How To Create Canned Responses In Gmail

By Leslie Samuel

Imagine this situation (and yes it has happened to me):

You wake up at 5 am to get your day started. After your morning rituals, you head to your laptop and start plugging away at creating content for 2 hours.

GmailAfter a productive content creation session, you head to work and spend all day working with students. Then, after a long day of work, you come home to spend time with your family. Your little son greets you at the door jumping up and down for you to pick him up.

You're exhausted, but you pick him up and you both experience overwhelming joy. You spend 2 hours with your family just hanging out.

After that, you go back to your laptop to get some more work done at the end of the night. You're tired, but you want to finish creating something that your audience is going to LOVE.

Then, you check your email and there an email from someone almost cursing you out because they feel like you aren't doing enough to help them (btw, you don't know this person).

My question for you is this – do you do the “Christian thing” and politely respond to them? My answer is this – Yes, well most of the time. BUT, there are some times when I get frustrated and respond in ways that don't necessarily reflect my character.


Yes, it's true – I'm not perfect! Sue me 😉

Then I realized something – I can create canned responses to be able to have a consistent message, regardless of what my “emotional state” is.

Ok, this is not the only situation that Canned messages are helpful for, but it's a vivid example that I believe illustrates the point that by having pre-typed message that puts your best foot forward, you can not only save time responding to email, but you can also provide a ton of value to most of your emails by going into a level of detail that your email recipients might not expect.

Creating canned responses in Gmail

If you aren't using gmail – Wait! You're not using gmail? I don't understand. USE GMAIL!

Now that I've gotten that out of the way, I want to show you a very EASY way to create canned responses in Gmail.

You can do this by using a Gmail add-on called, you guessed it, “Canned responses”. It was created by a guy named Chad P and is extremely helpful. Here's how you make it work.

Installing Canned Responses

First, you click on the little gear icon in your gmail inbox. It's located to the right of the screen once you're logged in, as shown below.

Gmail Settings

Then, you select “Settings”


This will take you to your gmail settings. On that screen, select the “Labs” tab.

Gmail Labs

Now, you're in the experimental area within Gmail where you can add a number of interesting little features to gmail. There's a warning there letting you know that you're using these features at your own risk – I've NEVER had an issue using them.

The next step is to search for the “Canned Responses” lab and enable it as shown below.

Gmail canned responses

Once you've enabled it, you're good to go.

Creating your canned responses

It's time to start creating your canned responses. This is also very simple. Go ahead an compose an email.

Gmail Compose

Give the email a subject and add the content you wish to add to that canned response.

Once the content is added, do the following 3 things:

Step 1: Click on the disclosure triangle at the bottom right of the window

Step 2: Select “Canned Responses”

Step 3: Click on “New canned response”

Canned Response

A window will now pop up asking you to name your canned response. It will default to the subject that you added. However you can change this if you'd like. Then click on “OK”.

Screenshot 11 14 13 11 06 AM

Your canned response is now saved.

Using your canned responses

This is the beautiful part. Someone sends you an email and you think to yourself – “I have the perfect canned response for that person”.

In your reply window, click on the disclosure triangle, go to “Canned responses” and select the appropriate canned response.

Survey Monkey lrsamuel gmail com Gmail

Voila – you are good to go. I like to add in the name of the person at the beginning to personalize it a bit.

Instead of taking 5 minutes to craft a careful response, you did it in 5 seconds and your response is top notch.

Will you be using canned responses in the future? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.

  • This is definitely an excellent idea. I’m sure there are many creative ways to use this, even possibly for email templates?

  • Leslie, this is awesome! I went straight to my GMail account, followed your instructions and Voila…all set! This is going to make my life easier.

    Thanks a mil!

  • I’ve been using canned responses for years since MySpace. lol! I get all the same questions over and over again for music ministry and church leadership. I have canned birthday responses like this one:

    “Happy B-Day! This is the day, years ago that Christ decided to create the only you that there is and ever will be on this earth. Without you this earth would not be the same. Let me know if you need prayer!”


    If they say, “Yes I need prayer.” I can respond back …

    “Welcome! Anything specific?”

    They will tell me their prayer request. And if it’s usually if it’s a prayer for some kind of material thing I can back with,

    “Sure thing! I pray that you receive from God what you desire, ask, and step out in faith to receive it in Jesus’ name 30fold, 60fold, 100fold; even a double portion, which is 200fold by the power of the Spirit of God. Amen! Christ bless!”

    If it is something for healing or anything that I can do about it I DO NOT can respond something that I have the power to deal with. I do this to sift through people who are struggling with something that I can genuinely do something about. It’s not that I am uncaring. Certain prayer request God has not equipped me to handle. If I know someone who can help I will direct them to someone I know equipped and called to help.

    Another reason I do this is for Survey Purposes. Some use Survey Monkey. I use prayer request. I take every prayer request down and categorize them from what I can turn into a service or product to help them move forward with to things I cannot do but take note of and come up with blog ideas that I can research and offer us as content combine with what I search through the Scriptures that can help them with.

    I know. I know. Most might think this is careless, but believe me, I have an email inbox, Facebook inbox, Twitter messages, and Linkedin inbox FULL of these. It helps me get through them, sort them, so I can help those who are in my target market to serve on the business side and put others who are not in my target market I serve for free on the ministry side. That way EVERYONE receives some kind of help.

    And these can responses change quarterly and annually.

  • Hey Leslie….come on man this is something u reveal out the secret application of gmail…and its done and I know i will be going to enjoy it a lot…its wonderful !!!

  • Hi Leslie, Not sure if you can help with some troubleshooting with canned responses? I have tried to look on other forums but no one has answered my plea! My canned response drop down menu opens downwards and drops off the page so I can’t see past the insert options! When I first started and had built my canned responses it was fine but at some point it has defaulted to this and I can’t get it to open up to the top so I can see the whole window! Any suggestions?

  • One of those obvious functions for which we thank you since we sure didn’t know how to make this short-cut – especially useful for small outfits like my own which insist on a few important personalizations.

  • Perfect explanation on how to use it!
    Thanks (… some days i need baby steps details, other days i’m lightening fast ☺)

  • Is it possible to have the Save and Delete as a sub menu or other? I have a long list of responses and my menu is huge to have a list for save and delete on the same list. Wondering if we can add that as a feature request?

  • Is it possible to personalize my canned response without it being permanently overwritten? For example, I used the template for our business hours. Then I added a sentence that said We will be closed this Sunday due to the holiday. I then found out this sentence has been added to the template. Is there a way to avoid this?

  • {"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

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