Using Canned Responses in Gmail to create default email templates

30 Oct

Did you know that you can create default email templates in Gmail to save you typing the same message over and over again? Or are you using copy and paste to save typing? In this post, I’ll explain how to create and use “Canned Responses” in your Gmail email to save time and ensure that you send consistent messages.

Why would I want to create email templates?

If you run or work for a business, you’ll know that you send a lot of the same text over and over again. To use my business as an example, I send these emails a lot:

  • A pre-work email to students to explain exactly what I do and any issues around plagiarism that I need to tell them about
  • An email to transcription clients that lists the choices I need them to make so that I can provide the transcription they need (do they want me to type the exact utterances or tidy them up, insert time stamps ever 10 minutes, etc.?)
  • An email to enquirers to say that I can’t fit them into my schedule but here’s a list of recommended proofreaders
  • An email to my small business chat interviewees to ask for their annual update, telling them how many hits their interview has had and what they said last time

I save considerable amounts of time by automating these emails using Canned Responses, and I’m sure that you have at least a couple of standard texts that you’re always sending out.

Where can I find Canned Responses in Gmail?

Canned responses are a “Lab” feature in Gmail. This means that they’re an experimental feature, written by a third party, a bit like a plugin that you can add to your email. Having said all that about them being experimental, I’ve been using them for YEARS now and they haven’t broken or disappeared.

To access the Labs, go into the Gmail settings by clicking on the cog icon at the top right of your screen, then choosing Settings:

1 settings

Then choose the Labs tab at the top:

2 labs

I’ve already got Canned Responses enabled, as shown here, but you will need to scroll down until you find it, or enter “Canned Responses” in the Search for a Lab search box (not the top search box):

3 canned responses

Any labs that you enable will show at the top of your screen, and you can scroll down to see the others that are available, each with a description of what they do:

4 canned responses

So do have a little explore another day! For now, click Enable and then Save Changes under the search box or at the bottom of the screen (to get back to your email, click on Inbox on the far left).

How do I use a Canned Response?

I’m going to show you what happens when you use a Canned Response first, to help you to understand what they are, and then we’ll look at creating a new one.

Let’s pretend I’ve received an email from a music journalist wanting to know about my transcription services:

5 incoming email

I click on the Reply arrow at the top right or in the Reply pane at the bottom to start my reply:

6 more options

But instead of typing my reply, I click the More options button at the bottom right of the screen. This brings me up a list of, well, more options, oddly enough … and then I click on Canned Responses:

7 canned responses

Here I have a list of all of the canned responses I’ve set up. I’m going to click on Transcription conventions at the top, and when I do, the text will insert itself into my email automatically, saving me masses of typing!

8 canned response

It’s just like a  normal email that I’ve typed, however, and I can add a greeting and do any editing to the text that I require in order to personalise it:

9 canned response addition

How do I set up a new canned response?

To set up a new canned response, start a new message in Gmail and type your standard text. I haven’t addressed this one, but you can save an email that strikes you as a particularly useful one to use again, at whatever stage. One important point, though: when you want to save it as a canned response, delete any signature file you have at the end of your emails. If you don’t delete it, it will become part of the canned response. Then when you add it to an email, your signature will be automatically added at the end anyway, duplicating it.

So, delete your signature and press that More options button at the bottom right before you send your email:

10 new canned response

Now scroll down past the canned responses you have already set up (if you haven’t set up any, this will be almost at the top, underneath save) and select New canned response:

11 new canned response

It will prompt you for a name for your canned response:

12 new canned response

Type this in and press OK:

13 new canned response

Now this response will appear in your list next time you want to use an email template:

15 new canned response

How do I change a canned response message?

if you want to alter a canned response message, the easiest way to do it is:

  • Start a new email
  • Load the original canned response
  • Choose More options / Canned responses then choose the appropriate Canned response name under the Save sub-heading
  • The new version will be saved to replace the old one

What else can I do with canned responses?

You can use your canned responses in a filter. If you want a special message to go out to a particular customer automatically, To do this, go into Settings – Filters. I have already set up a filter to mark emails that are forwarded from my old email address as coming from there. I am now going to edit that filter:

16 filter

Having hit Edit, I then select Continue:

17 filter

I then access the options where I can choose to send a Canned Response to anything coming through that filter, and I choose the Canned Response from the list:

18 filter

And finally choose Update Filter to make the changes stick.


