How Email Templates in Gmail Help You Send and Reply Faster

by | Dec 20, 2019 | Gmail

If you want to reply faster, Gmail email templates are the answer. Find out here how to send emails and replies more efficiently with canned messages in Gmail.

First, You Have Less Than Six Hours

Let’s face it: people expect you not only to reply, they expect a fast reply.

41% of consumers expect a response within six hours.

Forrester Research Inc., 2008

The less time you spend writing, the faster you can reply—the more replies you can write, and the happier everybody will be.

This is how Gmail templates are so charmingly useful: you write oft-used responses (or even new messages such as pitches or reminders) once, then re-use them whenever needed. You can even set up Gmail to respond with a canned answer automatically—in response to emails sent to a Gmail alias you made up on the fly, for instance.

Let’s find out how!

How to Send and Reply Faster with Email Templates in Gmail

Time needed: 1 minute.

To use a template to start a new email or reply with a canned email in Gmail:

  1. Make sure email templates are enabled in Gmail. (See below.)

  2. Put the text cursor where you want to insert the template text in your new message or reply.

    Tip: In a new reply, the default will be just where you would start writing your answer, so you need not do anything.
    Note: See below for creating Gmail email templates.

  3. Click the More options button (three dots) in the composition window or pane’s toolbar.

  4. Select Templates from the menu followed by the template you want to use (under INSERT TEMPLATE at the top).

    Send and Reply Faster with Canned Email in Gmail

How to Send and Reply Faster with Email Templates in Gmail: FAQ

Will the template overwrite what I have already typed?

No.

When you insert an email template, it will be pasted where the text cursor is. As far as the email text is concerned, it works exactly as if you had pasted text copied from a template (in a text file, say).

Will the template overwrite the quoted text in the reply?

No.

Any quoted email will remain intact when you use a template in Gmail.

Can I make the template overwrite text?

Yes.

To replace text in an email with a template’s:

  1. Highlight the text you want to replace.
  2. Insert the template. (See above.)

What about the Subject line? Will it ever change?

The subject line will only change if it is empty.

So, to use the subject from the template, do delete any text in the Subject: line first.

Can I use more than one template in an email?

Yes.

Insert as many email templates as you like. You can, of course, insert the same template more than once as well.

Tip: Since you can set up as many templates as you like and insert them wherever you like, they make for great alternative Gmail signatures.

Can I use email templates with Basic HTML Gmail?

No, basic HTML Gmail does not support email templates.

(You can copy and paste from any text swipe file, of course.)

Can I use email templates in the Gmail apps for Android and iOS?

No, the Gmail apps do not support Gmail templates from the web-based desktop version.

You can open Gmail’s desktop version in a mobile browser, of course, or rely on smart compose.

How to Set Up a Gmail Template Email

To create a new canned response email template in Gmail:

  1. Make sure Templates is enabled in Gmail. (See below.)
  2. Start a new email in Gmail.
    Tip: Click COMPOSE, for example, or press C (with Gmail keyboard shortcuts enabled).
  3. Type the message you want to use for the canned response in the email’s text area.
  4. Enter a subject, if desired.
    Note: A subject in an email template will be used for new emails but not in replies.
  5. Optionally, choose a sending address; Gmail will remember it as well for new messages but not replies.
  6. Click the More options button (three dots) in the message’s formatting toolbar.
  7. Select Templates | Save draft as template |Save as new template from the menu that has appeared.
  8. Enter a title that will help you recognize the template under Enter a new template name.
    Tip: Gmail will have inserted the email’s subject—if you have entered one; you can change that preset, of course.
    Note: If you do change the title, Gmail will use it as the subject instead if you use the template to create a new message.
  9. Click Save.
  10. Typically, click Discard draft (🗑) in the message’s toolbar.
    Tip: Naturally, you can send the message as it is, or edit and save it as another template.

How to Enable Gmail Email Templates (Canned Responses)

To make sure you can set up email templates in Gmail:

  1. Click the Settings gear icon (⚙️) in Gmail; you will find it near the top right corner.
  2. Select Settings from the menu that has appeared.
  3. Go to the Advanced tab.
  4. Select Enable for Templates.
  5. Click Save Changes.

(Email templates in Gmail tested in a desktop browser; updated December 2019; title image: StockUnlimited)