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How to set up auto reply in Gmail
Gmail is an underrated tool that we all use daily, and very few of us utilize the email service to its fullest extent. There are plenty of Gmail tips and tricks that users can use to power their inbox, and one of them is setting up an auto-reply in Gmail using the powers of filters. Here’s how you can set up auto-replies with canned responses and use Gmail better.
To create an auto-reply in Gmail, first create a template. Open Gmail on a desktop, click Compose, and draft the text you want to use as a reusable template. Hit the three-dot menu button, select Templates > Save draft as template > Save as new template.
Once you have created a template, create a filter that automatically sends a reply. Open Gmail on a desktop, click on the cogwheel icon on the top right to open settings and click on See all settings. Navigate to Filters and blocked addresses > Create a new filter. Choose your search criterion, and click Create filter. In the next screen, choose Send template, select the template you want to send and click Create filter once again.
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How to create an auto-reply in Gmail by using filters
Not many people know this, but Gmail has a fairly powerful auto-reply feature. The auto-reply feature is a message template sent out when an incoming email matches a filter.
First, you must follow our guide on enabling templates in Gmail and creating your first template. Once you have a template set, you must create a Gmail filter that sets the conditions under which the template is sent automatically.
To set up a filter, follow these steps:
- Open Gmail on a desktop.
- Click on the cogwheel icon on the top right to open settings.
- Click on See all settings to expand to the full settings page.
- Navigate to the Filters and blocked addresses tab, and select Create a new filter.
- Now, you need to define the criteria for the automatic response. The criteria can make use of any of the search filters available.
- Once you have your search filters set, select Create filter.
- In the next screen, select Send template and choose your created template.
- Select Create filter once again, and your filter has finally been created.
Examples of auto-reply in Gmail
Auto-reply in Gmail is best used when you have a pattern of incoming emails and a pattern of responding to them.
Thanking job applicants
In a previous job, I was in charge of hiring for a few different roles. I would ask applicants to email “firstname.lastname@example.org.” and mention “Business Development” or “Content Writing” in the subject. I would create two filters that would use the “to:(email@example.com)” and then “subject:Business Development” or “subject:Content Writing.” The two filters would automatically organize the job applications into their specific Hiring labels for quick-view later.
The filters would also send different template responses depending on the role specified in the email, as the turnaround for the Content Writing role was longer than that for the Business Development role. The auto-reply would thank the person for applying for the position and give different timelines under which they can expect a response. This way, I utilized the infinite alias trick, Gmail’s labels, filters, and auto-reply to set up a handy hiring assistant, all within my email.
Redirecting users to a different email
If you frequently receive emails for a role handled by someone else, you can set up an auto-reply that would direct users to contact the correct person. You can also pair the same filter to forward the email to the right person. This way, both parties are aware of the email without needing any further intervention on your end.
Sending out rate cards and quotations
You can also use templates and auto-reply to send your standardized rate cards and quotations. This automates the first step in your regular business dealings.
Gmail has a dedicated Out-of-Office auto-reply feature in See all settings > General. You can still use templates to send out-of-office replies only to specific incoming emails (as specified through the filter rules) and not as a blanket reply to everyone.
How to create canned responses and use them as auto-replies in Gmail
Gmail used to call templates “canned responses” in the past, but the terminology has changed. However, the feature and the steps to create a canned response remain the same.
No, you will need a desktop browser to set up an auto-reply on Gmail. The same cannot be done through the official Gmail app.