Tech Tip: Canned Messages in Gmail

Emily Gmail TrainingDo you find yourself sending very similar emails over and over?  Canned Messages is a “lab” setting you can turn on in Gmail that will make it easy to quickly insert any block of text you’d like to reuse.


– A longer version of your signature

– Reply information for common requests

– a “form letter” version of an email that you can fill in with more specific details

Enabling Canned Messages

Step 1: From Gmail, click the settings “gear” icon and select “Settings” from the drop-down menu.

Step 2: Click the “Labs” tab

Step 3: Select “enable” for the “Canned Responses” lab.

Step 4: Be sure to click “Save Changes” to enable the lab.

Creating Canned Messages

You can use canned responses for all kinds of messages, but signatures are a good basic use.

Step 1: Click on “Compose” to start writing a message or paste in the text you’d like to use from elsewhere.

Tip: Replacing your default signature? If your default one is already in your blank message, be sure to remove it before adding the new signature you’d like to save.

Step 2: Only write the part of the message you want to use in the future. Then go to the bottom right corner of your message window to find the  “Canned Responses” menu under the “More options” arrow.

gmail show more menu


Step 3: Select “New canned response” to save the current message with a new name:

gmail - new canned response

Step 4: Now you’ll be able to select this signature from your list of “Canned Responses” and click on the title under “Insert” to add your signature.

gmail - canned response list

Tips for Canned Messages

Do you have some spaces in a message you want to fill in later? Use the formatting options to highlight that text in a bright color so you don’t forget and leave filler text that doesn’t apply to your recipient.

To make changes to a canned response, insert it into a blank message, make your changes, than go to “Save Canned Response” in the list to select the title and save over the previous version.

Be careful not to select “Save Canned Message” when you really want to insert text, not save a blank message over your previous version!

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