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Today, when I was creating a new email filter to get rid of a tiresome email marketer who won’t take no for an answer, I came across two new filters in Gmail : “send canned response” and “never send it to spam”.  It is the first one that made me realise that I can now set up automatic email responses for specific email addresses.

automatic email response gmail

Let’s say for example that you want to write for us here at MakeUseOf (and why wouldn’t you want to?  We’ll pay you with all the money, beer and fast cars you can handle!  Er, well….no, not really).   So, as editor I go through approximately 7-10 applications a day so over the course of a week, that can stack up quite a bit.   We don’t like to keep people guessing over whether or not we’ve received their application so it’s good to set up a “thank you we have your application, we’ll get back to you soon” auto-responder email which is sent out as soon as their application hits our inbox.

So here’s how you would set it up, using Gmail’s new filter.

    First write your autoresponder message in a blank email window in Gmail.  Then save your message as a “canned response”.  I briefly covered how to do this Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses" Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses" Read More a while back.   You can now discard your email window and go back to your inbox.

    Go to “settings” in the top right hand corner of Gmail, then to the “filters” sub-tab.   Scroll right down to the bottom to “create a new filter”

    This then brings up the “create a filter” section.   This is the important part.   Make sure everything in this section is BLANK except for the “to:” section. In this section, put in the email address that the autoresponder message should acknowledge all replies to.   In this case, I have put our applications email address which means that whenever an email arrives to that address, the autoresponder email will automatically kick in and send itself out. Then click “next step”.

    We’re almost done. The last and final screen asks you to “choose an action”.   This is where you tell it to choose the canned response. So….tick “send canned response” and drop down the menu to choose the correct canned response. Then click “create filter”.

That is it. Now everytime someone emails an application to that email address, they will get an autoresponder message (or “canned response” as Gmail likes to call them). You can do the same too for your blog, your company, your club, your school and much more. If your inbox is overflowing and people are complaining that your email response times suck, then set up an autoresponder message to at least confirm that “you have received their message and that you’ll get back to them as soon as possible”. OK the email is automatic, it’s impersonal and it’s bland – but hey it’s a response! You won’t even know the email has gone out as it’s all done in the background.

What do you think? Is this something you might find useful to help with your email management or does this just add to the problem?


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