Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using “Canned Responses”

Mark O'Neill 23-10-2008

Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses" gmail logo1A while back, Sharninder took you through Gmail Labs 5 Gmail Labs Features Everyone Should Try Read More and some of the cool features that they were offering Gmail users. Well the other day, they brought out another new feature and this is one that I will personally find really useful as Make Use Of editor – “canned responses”. I’m sure if you do a lot of emailing, you will find it really useful too.


“Canned responses” is a feature which allows you to save standard email templates inside Gmail and then use them later by dropping down the menu and selecting which one you want.

Every day, I find myself typing out the same kinds of emails – acceptances, rejections, confirmations, facts, figures, etc. It can get rather tedious – and time consuming – writing out the same basic format of email. It can also be really tiring on the hands!

So for the past few months, I was keeping the email templates in MS Notepad files and copy-pasting them into emails whenever I needed them. But I haven’t liked that method very much as it involves too much folder opening, file opening and copy-pasting. Whenever I am trying to clear my inbox, I like to stay in the same browser window/tab and do things fast with keyboard shortcuts Essential Shortcuts to Browse through Gmail Faster Read More . So I was looking for something quicker and easier, something where I could just pull up a standard email template with just a few clicks.

So you know, I am convinced Google is pyschic because whenever I think about wishes like that, suddenly a feature like “canned responses” comes along! :-)

Save Time with Gmail Email Templates using "Canned Responses" gmaillabsbuttonTo switch the feature on, just go to Gmail Labs in your Gmail account, scroll down, find “canned responses”, click “enable” and then click “save changes”. Now whenever you go to compose a new email, you will see “canned responses” above the new email window (underneath the subject line) :


gmail email templates

When you first enable it, it will be empty. The one you see here is mine that I quickly filled up to give you some examples.

To save some templates, just write the email then click the “canned responses” link seen above. In the “save” section, there is an option called “new canned response“. Click that and you’ll then get the following box :

gmail canned responses


Just type in what you want your canned response to be called and click “OK”. It will then be saved.

That’s it basically. If you want to test it out, just open a new email compose window, drop down the “canned responses” menu and choose your template name. It will then immediately appear in the email window ready to be sent! No typing necessary!

This is probably one of the best, most useful features that Gmail Labs has brought out. What do you think? Will you be using this one? Is there anything Gmail Labs can do to improve it? Let us know in the comments – you never know, Gmail might end up reading it!

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail, Google Labs.

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  1. Asbjørn
    December 7, 2016 at 10:27 pm

    Thank you SO much for this! I have needed this for a good while but only just came up with the idea that there actually was a solution.

    Thanks for the guide.

  2. Barcanez
    January 14, 2010 at 4:12 am

    I am also having trouble getting the Subject line to save. It seems to just treat the mail as a reply by adding Re: to the original subject?

    January 8, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Thank you so much! This is a HUGE win for google labs.

  4. Kyle
    January 8, 2010 at 11:08 am

    A very useful feature, but:

    1) It should save the current subject in the canned response.
    2) It should save any current file attachments in the response - very useful for sending something like a resume.

    But, cool none the less!

  5. Don
    December 22, 2009 at 8:19 am

    figured out the double signature all by myself.

    when you open compose mail, delete the signature, insert the canned response you wish to save, click save.

    next time you use it the signature will be where it is supposed to be.


    Would still like to know how to auto imput the subject line?

  6. Don
    December 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm

    Canned Responses is a great tool, thanks.
    Two situations
    Why do I get two signatures when I insert a canned response?

    How can I get the name of the response to show in the subject line?

    • Don
      December 21, 2009 at 4:04 pm

      I forgot to check the request below to be notified and I really would like to be

  7. cecilia
    October 13, 2009 at 7:41 pm

    This would be more useful if the canned response would also save images in the email as opposed to just text. I do a lot of newsletter type mailings with the entire email being a pre-made layout in the format of an embedded image made in a differentprogram. Also, it would be great if there was a way to embed images easier than the run-around I do in Google Docs...

  8. Lisa
    June 21, 2009 at 6:01 am

    Interesting feature I didn't know was there. I was actually looking for email templates for Gmail. Not sure if there are any around but if not - they would be super handy for newsletters etc.

  9. БaKиHeЦ
    May 31, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Да уж... Жизнь - как вождение велосипеда. Чтобы сохранить равновесие, ты должен двигаться.

  10. Scary Mary
    April 18, 2009 at 1:21 am

    Ha, I just used that to block my mother's emails. Pure genius I tell you. LOL

  11. Jamen
    March 6, 2009 at 8:16 pm

    good page

  12. namit
    January 21, 2009 at 10:01 pm

    Thanks for the info.. really helpful.!

  13. Aniket
    January 20, 2009 at 1:20 am

    How to save the subject line also? For example, I want a particular line in the subject to be always added for a saved Canned Response then I am not able to do it.

    "Canned Response" fails to save the subject line, it only saves the message body.

  14. Lorna
    November 22, 2008 at 4:39 am

    Just like Jessica, I point my MX to Google and too bad that they don't offer canned responses like Gmail does.

  15. Jessica
    October 27, 2008 at 5:40 pm

    I would really like to use this in my Premier account that I use for business, but there is no Labs section in my settings like there is in my personal (free) account. Help!


  16. Devicepedia
    October 27, 2008 at 1:42 am

    This is a great post guys thanks. Its a nice way to keep in contact with your customers!

  17. Gymmie
    October 23, 2008 at 11:38 am

    Awesome! This is going to be great. I have a few things I'd love to send out without having to retype every time or copy/paste from Word! Thanks GMail crew :) <3