Have you found this useful? Please comment – especially if you’d like to see more Gmail tips – and use the sharing buttons to share this post with your friends and contacts!


Posted by on October 30, 2013 in Business



103 responses to “Using Canned Responses in Gmail to create default email templates

  1. Mary McCauley

    October 30, 2013 at 9:48 am

    Thanks for this tip, Liz! I didn’t know about it and it’s just what I need. I had been copying and pasting certain emails into template Word documents but this system seems much better.


    • Liz at Libro

      October 30, 2013 at 9:50 am

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, Mary. From the responses I’m getting, it seems I’m one of the few people who know about this – yet I use it ALL THE TIME as you can see from the real list of canned responses I use that you can see on the screenshots! Do spread the word …


  2. Sarah Kolb-Williams

    October 30, 2013 at 2:04 pm

    Liz, you just saved my life. I can’t wait to move all my Word doc template emails into Gmail and have one less thing to mess around with!


    • Liz at Libro

      October 30, 2013 at 2:08 pm

      Hi, Sarah – I’m so pleased that I’ve saved quite a few people some time and effort!


      • Rebecca

        December 19, 2017 at 3:28 am

        Hi Liz! first off thanks for this…I’m obviously late to the game, but yours was the only instructions that actually seemed to work! One problem I’m having though…I create the canned response, and assign it to an email address. I then “update filter” to get it to save. I tested it on an aol account I control- the canned response appears in BOTH my sent mail, and in drafts…but is never actually received by my aol account, even though it is in my sent items. Any idea why this is happening or how to fix it? Thank you!


        • Liz Dexter

          December 19, 2017 at 8:47 am

          I’m not sure what’s going on here to be honest, not sure why it appears in Drafts and Sent. Is it going into the spam folder in AOL? I would undo it all and start again from scratch, just in case something went awry.


  3. nimshkedy

    October 31, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    Hi Liz, You can also use GmailWiz, it’s a chrome extension that adds instant reply buttons to Gmail.. it has less elaborate features than canned responses, but I liked its simpicity.


    • Liz at Libro

      October 31, 2013 at 8:51 pm

      Thank you – that’s useful to know, too.


  4. anna19864

    November 6, 2013 at 8:32 am

    Liz, I find your Blog posts to be extremely helpful, explained really simply – for dummies – and get so much out of them. Thank you for sharing.

    Anna Nolan


    • Liz at Libro

      November 6, 2013 at 8:47 am

      Thank you for your kind comment, and I’m glad you’re getting a lot of out my posts! Do let me know if there’s ever something you’d like me to explain on a post!


  5. Bill K

    November 23, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    Hi and thank you for your tutorial I have not yet gone through it completely but do have a question. My wife works at a nonprofit and had been using canned responses to generate monthly emails to its members but about three or four months ago the canned responses that I had set up for he disappeared from the “drop down list”. I have had to rebuild them every month since. Have you seen this happen, if so what have we been doing or not doing to allow this to occur?

    I am planning to follow your tutorial to once again create the templates; hopefully following it I will discover the issue and correct it.


    • Liz at Libro

      November 23, 2013 at 5:53 pm

      Thanks for your comment and glad you’re finding it useful. I’ve not had this problem, however I only use them on one PC, I’m not sure what would happen if I hot desked, though they should be the same really. The only thing I can think of is if someone else uses the account and has deleted them. Sorry I can’t help further, if this happens again, note the exact timing and situation and I’ll see if I can find anything out that will help you.


  6. she

    December 3, 2013 at 5:09 pm

    Thanks for the info, it’s very useful. Hope to see some quick tips on gmail “Filters” in your next post. God bless!


    • Liz at Libro

      December 3, 2013 at 5:11 pm

      Thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found it useful. Yes, I must look at filters some time on the blog – good point!


  7. Art Seiders

    February 24, 2014 at 1:10 pm

    Verrry useful! Thanks a bunch (a pity it doesn’t also “paste”the header, only the body)


    • Liz at Libro

      February 25, 2014 at 10:04 am

      I know – but it still makes things MUCH quicker, I have tens of the things set up now for all eventualities!


  8. Liz at Libro

    February 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

    You will find lots of tips on blogging, including getting started, here:


  9. Dave

    March 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Is it possible to add attachments to the canned response?


