How to Set Up Canned Responses (Email Templates) in Gmail

Email templates are a huge time saver if you find yourself writing the same email(s) over and over again.

How to set up canned responses in Gmail to save time.

In this tutorial, I explain how to create a canned response in Gmail. Canned responses is what Gmail calls email templates. They allow you to insert any text into an email with a few clicks. Here’s what I mean:

Can’t see the video? Watch it here.

Video Notes:

Step 1: Prepare to use Gmail’s Canned Responses

  1. Whilein Gmail, click on the gear icon in the top right corner under your picture. You’ll see a dropdown menu. Click on “Settings.”
  2. Click on the “Labs” tab at the top of your screen.
  3. Scroll down until you see “Canned Responses” by Chad P. Click the “Enable” button next to it.
  4. Click the “Save Changes” button at the top or bottom of the page.

Step 2: How to create a Canned Response

  1. Now that the Lab is enabled, you’re ready to use the canned responses feature. Click on the big red “Compose” button to open a new email.
  2. Don’t worry about filling out To, From, Subject. Simply put your cursor into the body of the email and type the sentence or paragraph(s) you find yourself typing repeatedly and want to save as a template.
  3. Remove your signature (if Gmail automatically inserted it for you). Tip: A Gmail signature is a handy feature. Here’s how to create your own if you don’t have one already.
  4. Save your canned response by clicking the down arrow (More Options) in the bottom right of your New Message screen. You’ll see a menu. Click “Canned Responses.” Hover over it until you see the new window.
  5. Navigate to the “Save” section and click “New canned response…”
  6. Name your canned response with something descriptive so you’ll know what it is when you are ready to use it.
  7. You can close and delete this message.

Step 3: How to use a Canned Response

  1. When you are ready to use a canned response, begin your email by responding to someone else’s or creating a new one.
  2. Simply insert your cursor in the spot you want your canned response text to appear within the email.
  3. Click on the down arrow (“More Options”) in the bottom right of your message window.
  4. Hover over “Canned Responses” and wait for the window to appear. Find your canned response under the “Insert” section and click. The canned response will appear in your email.
  5. Personalize the email by adding a greeting, salutation and/or any other vital information that makes the recipient feel special.


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  1. jerry norton says

    Thanks Amy, this is still saving folks like me mucho time. I call on businesses all day long and then follow up with emails at night or the following morning. We do the Google Business Views so I have several large attachments, multiple hyperlinks, and an explanation of how this affects your SEO on the emails I send out. You have saved me a lot of time mi amiga! Mucho Gracias !

  2. says

    Hmm. I’m puzzled by what version or template of Gmail you are using. My screen doesn’t look this like, and when I do a message, it doesn’t look this way either. So I was a bit confused by your directions to “Click on the down arrow (“More Options”) in the bottom right of your message window.” It doesn’t look or work that way for me in Gmail. I found another way, however, so thanks so much. I’d clipped this to my Evernote but sure wish I’d read it earlier. It is truly a big time saver! Thanks again.

  3. says

    Thanks for the easy to use video – Just a quick question is there a way to do a canned response that will also fill in the subject line? Of course I could google search that but then i would not have left a comment and what fun would that be. My canned email…that just sounds weird…is an outgoing email and not a reply which is why I am asking about the subject line also.


  4. says

    Wahoo! Amy you rock and this could not have come at a better time. I was wondering how to do this and so desperate but didn’t have the foggiest how to go about even figuring it out. Thanks for making it so easy! You’ve just saved me soooo much time.

  5. says

    Hi Amy, I am so glad I saw your post tonight (I follow you on FB). I use Outlook for my work email, and one of my jobs is almost completely done via email. I wrote a few emails to myself with responses that I often send (…please check to make sure your session is posted correctly…). I sent them to myself and saved them, and cut and paste them over and over again all day. After reading this post I searched Outlook and found out that I can create a canned response! I’m always looking for less keystrokes! :) Thank you!

  6. says

    Just started reading your blog and based on this awesome suggestion, I cannot wait to read the rest and learn so much more. Right after I set up my canned responses, of course. LOL

  7. says

    Thank you so much for this tip! I was just storing my templates in a draft email, but that required an extra step of going to the draft and copying the email and pasting the response. This will definitely save me time!!

  8. says

    Great tutorial, Amy! I use WordPress Comment Thread, so I just reply to comments there and the original author receives an e-mail response.

    Do you think that is okay? It definitely saves me time! But I’m wondering if a canned response to ALL the commenters is a better idea? Or is it just personal preference?

    Thanks girl!

    • Amy says

      Myra, for comment response, I think you’re good! (I was just using a reply to a comment as an example of one way you might use a canned response. You can use a canned response for any kind of email you find yourself writing over and over again.)

    • Amy says

      I see how you thought I said Google Apps but I actually said Google Labs. (Sorry, wasn’t very audible on the video.) But no, Labs (designated by the green beaker) shows up right in gmail. It’s all free. As you’ll see, I always go free when I can. :)

  9. says

    Thanks for the tutorial! I learned something new about GMail today that I’ll definitely be using in the future! :)