Using Gmail’s Canned Response Feature

Today, I want to do a sidebar and tell you about an awesome feature that no one really talks about but is so great!  It’s called Canned Responses, and it’s a feature in gmail.

If you don’t use gmail, then you really should consider using it for lots of reasons.  It’s much easier to access than your webmail, you can bring in other email accounts to your gmail accounts and read and reply to them from your gmail account, and you can set up google alerts as well.  While Google is not my favorite corporate entity – they do know how to entice you with some awesome features.

So, what is a canned response?

When you turn on the setting, you can save short messages and send them repeatedly as replies with a quick mouse click so that you don’t have to keep typing the same thing over and over.

On my other websites, I get asked about what menu plan someone should buy quite often, as well as asking me how to subscribe or unsubscribe to their meal plan.  I hate having to find that information over and over again, so I have set up canned responses so that I can easily and thoroughly respond.  You can even set it up to automatically respond to certain emails with certain subjects or tags.  That’s pretty cool as well.

Let me show you how to use it!

Click on the gear bar in the upper rightFirst, log-in to your gmail account.  In the upper right corner you will see a gear box, click the drop-down and click on settings.

Once you have clicked on settings, then you get the entire settings section.  You may want to go through this area later and change some stuff.  This is also the area that you can add new accounts to be pulled into your gmail account for reading.  More about that another time.

Click on the Labs Tab in the top line of words.Gmail Labs page for canned response

You can either search for canned response in the top search bar, or scroll down.

Click on the enable button, and don’t forget to scroll all the way to the bottom and click save.

Now the next part confused me a little.  You have to create canned responses but I was thinking I could just create a bunch of them and have them saved ahead of time.  But you only have access to the canned response menu when you are typing a reply or email.  So, you need to go into your email account, open a message, and hit reply.

At the top of the message area right before the area you type in, you will see a drop down for canned response, and it asks if you want to make a new one or use a stored one.

Canned Response in gmailClick on the drop down, click new canned response (or use a stored one) and you are ready to adjust slightly and move one.

I love it when automation makes my life a little easier yet it’s not too overwhelming to figure out how to use it!

I am not telling you to reply to everyone with a canned response, but for repetitive questions like I get sometimes, it’s a big help and you can answer questions much more quickly.

I personally think that it’s a great reason to have it in gmail, because you can have access to it anywhere.  Think of all the customer service responses you can put in here and have the right information and get it to your customers quickly.  One of my biggest pet peeve’s is when someone doesn’t respond to an email, and if they do respond, the information is generic and not helpful.  Please don’t do that!

Tell me your favorite types of canned responses to use in gmail!  I hope if you did not already know about this feature that it’s a great asset to you now!

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