    • Liz at Libro

      March 2, 2014 at 6:48 pm

      Unfortunately, it isn’t possible to do that at the moment, but people are always bringing out more Labs, so it’s worth keeping an eye on what’s on offer as someone might add this in the future.


  10. dilsayar

    March 8, 2014 at 11:59 pm

    Hi there, I was using this in Outlook and out of a sudden realized that it might be available in Gmail too and was pleasantly surprised to find your detailed write up after a quick Google search. Thank you.


    • Liz at Libro

      March 9, 2014 at 7:30 am

      Thanks – glad I could help!


  11. Ryan

    March 13, 2014 at 5:26 pm

    Liz (and others),
    This is useful. At my marketing department my staff uses CRs all the time. It does have huge limitations though, and is one of the most poorly implemented parts of gmail’s otherwise excellent product. Here are some things that could create big issues:
    1- gmail appears to limit these to only 39 CRs. It won’t tell you this, but will automatically delete a CR when you save a new one, after your limit is reached. We found this out the hard way.
    2- If you have a lot of these it is easy to get lost in the list. At a certain point in the list it goes to “save” and then “delete.” You may think you are sending one, but are accidentally be deleting. It does warn you, but some of my employees moving quickly have accidentally done this.
    3- There is no way to mass import these, or export. If you have a staff of a dozen people, not all tech savvy, then setting each person up takes a lot of time.
    4- It reorders your list according to usage, not alphabetically or otherwise. Options for this would be good. It assumes you will want to send your most frequently used CRs most frequently, which is probably true for most cases. But when it is not the case, that means you will look through a long list trying to find what you’re looking for.

    There is currently NO workaround for what we are doing without using these CRs, and Gmail doesn’t appear to be interested in fixing this for now. These 4 issues do create difficulty for us.

    Although I do complain about this, my main purpose in this response is to help others avoid the productivity loss that we have faced in not anticipating these issues.


    • Liz at Libro

      March 13, 2014 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Ryan, I was not aware of the 39 item limit and will watch that carefully and indeed add it to the article (with an attribution to you) as that’s really important. I use it as a sole trader but I note the issues using it in a company-wide context. I appreciate your care in putting down these details to share with others – if you do find any updates or workarounds, do pop back to let me know!


  12. Jacob Nelik

    April 3, 2014 at 6:24 pm

    Hi Liz, I am new here. Your description is crystal clear (amazing detailed work). Thank you. I just tested the filtered (automatic) canned response and it did NOT work. The manual canned response worked just fine. The other filtered (automatic) functions like forwarding work fine as well.
    As I researched online (including Gmail help forums), I found several other complaints about the filtered canned response messages not working. I asked a friend to test it on his computer with his Gmail account and he got the same results as me (not working). Can you advice how to troubleshoot the problem? Thank you


    • Liz at Libro

      April 3, 2014 at 6:38 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Jacob, and I’m glad you find my way of describing things useful. I will check out the filtering function when I get a moment and report back – did you set it up exactly as I lay it out in the post? I must admit that I haven’t used that function for a while.


      • Jacob Nelik

        April 3, 2014 at 10:33 pm

        Liz, thank you for the quick reply. Yes I did set it up exactly as you described. Further, I created a brand new gmail account, just for the purpose of auto-responding, and defined the canned response as well as filter (as you demonstrated). I found that this account receives the incoming email, performs the canned response function but instead of emailing it back to the sender, it places it inside the Draft label. I wonder if this is a clue that can help resolving the problem.


        • Liz at Libro

          April 13, 2014 at 6:31 pm

          Hi Jacob, I just wanted to pop back to say I just set up the filtered canned response on a new gmail account exactly as I have specified on this blog post, and it is working just find, so I’m not sure what happened. Did you definitely put the old email address in the “To” part of the filter, not the “from”? (as I nearly did this myself in error).


  13. Victoria

    April 22, 2014 at 12:14 am

    You broke this down so simply and wonderfully. I wanted to create a filter that both deletes the e-mail and sends a response that makes it appear the sender is effectively blocked, and this apparently has accomplished it. HUGELY helpful in finally warding off the harassment from a past relationship.


    • Liz at Libro

      April 22, 2014 at 5:39 am

      I’m so pleased that I could help – and I checked and the email addresses on comments aren’t searchable, so I’m leaving your comment on the post in case it helps others.


