How to Auto Reply in Gmail

Use a template and filter to send messages automatically

You don't need to write the same email repeatedly when you can set up automatic responses in Gmail. If you find yourself sending the same bodies of text to people, consider using the auto-reply function to send those messages automatically when set criteria are met.

This feature works by setting up a filter in Gmail so that when certain conditions are met (such as when a specific person emails you), a message of your choosing is automatically sent back to that address.

If you'd rather send vacation responses in Gmail, you enable a different setting for that.

Enable Templates for Automatic Email Replies in Gmail

To have Gmail automatically reply to emails using a template based on a set of criteria, you first have to enable templates in Gmail. Here's how:

  1. Select the Gear icon at the top right corner of the Gmail screen to open the Settings menu.

    Settings gear icon on Gmail
  2. Click or press See all settings near the top of the drop-down menu.

    See all settings location in Gmail
  3. Choose the Advanced tab.

    The Advanced Settings tab in Gmail
  4. In the Templates section, click or press the button next to Enable.

    Enable option for templates in Gmail
  5. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click or press Save Changes.

    Save changes option for settings changes in Gmail

Make a Template for Automatic Email Replies in Gmail

Now that you've enabled templates, set up a template to use as your automatic reply.

  1. Select Compose in Gmail and compose the template you want to use for automatic replies. You can include a signature but don't need to fill in the Subject or to Fields.

    Compose button in Gmail
  2. Click or press the More options icon (the three dots) at the bottom of the email.

    More options icon (three dots) in Gmail
  3. Select Templates from the options menu.

    More options menu in Gmail
  4. Select Save draft as template and then Save as new template in the next two fly-out menus.

    Option to save an email as a new template in Gmail
  5. Give the template a name.

    New template naming screen in Gmail

Set Up Automatic Reply Filter in Gmail

To apply the template you just made, you create a filter in Gmail that specifies the conditions under which you want your template to be sent automatically.

  1. Click the search options arrow in the search box at the top of the Gmail screen.

    Search options arrow in Gmail
  2. Define the criteria for the automatic reply filter in the drop-down screen. It can be a name, subject ,or any of the other fields in the form. Then, select Create filter.

    filter criteria field in Gmail
  3. Place a check mark in front of Send template.

    Filter options in Gmail including Send Template
  4. Click or press the Choose template drop-down menu next to Send Template and select the name you gave to your template for automatic replies. If you've only made one template, there is only one option.

    Selection screen for filter template
  5. Click or press Create Filter.

    Create Filter screen in Gmail
  6. Go to Gmail's Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses where the new filter is stored. Check it to apply it automatically to any incoming email that matches your criteria. Uncheck it when you don't want the filter to be active.

    Filters and Blocked Addresses in Gmail