Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365


Just about every client we work with looks to use Dynamics 365 email templates. There’s a lot of utility and flexibility to take advantage of with Dynamics 365 email templates. Formatting the standard email templates is a wee bit tricky. But with a little training, you can quickly create handy templates to send as one-offs or send automatically via workflow.

Now I’m talking about basic Dynamics 365 email templates here — the idea being empowering users to create templates on their own. I’m thinking a personalized template consisting of text and an attachment. Basic yes, but you can get pretty far just using the basics.

Let’s build our template.

  • Go to Settings > Templates. Note: Your Settings area may be locked down in which case you’ll need permission or help from an admin.
  • Click the New button. Choose the type of email template you want, e.g., Contact, Lead, Global, etc.
  • Create a Title for the template. This is the name you will select when you use the template.
  • Subject: What will appear in the Subject line of the email.
  • Body: In this basic example we’ll stick to message text, plus personalization of sender and recipient.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Draft the body using a combination of text, plus anything you want to auto-populate using data from Dynamics 365. Our example template scenario is an email used as a follow up to submitting a quote. The yellow boxes correspond to personalization of the template for both the recipient and the sender. How do we add those? In the image above, you’ll see an Insert/Update button. Click on that and pull up a dialog box.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Click the Add button to choose specific data fields that will auto-populate specific areas of the template. I’m going to place the recipient’s first name in the greeting followed by a comma.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

From there I enter the body of the email. At the end is a signature consisting of sender (user) name, title, and phone. Signature will consist of data auto-populated from our system, just like the recipient’s first name was. The image below reflects the first draft of the email template. At first glance, it looks OK. But upon testing, we’ll see that it’s riddled with mistakes.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Let’s send our template. We’ll open the Contact record of our template recipient and select Activity > Email in the timeline.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Here’s where we select our template. In this case, we select “Contact reconnect (sample for blog)”.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Click Send button. Note here: I’m sending the template to my own Inbox for testing purposes. This is an important step. Please don’t send your template until you’ve tested, fixed and tested again. Now let’s look at what this looks like to the recipient.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Yuck! It looked a lot better in our template builder. Let’s see what went wrong. I count 8 separate problems with this template:

  1. First of all the messaging is just downright bad. Subject and body need to be revised.
  2. There’s an ugly tracking token at the end of the Subject line. These look bad but are easy to eliminate. Go to Settings > Administration > System Settings > Email. Uncheck “Use tracking token”.
  3. What’s up with the space between the recipient’s first name and the comma? That doesn’t belong there. It’s a sure fire sign that the email was a template and not a personal email. This is one of the weirdest workarounds ever which I discovered totally by trial and error. To make that space go away you need to open your template, highlight the space, then hit Shift+Delete. This should pull the comma to the left where it hugs the end of the recipient’s first name.
  4. Next is all the odd line spacing. Rather than just hitting “Enter” when you are creating a new line, hit “Shift+Enter”. If you want a blank line, hit “Shift+Enter” twice. This will result in line spacing that looks normal.
  5. Ugly font. This is an easy fix. Highlight the text you want to change and select a new font via the pull-down menu in the formatting ribbon.
  6. Sender’s job title is missing from the signature. Rather than “Job Title” which is what you’d typically use to personalize a Contact or Lead, the user-related field is “Title”. Use the “Insert/Update” button mentioned above to revise that.
  7. No phone number. Someone will need access to the Office 365 Admin Center to revise the user information to replace “Main Phone” with the user’s correct contact number. You might need admin help on that too.
  8. This template relates to quotes, not orders. Not only should the subject and body be revised — the name of the email template itself should be revised so it makes sense.

I’ve gone back and made all the necessary changes. As you can see the template looks a lot better. I manually attached a copy of the expired quote for my customer’s review.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

And what the recipient sees in their email inbox looks acceptable.

Formatting Basic Email Templates in Dynamics 365

Now we can do more to automate the process:

  • Auto-populate the subject or body with the quote ID.
  • Add a link to the quote.
  • Build a workflow that triggers the follow-up email send a day before the quote expires.

But again, we’re just looking at the basics for this example which can still save you a lot of time with leads, prospects, and customers.

An added bonus of using email templates nowadays is click-back data we get from within Dynamics 365 v9. For instance, we can see if our addressee opened the email, when, on what OS, and if they clicked on a link or attachment. This requires setting up Email Engagement (click here for information on Email Engagement) which your admin or a Dynamics 365 consultant should help you with.

By Mark Abes, Vice-President Sales and Marketing, Dyn365Pros, Microsoft Dynamics 365 Partner, San Diego, Southern California