  14. Karen Perry

    June 28, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Wonderful information. Thank you. I am trying to use the filter/canned response combo to autoreply to emails coming in to an email account that is forwarded to my gmail account. Although I can manually choose to have different email addresses show in my “from” line for replies, the autoresponses show my original email address and I want it to show as coming from the one that the message was forwarded from. Any suggestions? Karen


    • Liz at Libro

      June 28, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Thanks Karen. Have you tried this? In Settings / Accounts and Import / Send Mail As section, you should find this option:

      When replying to a message:
      Reply from the same address to which the message was sent
      Always reply from default address (currently xxxxx)
      (Note: You can change the address at the time of your reply. Learn more)

      Click the radio button by Reply from the same address to which the message was sent.

      I think this should do it – but do let me know either way!


  15. David

    July 1, 2014 at 3:41 am

    I have luck with this method as long as I don’t also specify deleting the message as part of the filter. That causes no canned message to get sent. If I skip the inbox (archive) the incoming message instead, everything works fine. This isn’t idea, however, as I don’t want to ever read the originals and thus don’t want my archive filling up with them. Anyone else experience this same issue?


    • Liz at Libro

      July 1, 2014 at 6:40 am

      Thanks for your comment, and that is interesting, I wonder if anyone else is having that. I suppose you could archive to a named folder and then just go in every now and then, click on the tick box at the top to select all and delete without looking at them. It’ll be interesting to see if anyone else has the same problem.


  16. Menesia Spade

    July 4, 2014 at 4:21 pm

    Thanks so much for a really well done tutorial!! This is going to save me tons of time 🙂


    • Liz at Libro

      July 4, 2014 at 4:59 pm

      You’re welcome, glad I could help!


  17. Rehman

    August 7, 2014 at 3:20 am

    Very Helpful.


  18. AlexPlugaru

    August 8, 2014 at 8:35 am

    If you want something better than simple canned responses try this extension (for Chrome):

    Disclaimer: I’m the author


    • Liz at Libro

      August 8, 2014 at 9:08 am

      Thanks, Alex – that’s very useful and I will check it out. And thanks for employing good practice in revealing you’re the author, the reason that I’ve allowed this comment!


  19. dsch1ck

    August 22, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    Is there any way to make a CR the default email template? Right now I have to click compose then select Canned Response then select the CR I want to use. I would like to use the same CR each and every time I send an email?

    Thanks for your help.


    • Liz at Libro

      August 22, 2014 at 3:23 pm

      Hi there, not as far as I know, I’m afraid, as it’s an add-on rather than a straight default in Gmail. Let me know if you find out any different, however!


    • AlexPlugaru

      August 22, 2014 at 3:55 pm

      @dsch1ck, it’s not exactly what you want, but if you try to use the extension I created for Google Chrome you can create a template with your text (the canned response) and assign it a ‘Tab completion’ to it say the letter ‘a’. That way you can click on Compose and type ‘a’ and then the ‘Tab’ key and it will insert your text.

      As I said it’s not automatically adding a template to all your compose e-mail, but it’s faster than clicking around.

      Another tip: Enable keyboard shortcuts. It will save you a lot of time! Trust me on this. Here’s the link on how to do it:

      When you want to write a new e-mail you can do this:

      ‘c’ then ‘a’ then Tab then CTRL+Enter (your done – mail is sent).

      Quicktext Chrome Extension:
      Video tutorial:


      • Liz at Libro

        August 22, 2014 at 3:59 pm

        Thanks for your help there, Alex.


  20. Annette

    September 4, 2014 at 11:00 am

    Hi Liz, I use canned comments a lot, I currently have 35. The problem is they all appear in my Drafts folder so it looks as if I have 35 draft emails. Of course, if I delete them from drafts they also delete from canned responses. I can’t imagine it is supposed to work like this. Do you know how I can set them up and not have them appear in my Drafts folder? I am using an Apple desktop.


    • Liz at Libro

      September 4, 2014 at 11:09 am

      Hello there, that does seem odd to me, the original ones I set up do appear as drafts when I save them, but then I can delete those and my canned responses stay put. Have you tried deleting one, setting it up anew and then seeing what happens?


      • Annette

        September 4, 2014 at 11:22 am

        Yes, I have tried that and they always disappear from my canned comments list.


