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Step by Step Guide to Gmail Templates

Gmail templates - a step by step guide

Not a lot of people know about Gmail templates!

I have to be honest with you, it’s not long since I discovered them myself. They say, “Necessity is the mother of invention” but I prefer “Necessity is the mother of Google searching”. I wondered if they existed so I Googled it and found that they did indeed exist. To save you the bother of searching for a decent explanation of how to set up and use Gmail templates, I have written it down here for you. Hope it helps!

One thing to note is that Gmail call templates ‘Canned Responses”.

Step 1

Click the settings icon on the top right corner of your Gmail. It’s the round symbol that looks like a gear.


Step 2

Click the “Settings” option on the drop down menu.


Step 3

Select “Labs” from the blue menu along the top.


Step 4

Here there are many experimental ‘labs’ on offer from Gmail developers. Scroll down to find ‘Canned Responses’ and enable it. Make sure you Save Changes on exit.

Step 5

Compose a new message in Gmail. Follow these setps:

  1. If you have a signature set up, delete from within the new message. This prevents it from appearing twice in the template.
  2. Leave the subject** and cc fields empty. (**See edit below)
  3. Once you are happy with your template message text, click on ‘Canned Responses’ (*Old Gmail layout – beneath the subject line. New Gmail layout – see screenshot)


Step 6

Under ‘Canned Responses’ click ‘new canned response’.


Step 7

A label box will open. Type a name for your new template.


Step 8

Delete the draft email that you created to set up the template. Compose a new message. Go directly to the ‘more options’ arrow at the bottom of your new message box. Select ‘Canned Responses’ and then chose the saved template that you named earlier. This will insert that text into your new email. Ta da!

**EDIT: Gmail are now allowing subject lines to be saved. Thanks to Marta for pointing that out!

32 thoughts on “Step by Step Guide to Gmail Templates

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  3. Thank you, this is very useful and I’ve now set up a canned email. Mine’s not so much a response to emails sent to me, but a template email I’m sending out to multiple people. I’ve found that the subject line I’ve given my email disappears on saving (ie it doesn’t reappear when you ‘insert’ the canned response into a new email) so I’ve just added the subject line to the top of mine. Cutting and pasting it into the subject line is the only other effort I have to make πŸ™‚


  4. Hi team

    Partially useful
    The subject and attachment vanished when I inserted the template

    Binoj Vinayan

    1. Glad the guide has helped some of you guys! Just a note, the canned responses will not save a subject line or an attachment so they have to be inserted each time πŸ™‚

  5. Very helpful, this has drastically reduced the time that I’ll be spending on a number of tasks…. Thank you

  6. Thank you!! This was exactly what I needed to “automate” a task and save myself some time. Your instructions were perfect!

    1. Hi Gina,

      No, there aren’t any permissions to be enabled. Gmail provides full permissions to it’s users. I’ve edited the post above. Have a look at steps 6 & 7 as I’ve tried to be more clear about the last steps. Hopefully this gets you to the finish line! Let me know if it works or where you think it might be going wrong on your end if it doesn’t work. πŸ™‚

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  8. I deleted the signature info when setting up the canned response, but it’s still showing up in there twice. Please advise how to fix.

    1. I don’t know why that is happening Steve. Are you definitely creating and then sending the canned response from the same email address?

  9. Gmail improvements to be made – I looked for this answer because I use email templates in Outlook and wanted a friend of mine who does not have Outlook to be able to use templates.

    One small improvement Google could as add – is the ability to save attachments as part of the email canned response / template. In Outlook having that flexibility makes it very useful as all I have to do is add the email address. The subject and attachment have been saved as part of the template. πŸ™‚

  10. Cant we set the Recipients also in the template. Each time I cannot add too many recipients manually. Please help.

    1. A template is really meant to be available to send to any recipient Menaka so there is no way to save the recipient with the canned response. That would be more like a Draft Email.
      How about adding the email addresses to a Group and then simply adding the Group to the To: line when you are sending the email?

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  13. This was very helpful. I am a 100% Outlook user, but have to change over to company gmail. This made is so simple, I set up my first template in just a few seconds.

    1. That’s great Kit! You’ll soon get used to Gmail. It’s always hard to change software though isn’t it!

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