If there’s one tool you can use to speed up email creation, it’s a template. When you compose the same email message over and over, you can set up a reusable Gmail template to save time. Then, just swap out small details, like names and dates, as needed. There are two ways to create and use templates in Gmail: one is available to everyone, and the other is available to Google Workspace users. Let’s take a look at how to work with both.
Tip: speed up your email routines by enabling and using Gmail keyboard shortcuts.
How to Create a Gmail Template for Repetitive Messages
You may set up a template for thank you messages or weekly updates. You can also create a template to use as an automated response for customers, clients, or coworkers.
Enable Templates in Gmail
Before you can create a template, you must enable the feature in your Gmail settings. Head to the Gmail site, sign in, and follow these steps.
- Select the “Settings” icon (gear) on the top right and choose “See all settings.”
- Go to the “Advanced” tab, and mark the “Enable” option next to “Templates.”
- Click “Save Changes” at the bottom, then return to your inbox to set up a template.
Tip: check out how to automate Gmail replies with a template, along with other similar suggestions, in our automations to increase your daily productivity guide.
Create a Template in Gmail
To create a Gmail template, type the message you want to use, then save the template to reuse it later.
- Select “Compose” on the top left to open a new email window. You may have to open the menu using the “Show main menu” icon (three lines) on the top left.
- Enter the subject, message, and, optionally, recipients, while keeping these things in mind:
- If you automatically add an email signature to outgoing messages, you may want to remove it from the template. Otherwise, the signature will be duplicated.
- If you insert recipients, these are automatically added when you use the template, although you can edit them.
- When you’re ready to save the template, click the “More Options” icon (three dots) at the bottom.
- Move your cursor to “Templates -> Save draft as template,” then choose “Save as new template.”
- Give your new template a name, and click “Save.”
Send the email you’ve composed, or simply close the compose window.
How to Create a Gmail Template for Marketing Messages
If you use Gmail to market your business, take advantage of a built-in feature called Layouts for your template. The layouts include a call to action, simple text, announcement, newsletter, new service, and referral marketing style.
You can customize the layouts with a default style, insert a layout, and make your edits before you save it as a template.
Note: as of this writing, you must subscribe to one of these Google Workspace plans to use Layouts: Workspace Individual; Business Standard or Plus; Enterprise Starter, Standard, or Plus; or Education Standard or Plus.
Tip: you can save even more time by partially automating your Gmail inbox with Google scripts.
Preview the Layouts
When you’re ready to use one of the layouts, open a new email window using the “Compose” button on the top left.
- Click the “Select a layout” icon (grid) at the bottom of the Compose window.
- Select a layout option to see a preview of it on the right. To change the styling, skip to the next section. Otherwise, click “Insert.”
Adjust the Default Styling
If you plan to use different layouts, you may want to adjust the default styles. This includes adding a logo, changing the color scheme, using a footer, and including links, all pertaining to your business.
- Open the layout options as described above, then click “Default styling” to adjust the following items.
- Logos, colors, and fonts: upload a logo, choose a color palette, or pick a new font style.
- Footer details: add your business name, contact information, or disclaimer in the footer of each layout.
- Links: choose and insert links to use in the layouts. Add an email address, web address, or links to your social media sites.
- Click “Save changes.”
Edit the Message
After you insert a layout and before you save it as a template, you’ll likely want to make changes, as the layouts include placeholder text that you’ll want to edit. You can also make changes to the layout elements, whether you changed the default styling or not.
- With the layout in the email compose window, select an element to see the available actions. For the header and other pictures, change the image, edit the alt text, add a link, or remove the header.
- For buttons, you can preview or change the link, or remove the button altogether.
- For text boxes, select the placeholder text, and replace it with your own. Alternatively, remove the section.
- You may also want to add the subject line so that the message is ready to go, awaiting your recipients or mailing list.
When you’re happy with the final message, you can save it as a template and reuse it anytime, as well as make slight adjustments before you send it.
Save the Layout as a Template
Save this layout template just like the basic template. Follow steps 3 through 5 from those instructions, then send the email, or just close the email compose window.
Note: before you go on vacation, be sure to set up Gmail’s out-of-office autoresponder.
Use a Gmail Template
After you save a template, whether it’s a basic template or marketing message, you can insert it into a new email in just a few clicks.
- Select “Compose” on the top left to open a new email window.
- Click the “More Options” icon at the bottom.
- Move your cursor to “Templates,” and select the template name below “Insert Template.”
- With your template in the email window, add or edit recipients, and make any changes you would like to the subject line or message.
Edit a Gmail Template
You can make changes to a template you’ve saved, then simply resave the template.
- Open the template in a new email message as described above.
- Make your changes, and click the “More Options” icon. Move to “Templates -> Save draft as template,” and choose the template name below “Overwrite Template.”
- Confirm this action by clicking “Save.”
Delete a Gmail Template
Follow these steps to delete a Gmail template you no longer need:
- Open a new message, but instead of inserting the template, open the “Compose” window.
- Move your cursor to “Templates -> Delete template,” and choose the template name below “Delete Template.”
- Confirm this action by clicking “Delete” in the pop-up window.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why don't I have a template option in Gmail?
To display the template option, turn on the “Template” setting in Gmail, as shown earlier. If you have a supported Google Workspace account and don’t see the Layouts option, please contact your Workspace administrator.
Can I use templates in the Gmail mobile app?
As of this writing, templates are only available on the Gmail website, not the mobile app. A possible alternative is to create and insert a template into an email on the Gmail site, then save it as a draft. (Address and close the message without sending it.) Open the “Drafts” folder in the Gmail mobile app, and edit or send the email from there.
Can I create and use templates in Microsoft Outlook too?
If you use Outlook in addition to Gmail, you can use templates with that application as well. It allows you to save time, no matter which application you use.
Check out our full tutorial on using templates in Microsoft Outlook.
Image credit: Pixabay. All screenshots by Sandy Writtenhouse.
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