        • Liz at Libro

          September 4, 2014 at 2:14 pm

          And you’re definitely hitting “save canned response” when you save it. I would recommend pasting them all into a document, uninstalling canned responses, reinstalling them and trying it all again from scratch, as I can’t work out how this is happening.


          • Annette

            September 7, 2014 at 4:49 am

            Yes, hitting “save canned response”. Will try your suggestion and let you know if it fixes the problem. Thanks.


    • Angel

      February 2, 2015 at 6:42 pm

      I had the same problem. Turns out that yes, canned responses are stored in the ‘drafts’ folder. If you give them a ‘subject’ you won’t actually see them clogging up the folder itself. (Although beware: when I check my mail on my phone, the inbox format is different and the canned responses do show up in the draft folder. Keep this in mind before going on a delete spree like I did the first time!)


  21. kristal bastian

    October 17, 2014 at 8:06 pm

    Hello Liz, I can’t seem to find “Canned Responses” in my gmail account..please help!


    • Liz at Libro

      October 18, 2014 at 6:26 am

      Hello Kristal,

      Have you followed the process right from the beginning and looked for it in the “lab” options? It’s not an option that’s immediately available, you have to enable it, so try that first and let me know if that still doesn’t work.


  22. lsr1984

    October 22, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Good info Liz. I have set up several canned responses to produce an automatic reply from another site of ours. These messages come with a from: address that is a donotreply@ plus a reply-to: address that is the user’s actual email address. But, the canned response appears to ignore the reply-to: address so they never get the response. Have you seen that happen? Any idea how to get around this issue? Thanks.


    • Liz Dexter

      October 22, 2014 at 9:26 pm

      Thanks for your question. Are the emails that it’s responding to coming from a contact form or similar, then? I’m not sure, it must be in the filter, rather than the canned response, so look at the filter and see if you can choose an action that picks the correct address to reply to with the canned response. Otherwise, I think that’s beyond me, sorry (but let’s leave this question up in case somebody else drops by with an answer!).


      • lsr1984

        October 22, 2014 at 9:59 pm

        Yes, these messages are coming from a contact form. Interestingly, if I manually hit Reply from one these messages from Google Mail, it uses the reply-to address, the user’s actual email. I suppose we’ll have to wait (quite a while, I expect) for Google Labs to update this add-on.


        • Derick

          January 5, 2016 at 5:36 pm

          This is a known issue and has been around forever. According to Google, it is working as designed. I had to write a Google Apps Script to get it working for our emails from Weebly.


  23. Blink Keyboard iOS (@blink_kbd)

    November 12, 2014 at 10:18 am

    Great! But looks like the other party cannot reply to the canned response? Because the email is and if other party reply I cannot get it, is it?


    • Liz Dexter

      November 12, 2014 at 10:22 am

      I use canned responses constantly and no one has any trouble responding to them, so I don’t think that’s an issue. Otherwise there would be no point in having them …


  24. Eli

    November 20, 2014 at 5:37 am

    Hello, great information in the article and comments. Hopefully someone here has some insight on how to solve another one of the huge oversights with Canned Responses – you CANNOT pre-populate the recipient/subject fields!!!

    We have a department that is throwing a fit with having to migrate to Google from Exchange (we are in the middle of a migration) because of this missing functionality. In Outlook, they have 22 drafts, and ALL of them contain recipients and a subject that stays the same, and it’s just part of the body that changes.

    We found a way to tackle this, but NOT 100%:

    Since Gmail is a web app, you can use a link to compose a draft that populates the required fields:

    You can use canned responses with some links/favorites in your browser to automatically create emails to specific people and/or with specific subjects! Then you can insert your canned response message and send your email.
    Create a link as follows (replacing the parameters as needed), save it as a favorite/bookmark in your browser, then click it and insert your canned response:,!

    Notice the parameters below in the above link:
    &to= [for recipients]
    &cc= [for Cc recipients]
    &bcc= [for bcc recipients]
    &su= [for the subject]
    &body= [for actually putting text into the body via a link]

    Limitations of this method: Even though you can create the canned response directly in the url with the “&body=” parameter, it ignores any formatting, so if your body needs to contain text that is bold,a header,color,etc then it wont work. Hence why you would still need to utilize the actual Canned Response feature to insert your text.

