Have you ever had what seems like a million e-mails to respond to and just not enough time in your day to do it? Did you know that Google Labs has created the ability to create “canned responses” to help you cut down on how long it takes to respond to e-mails? Canned Responses allows you to create, manage and use pre-written responses while responding to your e-mails. This allows you to take a deep breath, quickly go through and then respond to e-mails with previously written canned responses.

While this may not seem like the most personal way to get through e-mails, for those e-mails that need just a quick response, you can use canned responses to get through them quicker. You can then take the time it would have taken to respond to each of those e-mails individually and devote the time to your more personal ones. Canned Responses is an efficient way to manage your e-mail while using Gmail, and we will show you how to get started with it.

How To Use the Canned Response Feature in Gmail

Login to your e-mail account and click on the “Gear icon” in the top right-hand corner of your browser.

Gmail settings

Click on “Mail settings.”

Gmail settings toolbar

On the blue toolbar for your Gmail settings, you want to locate and click on “Labs.”

Gmail Labs

You will be given a brief introduction to Labs for Gmail. You can search for a lab or a keyword related to one to find what you can add to Gmail.

Type in “Canned Response” to pull up this Lab.

Canned Response Lab

Make sure to click “Enabled” once you read through the brief description.

Then, scroll down to the bottom of the page and click “Save Changes” to activate the Lab in your Gmail account.

Save Changes

It will take a few seconds for Gmail to refresh, but once it does, Canned Response is ready to be used.

Click “Compose.”


Below the Subject line, you will now see a drop-down menu option for Canned responses. Click on the “Down arrow” next to it.

Canned responses...

You can now create your first Canned Response. Click “New canned response…”

(9) creating new canned response

A pop-up will appear asking you to name the response.

Please enter a new canned response name:

Click “Ok” when finished.

Now, in the text body of the e-mail, simply type your canned response.

Typing in your canned response

Once finished, click on the “Down arrow” next to Canned responses again.

You will now see the name of your canned response listed. Click on it under the Save sub-header.

(12) save response

A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm you want to overwrite whatever was previously in the canned response.

This will overwrite your saved canned response.

Click “Ok” to do so. This saves your canned response as is so you can use it later.

If you want to use your canned response to reply to an e-mail, just click on the “Down arrow” next to Canned responses in the reply e-mail.

Insert canned response into e-mail

Click on the name of the canned response you want to use.

This will automatically insert it into the e-mail, and you can click “Send” to send it to the recipient.

If you ever want to delete a canned response, start by clicking the “Down arrow” next to Canned responses.

Deleting a canned response

Then, click on the name of the canned response you want to delete below the Delete sub-header.

A pop-up will appear asking you to confirm you want to delete the canned response.

Are you sure you want to delete this canned response?

Click “Ok” to delete it from Gmail.

Canned responses are easy to create and once you have them set up, you can begin using them to respond to the trivial e-mails you receive throughout the day. This leaves you more time to focus on the emails that matter and other things you do on your computer.

Pros of using the Canned Response Lab in Gmail

  • Speeds up the time it takes to respond to e-mail
  • Allows you to filter the most important e-mails to respond to on your own
  • Easy to create canned responses and infinite room to save them

Cons of using the Canned Response Lab in Gmail

  • May accidentally same send canned response to a person twice
  • Feels less personal responding to e-mails
  • Possible to send the wrong respond to an e-mail

Why are canned responses a good idea?

Some people naturally think something like canned responses is a horrible way to respond to an e-mail. However, think about how many useless e-mails you receive during the day you truly have to respond to. This can be work e-mails, personal e-mails or even spam. By setting up canned responses with this Gmail Lab, you can eliminate some of the hassles of coming up with a reply every time you have to respond to a similar e-mail. This drastically cuts down the time you spend in Gmail trying to sort through your e-mails for the day.

Canned Responses is an efficient tool in responding to the e-mails you just do not want to deal with or do not have time to deal with but must figure out a way to fit them into your busy schedule. If you are not sure if this will work for you, you can always enable Canned Response, give it a try and disable it down the line if it is not working the way you would like. Google Labs gives you the option to use Canned Response, and other Labs, to make your Gmail experience more efficient and effective.

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