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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Streamline Workflow with Gmail Canned Responses

Gmail Labs has added a new “canned response” feature that allows you to create and save common e-mail responses for faster replies. Once you enable the new features, all you need to do is compose a message with the boilerplate text and then choose “save new canned response” in the canned responses menu.

Now whenever you want to send a quick response — something like, “thanks for the update” — just choose the saved response.

Perhaps the most useful part of canned responses comes from chaining them to a Gmail filter. Gmail allows you to create filters based on keywords, sender, recipients, and more in your incoming messages. Once you have a canned response saved you can set a filter to grab one, create an automated reply, and hit the Send button for you.

One thing to be aware of — the canned response will delete all the reply text so there’s no quoting from the original message (unless you save your canned response with part of the message response, but that would severely limit the canned aspect).

Google Operating System discovered an interesting bit of trivia about canned responses: they’re actually saved as invisible drafts. If you want to see them search for label:drafts, but by default they won’t show up in your drafts view.

It’s another very minor update — like the recent change in Contact List behavior — but if you find yourself repeated answering e-mails with the same boilerplate response, canned responses should make your life a little bit easier.

To enable the new features head to the Gmail Labs section (click the green beaker icon) and scroll down to the Canned Responses section.