How to Auto-reply to Email Messages Using Gmail Canned Responses

Over the past few years, I have used quite a few web mail programs. At first, I used a Yahoo account, then I switched to Gmail and then Google Apps. This is because Gmail and Google Apps developed quite fast and provided better services than other webmail services, I can use these services to organize my online life and become more productive on the way.

Sometimes, you may get the same type of emails in your inbox. May be, your blog readers continue asking the same question to you using the contact form and you feel tired of typing the same reply over and over again. You can use Gmail canned responses to compose your reply once and save the message for later use. A canned response works like an email template – you compose it once, save it and can paste the entire message in a reply later on.

Gmail canned responses is simple to use and do not involve so many steps. In this tutorial, we will learn how to use Gmail canned responses to save email templates for future use.

Create Email Templates Using Gmail Canned Responses

1. Log in to your Gmail account, click settings and select the “Labs” tab. You will find a Gmail labs feature as “Canned responses” under the Available labs section ( It’s 5th from the top). Select the radio button “Enable” and hit “Save changes” at the bottom of the page.

Activate Gmail Canned response Labs Feature

2. After the Canned response feature has been activated, go to the “Compose Mail” section of your inbox and you will see a new drop down as “Canned Response”. It will be empty at this moment but we will learn how to create and use a canned response in the following steps.

Create New Canned Response in Gmail

3. To create a Canned response, pull down the canned response menu and select “New Canned Response”. This will open a browser pop up window where you have to enter a name for the canned response.

Name a Canned Response

Make sure you choose a relevant name for the canned response, because choosing something like “response 1” may lead to confusion at a later point of time. You will have to look into the body of the response, which in turn will not solve the purpose of using a canned response altogether.

4. Next, type the response in the message field and hit “Save”.

Save the Canned response

That’s it, your canned response is ready to be used and will be accessible from the canned response dropdown menu. Whenever you get the same type of email message, whose response you have already saved as a “canned response” – simply choose the canned response from the dropdown and the message will be pasted in the email body automatically. No need to type the whole message all over from start!

Using a Gmail Canned response

Autoreply to Selected messages with Gmail Canned Responses

Canned responses, combined with Gmail filters can be even more useful. You can automatically reply to selected messages by creating a filter and selecting a canned response.

For example: Suppose you have a blog and get frequent emails for guest articles. It would be a good idea to send an auto responder whenever someone requests to publish a guest article on your blog. Following are the steps involved to combine Gmail filters and canned responses:

1. Log into your Gmail account and go to Settings. Choose the “Filters” tab and click on “Create a New filter”.

Create a New Filter in Gmail

2. In the next step, select the rules which you want to apply to the Gmail filter. This may include a “From” email address, a particular subject or may be some specific words in the email body. In our example, we use the subject line as the condition for Gmail filter and use the phrase “Guest article”.

Choose the rules for Gmail filter

3. Click “Next step and select the action you want to perform once an email with the specified condition hits your inbox. If you want to send an auto response, choose the “Send canned response” check box and select the canned response you want to send.

Choose Canned response for Gmail filter

4. Hit “Create Filter” and you are done.

Now whenever you get an email with the subject line as “Guest article”, your canned response will be automatically sent to the sender. This is very useful, when you are away from work and want to send auto replies to specific email messages. Also have a look at some useful Gmail labs add-ons which makes your email experience more productive.

Have you used Gmail canned responses? Do you find it useful enough? Share your ideas in the comments section.