    ****The last issue our team needs to tackle is being able to insert contact groups in the url. IE, a group in your contacts that contains 2 or more of your contacts’ email addresses, so when you add the group as a recipient it breaks out to those email addresses. I can’t figure out the formatting for it, maybe the url method doesn’t translate personal contact groups.****

    ***Another reader asked how to attach files to a canned response. You can, using Google Drive:

    To attach files to Canned Responses, you must first upload those files to your Google Drive account. Then in the compose window, click “Insert Files Using Drive”. Then you can save your Canned Response, and each time you insert the response into a message, it will contain the link to that document.
    Note: Make sure to set the sharing permissions according to your target recipients and what they are allowed to do with the attachment (if, for instance, the email gets sent to different external [not from your company] email addresses but you do not want them to be able to edit, you might want to set the sharing/visibility to “anyone with the link” and “can view”.)


    • Liz Dexter

      November 20, 2014 at 5:51 am

      Thanks for this raft of information – much appreciated! I am glad to know how to attach documents – I’ll add something to the text or a new post soon with that info (credited to you, of course). And hopefully someone can come along with a workaround on the recipient point.


  25. md al amin

    January 15, 2015 at 11:44 pm

    how many traffic can i send a day from gmail canned responsed?


    • Liz Dexter

      January 16, 2015 at 8:09 am

      I’m not sure whether there’s a limit, because it’s just a way of auto-filling content into an email, so the rules would be the same as for general emails, but it wouldn’t be appropriate for, for example, sending out a newsletter or marketing material – it’s always better to use something like for that.


  26. Barbara H Brown

    March 22, 2015 at 2:42 pm

    I have created a number of canned responses but I can’t seem to get them to load when I want to reply.


    • Liz Dexter

      March 22, 2015 at 4:54 pm

      Do you try to follow the procedure here, and what happens when you do? Have you re-opened your gmail recently and when it said “disable developer mode”, done so -it requires developer mode to be enabled in order to work. Hope that helps!


      • Barbara

        March 23, 2015 at 3:06 pm

        I did follow the procedure you describe. I have never seen the “disable developer mode” in gmail. How do I check to ensure that it is enabled?


        • Liz Dexter

          March 23, 2015 at 3:11 pm

          Go into Settings (cog in the top right corner), then Labs and check that Canned Responses is enabled. If it’s not, try to click to enable. If that doesn’t work, you may need to restart Gmail, you will see an option to disable developer mode which it looks like you should do (but don’t), and if you continue without disabling it, you will get Gmail open just fine, and Canned Responses should be enabled. Hope that helps.


        • Barbara H Brown

          March 29, 2015 at 1:29 pm

          I am still struggling with canned responses. When I went into labs and attempted to disable then enable canned responses, I noticed that I was not able to save the change. This is probably the root of my problems. What would block me from enabling canned responses? Barbara


  27. Teresa A. d'Eca

    April 15, 2015 at 10:27 pm

    Hi, Liz!
    Thanks so much for such a comprehensive image tutorial!
    Is it possible to personalize a canned response with the recipient’s email? I couldn’t find it. Please forgive me if the info is above.
    Thanks again!
    Teresa (Lisbon, Portugal)


    • Liz Dexter

      April 16, 2015 at 6:26 am

      Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, you can’t use canned responses to do a mail merge type process as far as I know.


  28. Elise

    April 29, 2015 at 3:20 am

    Hi! I just started using Windows 8 and find that the canned responses that I created in Windows 7 are inserting into emails, but above my text and not where I put the cursor. This makes CR not very helpful in creating multiple signatures. Any suggestions? What am I missing?


    • Liz Dexter

      April 29, 2015 at 1:56 pm

      Oh dear – that does sound annoying. I don’t have an answer for you, I’m afraid: it must be to do with Windows 8. If you find out the answer, please pop back to share with us!


  29. Aly

    May 1, 2015 at 11:15 am

    This is all very useful. But why am I unable to select the “send canned response” box?
    It is disabled for some reason.

    Thank you


    • Liz Dexter

      May 1, 2015 at 11:26 am

      You’ve probably inadvertently disabled “developer mode” which won’t let you use the lab apps. The easiest way to sort this out is to close your gmail and open it again. Somewhere in the top right of the screen you’ll get a grey box marked “disable developer mode”. DON’T disable and you should be able to access your canned responses and any other labs apps you’re using. Let me know how you get on!


