More useful that Smart Reply, Canned Responses let you insert text you frequently use in emails.
Gmail recently introduced Smart Reply, a way to make it easy to respond to emails with short answers generated by Google. While these are very helpful, Gmail users should also look at Canned Responses to speed up their email tasks.
Canned Responses is a Labs feature that allows you to create email templates so you don’t have to type the same thing over and over. And the name is somewhat misleading because you can use these templates in emails that aren’t replies.
Here’s how to use canned responses and how you might use it to save time.
Enable Canned Responses in Labs
Go to your Gmail settings and enable the lab.
Create your canned response
Now you will create your canned response, i.e. template. To do this, create an email as if you were sending a new message to someone.
Then you need to save the canned response. Click the downward arrow button in the lower right hand corner of the email (1), select “Canned responses” (2) and then click “New canned response” (3).
A browser alert will ask you what you want to name your canned response. Enter a name and click OK.
Your response is now saved.
Insert canned responses
To use the canned response, create a new email or open the email you want to respond to. Click on the arrow button again, select “Canned responses” and then look for your template under “Insert”. Select the one you want and it will be added to the email.
Ideas for using canned responses
You can use canned responses to start a new email, respond to an email, or add uniform text to an email you’re sending. Here are a couple of ways I use it:
1. Add a disclaimer to domain name inquiries.
When I receive an email request for a price on one of my domains, I type a personal response and then insert my “domain sales” canned response. This inserts a disclaimer at the bottom of the email noting that the domain might be listed for sale on a marketplace and so the domain is subject to sale until I hear back from the person, even if I’ve provided a quote. It also includes a quote expiration.
2. Send out regular emails.
I have to send out a half dozen confirmation emails each week for my PodcastGuests.com service. These include instructions that are the same for each email other than one URL. My canned response includes the instructions and a placeholder for the URL.
I also have to send about a dozen follow up emails to people that use the service each week and I use canned responses for these.
If you frequently send out emails with similar content, canned responses is a great Labs plugin for you. It sure beats copying and pasting a template from notepad. Or worse, re-typing the messages.