Make Your Email More Efficient With Gmail Templates

Type less, send faster

Email templates let you type less and send faster. Ultimately, they can make you more efficient when composing messages. Gmail templates contain canned responses you can quickly insert into any email to fill out all the details you'd otherwise spend time writing with each new message. Here's how to use them.

How to Enable Canned Responses in Gmail

Before you can start using templates, you need to enable them in Gmail, which you can do via the Canned Response feature.

You can jump straight to Step 4 by going directly to your Gmail Advanced (Labs) page.

  1. Click the Settings gear in your Gmail's toolbar, just below your image.

  2. Select Settings from the menu.

    Settings menu item in gear icon in Gmail
  3. Go to the Advanced tab. (This used to be called Labs.)

    Advanced tab in Gmail Settings
  4. Make sure Enable is selected next to Canned Responses.

    Enable button in Advanced tab for Gmail Canned Responses (Templates)
  5. Press the Save Changes button.

    Save Changes button in Gmail Advanced Settings tab

How to Save a Message as a Gmail Template

While Gmail provides some pre-made templates, you can create and customize your own as well. Here's how to save an email for future use as a template in Gmail:

  1. Compose your template message in Gmail. Leave the signature in place if you want it to appear in the template. You can leave both the Subject: and To: fields empty since they are not saved.

  2. Select More options (the three dots next to the Discard draft button in the bottom-right of the email).

  3. From that new menu, choose Canned responses, then New canned response.

    New canned response in Gmail
  4. Give your new template a name. It's also used as the subject of the message (though you can always change the subject once you've inserted the template).

    New Template name entry field, filled with
  5. Select OK to save the Gmail template.

How to Create a New Message or Reply Using a Gmail Template

Once you've create your template, here's how to use it as a canned response or reply in Gmail:

  1. Start a new message or reply, then select More options.

  2. Choose Canned responses from that menu.

  3. Select the desired template under the Insert area to immediately import that template into the message.

Don't forget to fill out the To: and Subject: fields!

Insert New Template button in Gmail

Gmail won't overwrite any existing text unless you highlight it before inserting the template. For example, you could type something manually and then insert a template message to include it after your custom text.

You can also have Gmail send the canned replies for you. See How to Auto Reply in Gmail for more information.

How to Edit a Message Template in Gmail

You might need to change your Gmail template at some point. If you want to make some tweaks:

  1. Press Compose to start a new email message, then go to More options > Canned Responses.

  2. Choose the template you want to change from the Insert section and import it into your email message.

  3. Make the desired changes to the template.

  4. Go back to the More options > Canned responses section, select the template you altered, and select Save.

    Save new template in Gmail
  5. Select OK when you see the Confirm overwrite canned response prompt that reads, "This will overwrite your saved canned response. Are you sure you want to proceed?"

    Confirm overwrite canned response dialog, with OK button highlighted