Modifying default paragraph styles in Outlook emails

Some users of Microsoft Outlook may wish to use paragraph styles in the formatting of their email, however those who have modified the paragraph styles of an Outlook email will have realised that this only affects the email they are currently working on. When they create a new email, the default paragraph styles return and are used again.

Use these instructions to learn how to change the default paragraph styles for all future emails.

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Find the (or NormalEmail.dotm) file

Before beginning, close any open emails and close Outlook.

The NormalEmail file contains the paragraph styles which are used in your emails and is contained in the Templates folder. There are many ways to find the Templates folder, but an easy technique is listed below:


  • On the keyboard, hold the Windows key and tap the R key
  • Type: %appdata% then press Enter
  • In the folder that opens, double-click the Microsoft folder
  • Double-click the Templates folder.


Open the NormalEmail template

To open the NormalEmail template for editing:


  • Right-click the NormalEmail template file
  • Click Open on the right-click menu.


Modify the paragraph styles and save the file

Modify the paragraph styles as you would normally then save the document as you would normally.


Open Outlook and create a new email

View the paragraphs styles in the email and you will see your modified paragraph styles available for use in the email.  You will however notice that when you start typing before applying a paragraph style, that the "standard" text formatting is not using the Normal paragraph style.  This is due to the Default font settings in Personal stationery in the Options menu which is the default formatting style until you select a paragraph style.

You may wish to modify the personal stationery options, or you may wish to leave these and simply apply the Normal style whenever you wish to use it.  If you wish to modify the personal stationery options, follow these instructions:


  • Ensure you are in the Outlook program, not in an email.
  • Click Tools drop-down menu in Outlook 2003/2007 or click File tab in Outlook 2010.
  • Click Options
  • Click Mail tab or Mail side-bar button
  • Click Stationery and Fonts... button
  • Click Font next to the element you wish to change (ie. New mail mesages, replying or forwarding messages, etc).
  • Click OK then OK.


Other notes

The interaction between Outlook and the new email template "Word" template is a more complex interaction than a standard Word template's interaction in Word, due to the settings of the Outlook program.

The use and/or locations of these templates may be different in a server or corporate environment. You should always consult with your IT support before making changes to your computer.


Nicholas Jankovic

T7 Training Systems


Wednesday, 21st March 2012


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