Can you please ensure this is properly assigned as an issue

So in each instance, I like to be as consistent as I can with what I say and type and I want it to always look professional (no typos, clear and concise).

Here’s the process to add a new Quick Part:

  1. Select the text you have just typed for the 1000th time in an email
  2. Select the Insert tab in the Ribbon
  3. Choose Quick Parts from the Ribbon
  4. Choose “Save Selection to Quick Part Gallery”
  5. Give it a meaningful title (it will suggest one for you)
  6. Choose Ok. That’s it

Save a quick part

Save a quick part 2

How to Add Quick Parts to the Quick Access Toolbar

As this article is about extreme Outlook laziness, clicking Insert, Quick Part every time is a lot of work (whew!). I’d like it to be even more accessible, so what works for me is making it one of the items in my Quick Access Toolbar

  1. Choose Insert from the tabs in Outlook and hover over the Quick Parts button in the ribbon. Right Click to bring up the context menu
  2. Choose “Add to Quick Access Toolbar”
  3. It will appear here

Add Quick Access Toolbar item


The Result

There you have it, when I need a Quick Part in a message, I just select the button from the Quick Access Toolbar and pick the text I need. Bam!

Use a quick part


Hope this was helpful,

3 responses to “Gettin’ my lazy on with Outlook Quick Parts and Quick Access Toolbar

  1. …agreed, love it – my guess is no – can quick parts be used in Outlook on iOS? We use a lot of templatess (charts that need to be filled out) at work; having a way to use quick parts for this (it works great in Outlook on a computer) from a mobile device would be a huge win.

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