Shrewsbury EdTech

Tech resources for Shrewsbury Public School educators

Sending “canned” emails with GMail

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Do you ever find yourself sending the same email, over and over again?  In the course of my teaching day, I often send the same email out to multiple people — a missing homework alert; a quick response to a parent, letting them know I’ll respond in detail later; or a reminder that something is due…  Sometimes, I’d go to my sent folder, find the emailI had fired off previously, copy it, then paste it and tweak it a bit.

It occurred to me that there had to be a simpler way to do this.

After a bit of searching, I found it.  Sure enough, there’s a feature hidden in GMail which allows you to create “canned responses” – as they call them – and then use them whenever you need to.  Here’s how it works.

First, go to the little settings wheel – the cog / flower pull down button and select “settings.”

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Next, you need to look to the right — there’s a tab called “Labs” where they have some experimental features.  Once you click this, look for one called “Canned Responses” and click “Enable.”

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Once it’s turned on, all you need to do is start a new message.  I will type a canned response without a “to” or “subject” filled in — just to get the text of the message.  When the message is set, look to the bottom right of the screen – there’s a little down arrow next to the trashcan.  Inside that menu, you’ll see “canned responses.”

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Select the canned responses option, and you have several choices.  You can “insert” a previous response you designed, “save” your current email over a previous canned response, “create a new canned response” based on your current email, or “delete” a response you no longer need / use.

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When you choose to create a “New Canned Response,” it will give you this pop-up to name it.  Just give it a name, and it will be available any time you start a new email.

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I use these for several repetitive emails, specifically:

  • alerts for missing work (with a space where I fill in the missed assignments)
  • a “thank you for contacting me” email, letting parents know that their email was received, and I’ll get back to them shortly
  • a generic “Warning: an error was detected in your email to the instructor” response, for whenever a student sends me something without a greeting / closing or with poor grammar / mechanics
  • a request for the student to post their question to me on Schoology, so I only have to answer it once (about assignments, quizzes, etc – class questions that apply to more than one person

Overall, I find this little tool to be a great time saver — give it a shot!

Per usual, if you have an idea you’d like to share, let us know… we love having guest posts.

Derek & Jeremy

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