Sunday, 20 September 2015

Save time in Gmail with canned responses

If you use Gmail frequently to communicate with your students or clients, for example, maybe you repeat the same kind of sentences, ideas or even full texts again and again, almost with the same words. Not any more!

Well, if that is your case, Gmail has a hidden feature that will save you time -canned responses. Canned responses are texts you save in your Gmail account to be used for repetitive situations; for example, when a student writes to you asking for help about a particular assignment.

Step 1: go to settings

Canned responses are not installed by default in your Gmail account, but you can start using this useful feature in just a few easy steps:

Step 1: Click on the settings icon on the top right corner of your Gmail inbox and in the dropdown window choose the "Settings" option. 

Step 2: On the top of the settings page click on the Labs blue tab (third from the right). 
Step 2:; Choose the Labs tab
This will take you to a list of features that are still in beta, but all of them can be used and tested by Gmail users. Most of them work perfectly well, and some are very useful. So maybe you would like to take some time to check them out.

Step 3: Scroll down the page until you find the "Canned Responses" feature. On the right hand side mark the "Enable" radio button.
Step 3: Enable canned responses

Step 4: Scroll down to the bottom of the page and click on the "Save changes" button. The inbox will be reset and the new function is already loaded.

Step 5: In the inbox, click on the red "Compose" button (top left). A New message window will pop up. Write the text you want to use as a canned response. The length of the text is not important, it can have a few words or a few paragraphs.

Step 6: When you finish your text, click on the little arrow on the bottom right of the message window and choose "Canned responses"; then ckick on "New canned response" and write a descriptive name for your new response. If you use a signature for your emails, you should delete the signature before saving your response. Otherwise, it will be repeated when you insert the response in your emails.
Step 6: compose your text and save as new canned response

The new response has been saved to be used in any message in the future without having to type it again. Saved responses can be inserted, saved again after any changes or deleted. 

Step 7: To insert your canned response in a message, move the cursor to the place of the message where you want to insert the response, then click on the little arrow ans select "Canned responses". A new window will appear with three sections: Insert, Save and Delete. In each section you will find the names of all the canned responses you have saved. Click on the name of the response under the "Insert" section. Use the names of the responses under the other sections if you want to save a new version of the response or delete it. You can save as many responses as you like. 

The following video shows how to use this feature:

I hope you find this beta feature useful. Have you used any other useful beta labs? Share your impressions with us by leaving a comment below.

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