Email takes up far too much time and even if spam is automatically dealt with, writing replies to messages still occupies too much of our day. This Gmail feature could save you hours.
If you use Gmail for work or even just have a website or blog, you will be overwhelmed with email enquires about this and that. A lot of them are not that important and they are a drain on your time.
Many of the emails you write each day will be unique and personalised, but you might also find yourself writing the same reply to the same enquiry over and over again. Writing the same email response is a waste of time.
You might also send out emails yourself, looking for jobs, customers, products and services. If the emails are the same or very similar, you are again wasting your time.
The solution is a Gmail Labs tool called Canned Responses.
This add-on for Google’s email service basically enables you to store text. Multiple items can be saved and they are remembered between sessions. It is a bit like having a library of text clippings.
What makes Canned Responses so useful is that you can write an email once and then store the text. The next time you need that exact text, such as a standard response to an email enquiry, you can simply select it on a menu and it is inserted into the message.
It makes writing emails and responding to them a simply matter of choosing the text you need from a menu. A couple of clicks and the email is dealt with and you can swiftly move on to the next.
Even if a canned response is not exactly right, it is easier to insert it and edit it than to write it from scratch. Insert the text, make a few adjustments, and send.
Over the course of a month or even just a week, you can save hours of your time. Hours that could be used for something more productive.
Here’s how to create and use Canned Responses in Gmail.
1 The Gmail menu
Go to Gmail in a browser – Chrome is best of course, but any will do. Click the gear icon in the top right corner and then select Settings on the menu that is displayed.
2 Go to Gmail Labs
In the links bar at the top, click Labs to go to the Gmail Labs experiments. Find Canned Responses in the list and select Enable. Click the Save button at the top to save the change.
3 Write an email
Back in your inbox, click COMPOSE to create a new email. Type in some text you frequently use, such as a standard response to an enquiry, or a standard email you often send out.
When it is finished and is exactly what you want, click the arrow button in the bottom right corner of the window.
Let the mouse hover over Canned Responses on the menu and in the new menu that flies out to the side, click New canned response.
4 Save the text
A window pops up asking you to enter the name for this canned response. Keep it short because it has to fit on a menu, but also make it descriptive.
The email can be deleted because it is not needed.
5 Select a canned response
The next time you need to write a new email or reply to one, position the cursor where you want the text, such as at the start of the message. Click the arrow, select Canned responses and a menu appears. There isn’t much contrast and some items are pale gray, but hopefully you can make them out.
Insert: Your canned responses are listed at the top. Click the title to insert the text you saved.
Save: Save the current email as a canned response. You can create as many canned responses as you want.
Delete: Click a canned response to delete it if you no longer need it.
6 Edit and send
The text you saved as the canned response is inserted and all you need to do is to edit it if necessary and send it. You might want to enter a name “Hi James, ” or some other greeting at the start.
That is one canned response. Repeat the procedure to create more canned responses. They will save you time and effort when it comes to responding to emails.