The Gmail Template Trick

This summer, since all my travel plans vanished overnight, I took  5 PD classes through my district (Hello next salary step, you beautiful thing you!) two of which were Google Certified Educator Level 1 and Google Certified Educator Level 2 (and I passed both exams, so yay! )

I was already pretty techy before the courses, but HOLY MOLY! The Brilliant Google Minds really knocked my socks off…I learned so many  useful, time saving tricks that I *wished* I knew about before the Distance Learning Experiment of last spring. Like how to set up Form Notifications to get an email when students turn in late work, for example! But this Gmail Template Trick is among the coolest…it may be one of Google’s best kept secrets!

Last spring I got a zillion emails, and most of them required one of a few (identical) responses.  Either- “Yes, I would love for you to complete your late work for full credit!” or “Try clearing your cache and changing your password” or “Your password is _______” or “You’ll be turning in your Chromebooks on ____” Or… You get the idea, I’m sure you too got a zillion of the same email and typed up a zillion identical responses.   It was exhausting. Answering emails became my life. You feel me, right?!

Then this summer I learned you can create template emails and with a few quick clicks, drop a generic message into your email, personalize it and send. Bam! So quick! 

Gmail’s best kept secret must be closely guarded because it takes a bit of digging to set it up…but once you get there, it will be so worth it! I promise! And don’t worry…I’m here for you, every step of the way.

First you’ve got to Enable Templates in Gmail.

Open your email and click on your settings wheel:

Template 1

Then you’ve got to dig a bit:

Template 2

And keep digging:

Template 3Then scroll to find “Templates” and  switch “Templates” to “Enable”, then  click “Save Changes” at the bottom:

Template 4

Now, draft up a generic email, the one you’ve typed and sent at least a million times. Once it looks just how you like it,  click on the three little dots in the bottom right corner (1). Click “Templates(2)” then “Safe Draft as Template(3)” then “Save as New Template(4)”.

Template 5

A little box will pop up and you’ll name this template, so you can easily pop it into your emails later. And you’re done! And you will thank me for this, trust me.

Now, let’s say that you get an email from a kiddo, asking how to complete their dang Late Work…all you have to do is click those three little buttons(1), select “Template(2)” and click on the Template you just created, in my case “Late Work Screenshot”(3)!

Template 6

Your generic email will appear magically, you can personalize it if you’d like, then click “send”.

Update: I’ve been back to school 3 weeks, and the templates are saving me! I’ve got a template ready for when a student has trouble logging into Textivate. I’ve got another one thanking them for submitting their late work and letting them know their grade is updated. There’s one for instructions to submit their attendance on digital days and another reminding them how to send me an email:

You guys, Google Email Templates are the best! I can’t rave enough!


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