How to Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail

Updated March 27, 2019

Email templates are a huge time saver if you find yourself writing the same email(s) over and over again. If you use Gmail, they are easy to set up and use.

Maybe you get asked the same question a lot. Maybe you have a standard answer for people seeking your advice or service. Put simply, an email template is a snippet of text you find yourself repeating over and over again.

Google’s version of email templates are called canned responses. They allow you to insert any text into an email with a few clicks.

Enable Canned Responses

In order to use this feature in Gmail, you must enable it first in Gmail > Settings > Advanced. Click the “Enable” button and save your changes at the bottom of the page.

How to create a canned response

To get started, you need to first create and save a canned response so you can use it later. To do so:

1. Compose a new email in Gmail. Hit the Compose button. You won’t be sending it, so you can leave the To, From & Subject lines blank.

2. Type the canned response in the body of the new email. This is the snippet you find yourself repeating all the time.

3. Remove your email signature, especially if it is automatically inserted. If you don’t, it will be saved as part of your canned response. Then, when you insert the snippet in a future email, it might produce a double email signature (the one in the canned response + the one that will automatically be inserted into your new email).

4. Save the canned response. Click the three dots in the right corner > Canned responses > Save draft as template. Name it so you’ll know what it is when you are ready to use it.

5. Delete the draft email. Once you saved it as a canned response, you can delete the email by clicking the trash bin icon in the bottom right.

How to use a canned response

You can use a canned response in a reply email or a new email.

Put your cursor in the spot you want your canned response text to appear within the email. Click the three dots in the bottom right corner > Canned responses. Find the canned response you want to use in the “Insert Template” section of the popup window. The canned response will appear in your email.

Personalize the email by adding a greeting, salutation and/or any other vital information that makes the recipient feel special.


Read more of my Gmail tips here. Or more general productivity tips here.

36 thoughts on “How to Set Up Canned Responses in Gmail”

  1. jerry norton

    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. 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. 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. 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. 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. 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

      1. Hi,
        It doesn’t have that but I ‘ll creat a folder. I can use the idea. I always learn great ideas here. You make everything clear and easy to understand.:0)

  7. 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. 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!

    1. 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.)

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

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