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.”



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.”


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.”


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.


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.


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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