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Getting started with canned responses in Gmail

Learn how to save responses to email that can help save time and maintain connections by quickly getting back to your contacts.

Managing your inbox is something that several services across the Web want to help you do. However, when it comes down to it, the secret is just being able to get back to the right people within a certain time frame.

Canned responses in Gmail lets you compose replies to common messages you may receive, and saves them for future use. In just a few clicks, you can insert one of your pre-written replies, allowing you to tackle the messages that you might normally read and forget to answer when you have a free moment. Here's how to use Gmail canned responses:

Gmail menu. Nicole Cozma/CNET

Step 1: Open Gmail in your Web browser of choice, then click the cog in the top right-hand corner and choose Settings.

Enable canned responses. Nicole Cozma/CNET


Step 2: Switch to the Labs tab in the Settings area. Fill in the Enable bubble next to Canned Responses. Click Save changes at the bottom of the page.

Step 3: Click Compose and start writing one of the replies you want to save.

Saving a canned response. Nicole Cozma/CNET


Step 4: When you're finished, click the small arrow in the bottom right-hand corner and choose Canned responses > New canned response. Give the response a name so you can easily identify it.

Step 5: To insert your canned response, click Reply on a message, click the small arrow again, then choose Canned response > [name of the response you want to use].

Canned responses can be used for more than writing an email reply; as Guiding Tech blog points out, you can also use them to change signatures on the fly. This is helpful if you have a work signature that doesn't need to be sent to friends and family, or if you don't want to share all of your attached info with a new contact.