[Libs-Or] Tech-Talk: Creating Email Templates or “Canned Responses”

Darci Hanning darci.hanning at state.or.us
Thu Nov 14 13:24:45 PST 2019

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 This Week's Topic: EMAIL / GMAIL
1. VIDEO ... Creating Email Templates or "Canned Responses"
2. ARTICLE ... Creating Email Templates or "Canned Responses"
3. COMMUNICATING ... Are you apologizing too much?

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EMAIL - Creating Email Templates or “Canned Responses”


Every week, when we've posted Tech-Talk into our subscribers' Constant Contact account, (so they can forward it out to you), I send an email out to everyone telling them it's in their account.

Each week the note says the same thing. "This week's Tech-Talk is in your account now."

I figured there must be a better way as it is such a waste of time -- re-creating the same email over and over again.

Then I remembered that we have an article in Tech-Talk about using templates in Outlook -- for this very purpose. (Read this article for the steps in Outlook<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0016ktpwpcmmGIIxs1ZOe-beuHnndgasrhErlweu3FdOTJ-07ivt5u1-vgX10nLf32iYKisX9GzxmJRcMtktYSLgslMKKEyzYkvufbg2fNeZuor-tPkdvFx6AcQypgYccdAKS5hiPURjca_jI2Jk9pMgNCLfetk8NTjuat98IILH0KQuvtkLMlDBQ==&c=ZeT-rV7-uGYHs4fzU2sEay6qFZkU_0eoqXgxwdVe2_-bs0A2Xvirjw==&ch=Uw9v33-OVRpr4pF5L3ed0fKv2YpfNSTwssOs3QR_rp7Xe0uoucnu7g==>.) So I was hoping there would be a similar feature when using Gmail (or Gmail for Google Apps). Well... there is!

If you send email with the same (or similar) type of content, creating a "canned response" that is ready to use will save you time! You may need to send:

·     A meeting reminder to your colleagues. Example: You're in charge of the bi-weekly marketing meeting and making sure everyone is notified and has the agenda ahead of time.

·     A confirmation email that the inquiry/suggestion/feedback was received. Example: You receive website form submissions and need to respond to them in a timely matter.

·     Confirmation of a registration for an upcoming program. Example: For your upcoming guest author event, you receive online registration forms and want to send an email with more attendance details.

If you have a template set up and ready to use, even if you have slight modifications to personalize it, think of how more productive this process would be!

And here's what I like to call the "golden nugget" -- you can automate these email responses with templates.

For example, now when we announce a Tech-Talk webinar and people sign up to attend, a copy of their submission form is sent to our email ...so that we can see how many people registered.

We would like to send a friendly note out to them saying, "Great, you're registered. We're looking forward to seeing you." This can happen automatically when we set it up with a template. (You can do this in Outlook or Gmail!)

Create a Gmail Template

(Again, if you use Outlook, see the instructions here<http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=0016ktpwpcmmGIIxs1ZOe-beuHnndgasrhErlweu3FdOTJ-07ivt5u1-vgX10nLf32iYKisX9GzxmJRcMtktYSLgslMKKEyzYkvufbg2fNeZuor-tPkdvFx6AcQypgYccdAKS5hiPURjca_jI2Jk9pMgNCLfetk8NTjuat98IILH0KQuvtkLMlDBQ==&c=ZeT-rV7-uGYHs4fzU2sEay6qFZkU_0eoqXgxwdVe2_-bs0A2Xvirjw==&ch=Uw9v33-OVRpr4pF5L3ed0fKv2YpfNSTwssOs3QR_rp7Xe0uoucnu7g==>)

There are a few steps to getting this set up:

1.  Activate the Gmail Templates option
2.  Create and save your templates
3.  Use the template in an email
4.  Optional: Set up a Filter to send template emails automatically

Activate the Gmail Templates

·     Go to Settings in the upper right of the screen (the gear icon) and select Settings from the drop-down window.

·     Click on the Advanced tab, and under Templates make sure it is set to Enable. NOTE: This was previously called "Canned Responses."


Create Your Templates

Essentially you are going to be creating a new email and, instead of sending it, you'll save it as a Template.

·     Click Compose to open a new email.

·     Type the contents of the email message for your template. Make sure to include any formatting like bold, italics, bullets, etc…

·     NOTE: If you have a signature block in your email template, it will be included when you use the template -- and it will create duplicate signatures (one in the template and one from the new email). So it saves time to NOT include your signature block in the template (unless it is different than your default signature).

·     Click the three dots icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the email window, hover over Templates, then Save draft as template, then Save as new template.

[create template]

[name the template]

·     You'll then be prompted to Name and Save the Template.

·     Close the email without sending.

TIP: Gmail will think you've created an email and it will appear in your Draft folder. You can delete it from Drafts without it deleting your template.

Use the Template in an Email

·     Click Compose to open a new email.

·     Go back and click the three dots icon on the bottom right-hand corner of the email window and again, hover over Templates. You'll see in the Insert Template box a list of the templates you've created.

·     Select the template you want, make any modifications (remove a duplicate signature if there) and Send.

[send template]

CAUTION: Again, if you have an email signature in the template you created, it will populate when you use it. You may end up with 2 signatures so just be sure to review your email and edit before sending.

Automate Templates with Auto-Replies

Here's the cool part! You can take templates a step further by creating a Filter so that email that you receive with a specific subject line (or other filter options) … will trigger one of your templates to be sent automatically!

CAUTION: Be careful when selecting keywords and criteria for your Filter. If it's too broad, you may end up sending auto-replies that might not be applicable.

·     First, create a Template using the steps above.

·     Then, go to Settings, and on the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab, click Create a new filter.

·     In the window choose which filter you want to apply. You can opt to include certain “From” email addresses, a certain subject line, or emails that contain particular words.

·     Then click Create filter.

[create filter]

In the next window, you're going to tell Gmail which Template to send based on those parameters.

·     Check the Send template option.

·     From the drop-down list, select your template.

·     To activate the process, click Create filter.


Now when emails are received with your filtered options (like a particular subject line), the template will be sent automatically!


Communications: Talking
Are you apologizing too much?

Apologizing ... when to do it?

Have you ever had someone tell you, "I'm sorry," when it was really not necessary?

When this happens, they seem to keep doing it.

Sure there are times when it is appropriate to apologize. But I find that people (especially women) tend to say they are sorry ... for no real reason!

For instance, I'm walking out of Walmart at the same time someone is trying to come in that door. That's OK. One or the other of us will go first. No need for someone to say, "I'm sorry." Sorry for what? Wanting to come into the store?

Here's another example that happened recently.

I am in the process of buying a new computer and have been most fortunate to get a very conscientious sales rep ... a woman. She has gone above and beyond, in my mind, to make sure that I am kept in the communications loop, handles the questions I ask her to find out, and proactively reaches out to make sure everything that I need has been satisfied.

So why in the world, did she keep apologizing ... "I'm sorry I didn't call earlier." "I'm sorry that the approving took so long." "I'm sorry I couldn't get back to you sooner."

OK, what she referred to were real things, but it was all in the course of business. I hadn't expected her to call earlier. I thought the approval time was within an acceptable time frame. I was delighted she reached me when she did.

Don't give your power away by apologizing as a matter of course. Be positive and move forward with your words. People will appreciate it.


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Darci Hanning, MLIS
Public Library Consultant / CE Coordinator
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