How to Open Outlook Templates and Files using Toolbar Buttons

Last reviewed on January 15, 2014

When you want to open a template, you need to go through the Choose Form dialog, which is a few more steps than most users want to take. In older versions of Outlook you could create Hyperlink buttons but Outlook 2010 doesn’t support hyperlink buttons and tighter security in Outlook 2007 means you need to respond to a warning dialog before the template (or hyperlinked file) opens.

We have solutions for both problems: a macro for Outlook 2010 (also works with Outlook 2007) and a registry key to disable the warning in Outlook 2007.

See Disable the Unsafe Hyperlink Warning when Opening Attachments for the instructions to disable the warning dialog and the Open or Save dialog. Use this registry value with Outlook 2010 if you add files to Outlook’s Shortcut navigation pane.

Open templates using a toolbar button

To create a button on the toolbar that will open a template in Outlook 2010, you need to use a macro as it does not support hyperlink buttons found in older versions of Outlook. Additionally, opening a template hyperlinked to a toolbar button in Outlook 2007 brings up a security dialog.

Template warning

Additionally, if the template contains custom fields, the customizations will be disabled and the template will be blank. These templates need to be opened using the Choose Form dialog.

The solution

Create a macro that replicates opening a template from the Choose Form dialog using the Application.CreateItemFromTemplate method:

Sub MakeItem()
Set newItem = Application.CreateItemFromTemplate("c:\path\template.oft")
newItem.Display
Set newItem = Nothing
End Sub 

Press Alt+F11 to open Outlook’s VB Editor then copy and paste this macro into ThisOutlookSession. Add it to the ribbon or QAT. See How to use the VBA Editor for complete instructions to use the VB Editor. See Customize the QAT if you need help customizing the QAT.

Open a Template and Add an Attachment

If you want to add an attachment to the message at the same time you open the template, you’ll use newItem.Attachments.Add “C:\myfile.doc”. Add it to your code after the line that opens the template (DUH!) and before the message is displayed (newItem.Display).

The macro will look something like this:

Sub AddAttachment ()
Dim newItem as Outlook.MailItem
Set newItem = Application.CreateItem("C:\path\template.oft")
newItem.Attachments.Add "C:\myfile.doc"
newItem.Display
End Sub

Open a published form

If you want to open a published form, use this code to call the form. You need to be viewing the folder you want the item to be saved in.

Public Sub OpenPublishedForm()
   Dim Items As Outlook.Items
   Dim Item As Object
   Set Items = Application.ActiveExplorer.CurrentFolder.Items
   Set Item = Items.Add("ipm.note.name")
   Item.Display
 End Sub

Create a Hyperlink button

Assign a hyperlink to a buttonThis works in Outlook 2007 and older versions as well as all Office applications that have the Assign Hyperlink option on customized buttons. You can hyperlink to any file, although programs (*.exe) may be restricted for security reasons.

You can use any button in the Customize dialog (select a category on the left to see additional buttons). If you want to create a menu button, there is a blank one in the New Menu category.

  1. Right click on the toolbar area.
  2. Choose Customize
  3. From the Commands tab, drag a button (any button) to the Menu bar or a Toolbar
  4. Right click on the button to expand the customize menu

Add a button to the ribbon or toolbar tutorials

This tutorial shows you how to add a button to one of Outlook 2013′s ribbon tabs. Note: In Outlook 2010 you cannot add buttons to the ribbon in Outlook 2010 but you can add buttons to the QAT. The method is the same, starting with File, Options, Quick Access Toolbar.

In Outlook 2007′s main interface and in Outlook 2003 and older, you’ll add a button to the toolbar as shown in the following video.

Disable the hyperlink warning

When you open templates or files using a hyperlink button or from Outlook’s Shortcut navigation pane, you’ll receive an unsafe hyperlink warning. You can disable the warning by editing the registry.

Unsafe hyperlink warning

You may also receive the file open or save dialog when using a hyperlink button or shortcut. To disable this dialog when the “Always ask” field is grayed out, run Outlook as administrator. The “always ask” checkbox should be clickable. If not, you’ll need to edit the registry for each file type. See Disable “Always ask before opening” dialog for more information.

Open or Save dialog

The solution

Add a registry value to disable the warning dialog.

Open the registry editor and browse to the following registry subkey for

Outlook 2013:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Security

Outlook 2010:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Security

Outlook 2007:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\Security

Note: If the Security key does not exist in your registry, you’ll need to create it too.

Right click on Security key and choose New, DWORD. Type (or paste)

DisableHyperlinkWarning as the Value name then double click on it. Enter 1 as the Value data to disable the warning. Delete the key or use a value of 0 to enable the warning.

Change the registry value

Group policy keys for administrators

Administrators will add the DisableHyperlinkWarning DWORD to the Policy key instead:

Outlook 2013:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\15.0\Common\Security

Outlook 2010:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\14.0\Common\Security

Outlook 2007:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Office\12.0\Common\Security

Do It For Me

If you don’t want to edit the registry yourself, you can download and run the following registry key for your version of Outlook.

Outlook 2013Outlook 2010Outlook 2007

Written by

Diane Poremsky
A Microsoft Outlook Most Valuable Professional (MVP) since 1999, Diane is the author of several books, including Outlook 2013 Absolute Beginners Book. She also created video training CDs and online training classes for Microsoft Outlook. You can find her helping people online in Outlook Forums as well as in the Microsoft Answers and TechNet forums.

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