      • Aly

        May 1, 2015 at 11:36 am

        Thank you for your quick reply. Hmmm… I can’t seem to find the “developer mode”..
        Would it be under settings?
        I am so close!


        • Liz Dexter

          May 1, 2015 at 11:40 am

          Did you close and open Gmail again? That’s the easiest way to do it, as the pop up appears telling you to disable developer mode, you tell it not to, and there you are. You can also go into Settings – Labs and check that you’ve enabled Canned Responses, but I’m betting it’s that you’ve reopened Gmail recently and not realised the importance of allowing Developer Mode to be enabled. Give that a go first.


          • aly

            May 1, 2015 at 12:01 pm

            Yep. Canned responses is still enabled. I have disable and enabled to reset as well.
            I have logged off and back on about 4 times now. Unfortunately, there are no visible, “developer mode” options. Maybe I have to go through my Account settings?
            It’s bizarre – I am able to select every other option- just not the canned response.
            I have been trying to figure it out since last night.
            Quite baffling. But thank you for your help. If I find a solution, I will definitely share.
            Thank You for your input.


  30. Sylfest Muldal

    May 14, 2015 at 9:10 am

    Thanks for all the valuable advice!
    Where Canned Responses would be really useful would be when I handle emails on the go using a smartphone – where typing is not just a chore but a pain.
    Is there anything like Canned Responses for the Gmail app on an Android phone?


    • Liz Dexter

      May 14, 2015 at 2:22 pm

      I’m afraid I don’t know of a version of Canned Responses for Android – if you find there is one, please pop back and let us know!


  31. GVFC

    August 28, 2015 at 8:50 pm

    How can I use canned response with a filter to auto reply and still have the original message with the auto-reply?


    • Liz Dexter

      August 28, 2015 at 8:56 pm

      If you’re using this as an auto-reply I don’t think you can include the original message, sorry. You will need to look at the auto-reply settings rather than the canned response settings though.


  32. KM

    October 8, 2015 at 4:16 pm

    Are you aware of any restrictions on the canned response with a filter as it related to the number of emails it will send per day to the same email address? For example, the GMail vacation message will only send one auto-reply every 4 days to the same email account. I ask because I am looking for a solution that sends the auto-reply every time an email comes in even if it’s from the same sender on the same day. If you need a further explanation, please let me know. Thanks.


    • Liz Dexter

      October 16, 2015 at 4:31 pm

      As far as I know, the canned response will send as many times as you need it to, the only restriction would be on the filter you set up. The canned response itself doesn’t know which email address you’re sending it to.


  33. Amanda

    October 17, 2015 at 12:25 am

    Hi Liz!

    I enabled canned responsein LABS, created and saved a canned response. When I go to create a filter I can select my canned response, however CANNED RESPONSE is greyed out. I have cleared my cache, tried different browsers, different computers, signed out and in, disabled and re-enabled canned responses, etc. still greyed out. I don’t see a ‘developer option’ on my gmail page. I did create a new dummy gmail account and am able to create and select ‘canned response’ as a filter option, just not able to do it in my account.

    Also, a perhaps related bug is that even CREATING A FILTER seems to be hit or miss. Sometimes I will check off some filter parameters, hit Create New Filter and I am taken to the next screen to choose what actions. BUT about half the time I hit Create New Filter it just does a search instead and sends me to the InBox. It often takes me three or four tries for it to get me to the next screen. So something is weird and wrong here.

    Please help! Spent two days racking my brain on this. Thank you!!


  34. Amanda

    October 17, 2015 at 12:37 am

    Liz, I have one more piece of information that might be useful. I was able to set up canned response yesterday and set it up as a filter and tested it. Canned responses were being sent as evidenced in my Sent Folder. Today, my canned response disappeared and I have the problem described in the previous comment. Thanks!


    • Liz Dexter

      October 17, 2015 at 11:07 am

      Thanks for your question, Amanda – I’m afraid this is outside my remit with these posts, it sounds like a problem with Gmail settings in some way. I’m going to leave your questions up here in case anyone else can answer them, though.


      • Amanda

        October 17, 2015 at 12:49 pm

        Thank you for keeping my question posted and your quick reply Liz. Hopefully we can get some answers.


