Creating an E-mail Message from the Current Document

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated May 25, 2019)


Alan has created a short document in Word that he wants to send to someone else. He knows he can send the document as an attachment to an e-mail, but he would rather have the document simply be the body of the e-mail he wants to send. He wonders if there is a way to do this within Word without needing to do a copy/paste operation. He wonders if there is some tool he can click or command he can issue that will start Outlook, create a new e-mail message, and insert the document contents into the body of the message.

Actually, Word does provide the capability; it is just well-hidden in the commands not available on the ribbon tabs. Here's the quick way to do it:

  1. Display the Word Options dialog box. (In Word 2007 click the Office button and then click Word Options. In Word 2010 or a later version display the File tab of the ribbon and then click Options.)
  2. At the left side of the screen click Customize (Word 2007) or Quick Access Toolbar (later versions of Word). (See Figure 1.)
  3. Figure 1. The Word Options dialog box.

  4. Using the Choose Commands From drop-down list, choose All Commands.
  5. Scroll through the commands until you can see and select the Send to Mail Recipient command.
  6. Click the Add button. The command moves to the right column.
  7. Click OK.

This particular command provides the same functionality that used to exist in earlier versions of Word to send your document as an actual e-mail message.

There are a couple other buried commands that you might also want to consider adding to your Quick Access Toolbar. In the All Commands list you can find the following, in addition to the one you added in the steps above:

  • Email. This command sends the current document as an attachment to an e-mail message. (This is specifically what Alan said he didn't want to do.)
  • E-mail as PDF Attachment. This option is similar to the Email command, except it doesn't send a Word document, it sends a PDF of the current document.
  • E-mail as XPS Attachment. This command sends an attachment, but in a variant of the XML format—XPS. The recipient will need an XPS viewer to read the document, but if he/she has Windows 7, Windows 8, or Windows 10 it should not be a problem.
  • E-mail Options. This allows you to set up features of your e-mail messages, such as signatures and stationery.

There are two other e-mail related commands available, as well. The E-mail Messages command is actually available from the Mailings tab of the ribbon; it starts a mail merge where the "mail" being created is an e-mail message. (In other words, it is for sending the same message to a group of recipients selected from a database of recipients.) The Send Email Messages command is used to finish out the mail merge and actually send the messages.

Finally, just so nobody writes in and tells me my editing is inconsistent—I know it is, at times, but in this case, it is beside the point. The permutations of "email" and "e-mail" in this tip are intentional, as they reflect the actual punctuation used in the command names in Word. If you feel the need to write to someone, write to Microsoft—they are the ones being inconsistent in this case. ;-)

WordTips is your source for cost-effective Microsoft Word training. (Microsoft Word is the most popular word processing software in the world.) This tip (5650) applies to Microsoft Word 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, 2019, and Word in Microsoft 365.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...


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What is 3 - 3?

2019-05-26 17:46:31

Lilli Hausenfluck

I’d love to know if this will work with gmail. I’ll give it a try. If there are tweaks to the process that will make it work, please share your experience.

2019-05-25 13:57:47

Jack Roudebush

Good question, Sarah.

And how about the Windows Mail app?

2019-05-25 04:52:47

Sarah Drew

Thanks for this. The article assumes that Outlook will be the email client, but can this be amended to e.g. Thunderbird? Or adapted to Gmail?

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