  35. Stëvèn Frånçìs

    January 13, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Hello Liz, thanks a lot to this info save me tons of time .. but I wonder if you can help me with something else please … I send a lot of mails to apply for jobs with my cv attached to it .. so I wonder if there is a way to set that email body as default or saved somewhere to send it when I need? I send 10th of emails with my cv daily so that will save me effort & time .. Thanks in advance 🙂


    • Liz Dexter

      January 13, 2016 at 5:47 pm

      Dear Steven, yes, if you use the instructions in this post, it tells you how to create a default email to do just that. Just read the article you’ve commented on! The only thing you can’t do is set up a standard attachment to send every time. I hope that helps.


      • Stëvèn Frånçìs

        January 13, 2016 at 6:10 pm

        Yea, I did read it & already used it … just wondered if it can go further than that. Thanks a lot Liz 🙂


  36. Leslie B

    January 26, 2016 at 1:42 am

    Hi Liz, Thanks for this detailed description of canned emails. Do you by any chance know if the main account holder for a business gmail account can create canned email responses for all the employees/team members? Or does every member have to set it up their own? Thank you!


    • Liz Dexter

      January 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

      Hi Leslie, thanks for your question, I’m not sure as I don’t have that setup, but people do tend to answer other people’s questions on here, so I’ll publish yours and see if you get a response.


      • Leslie B

        February 2, 2016 at 12:00 am

        Much appreciated! Thanks Liz.


  37. Moses

    March 29, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Canned responses will certainly save a lot of time. Thanks


  38. Ralph Moorhouse

    March 30, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Hi Liz: use canned response a lot but have a major irritation. When I click on ‘canned responses’ in options, the window opens with my list of canned email but when I try to more the cursor over to choose one the box disappears – drives me crazy after several minutes of back n forth. ANy way to keep the window open so I can scroll to response I need – thanks


    • Liz Dexter

      March 31, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Yes, it’s an elusive beast, isn’t it. You have to be very controlled and not let the mouse wander, but I do sometimes have this issue, too.


  39. Peter GB

    June 11, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Hey Liz, great article, I’ve been trying to set up auto responses using the filter method. However, I’ve had no success just yet.

    Filter is simply From: , action is send canned responses ‘test’ which has saved as expected. I just haven’t had a single auto send yet. Any ideas?


    • Liz Dexter

      June 13, 2016 at 8:39 am

      I have had a few instances of this not working, I have also had limited and sporadic success with this, I’m afraid. I don’t know if it’s possible to contact the people who created this “Lab” to ask them!


      • Peter GB

        June 13, 2016 at 11:03 pm

        Gave up with this and opted for an if this then that recipe instead, which works wonders!!


        • Liz Dexter

          June 14, 2016 at 5:29 am

          Aha – good work!


        • teresadeca

          June 14, 2016 at 1:44 pm

          Hi Peter!
          I’m curious to know how you set things up with IFTT. Would you mind explaining and telling us which software you used? TIA.


          • Peter GB

            July 2, 2016 at 3:59 pm

            Hi Teresa,

            It’s super simple, you need to have a free account at which you’ll need to authorise to integrate with Gmail.
            You then need to create a new recipe.
            Choose Gmail as the trigger channel.
            Then choose the type of trigger, in my case ‘new email in inbox from’ and specify the email address.
            Click Create Trigger.
            Choose Gmail as the action channel. Choose Send an email as the action.
            Now you can specify the same email address in the ‘to address’ box, create a subject and message and even add an attachment if you wish. Click create action to finish.
            That’s it! Now whenever an email is received from the address you specified a customised auto response is sent. Pretty neat. You can be really specific with some of the other trigger options too – e.g. a specific email address and email subject.
            Let me know if you need any other info!


  40. Brandy Wright

    October 6, 2017 at 3:03 am

    No I would like to know if I’ll see these emails still after filtering canned responses. Do they still show up in my inbox ? Are they blocked so I don’t see them ? I get the whole automatic response but a canned response seems more for unwanted emails. So do we still revive them after the response is sent ?


    • Liz Dexter

      October 6, 2017 at 6:58 am

      Thank you for your comment. Unless you ask the filter to delete or place the emails in a different folder, too, they will still be in your inbox. And I disagree on the canned response being for unwanted emails as far as I’m concerned in practice; I use them to send large chunks of contractual text to prospective clients and explain how things are done to new clients, etc., and never use them as a rejection email.


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