How to Setup Gmail Auto Reply or Gmail Autoresponder Feature


You can setup Gmail auto reply or gmail autoresponder feature with ease. Google has provided Gmail users with steps to create the Gmail auto reply feature.

how to setup gmail auto reply or gmail autoresponder featureThis is the type of message that automatically responds to incoming mails when you are away.

The importance of this feature cannot be overemphasized as it readily helps at ensuring steady communication is maintained with contacts, clients, customers or subscribers.

But of course, this is not meant to replace the traditional autoresponder like Aweber or Getresponse. It’s for those who just want simple auto reply functions.

The auto reply feature is called the ‘vacation responder’ and turning this on or off is easily explained by Google.

Steps To Setting up Gmail Auto Reply or Gmail Autoresponder Feature

So, here are the steps to set up the vacation responder feature so you can automate Gmail replies to messages when you are away.

Step 1 – Go to Gmail and sign in using your username and password.

sign in to gmail


Step 2 – In the top right corner of the screen find the settings (gears button) and click on it.

gmail settings


Step 3 – Scroll down to the “settings screen displays and find the “Vacation responder” section or options.

activate vacation responder gmail


Step 4 – The vacation responder is already defaulted to “off” but you can now enable or activate it by clicking ‘vacation responder on’ toggle button. Activate or enable the Vacation responder.



Step 5 – You can now fill in the date range, subject, and message. The date you type is the day your vacation starts, the date it will end (this is optional). You can either type the dates or click on the middle to bring up the calendar. Use it to fill in the dates.

gmail date


Step 6 – You should insert the subject you want displayed to the recipients. The subject must be very catchy so as to catch the attention of any reader. Remember, some recipients barely read the subjects of the mails so making it as catchy as possible would help increase the click rate.

set gmail subject


Step 7 – You should then write the message you want all recipients to see. Remember, you are creating a standard message template that would be sent to all recipients. You can predict who receives your email, so your message is not customized to an individual or group.

It is important to leave an alternate contact in your message in case there is a project that needs urgent attention while you are away. Also ensure you alert the backup contact of the need to treat any urgent project or mail.

For instance: After your main message you can add “Please contact ABC at 1234567 or” for more enquires”. Gmail signature template also applies to your auto reply or vacation responder email.

Gmail signature template


Step 8 – You should then select the people or recipients to see your vacation responder. This is simply done by checking the box that states “only send a response to people in my contact”.

By doing this, you now limit the auto reply to people in your contact. This is important so that the auto reply would not be sent to every junk mail you receive or to newsletter subscribers.

gmail autoreply


Step 9 – You can now click the save changes button. Now, you Vacation responder message is set for testing.

You can ask a friend or contact to send you an email once you are out on holiday. If the friend gets an auto reply then your Vacation responder is working.

save changes - gmail

If he/she did not get the reply then you can repeat the steps until your responder email is properly set up.


How to set up Gmail Canned Response for auto reply

Vacation Responder is send to contacts once every four days. This may not be the right option for those who want to set automatic reply for blog visitors.

To deal with this issue, you can set up the Gmail Canned Response. This is also known as Gmail Email template. It is useful for sending automatic replies to messages with similar types of headers, words, phrases, etc.

There is no point writing the same messages over and over when you can just write and save one as template or canned message and forward to same or different recipients.

Here is what you should do:

Step 1 – Go to settings in your Gmail and click on “Labs” tab.

gmail autoresponder feature

settings - labs - gmail



Step 2 – Scroll down to find the Canned Response Option and check the enable button.

Gmail Canned Response

Then scroll down to the bottom of the page and click the “Save changes” button.


Step 3 – Go to “compose Gmail” to create your canned message. You will find a drop down added as ‘canned response’.

compose gmail


Step 4 – Click on “new canned response” and a window will pop-up. You can now enter the new canned response name and click “OK” to save.

gmail new canned response


Step 5 – Next type the message you would like to send to and click on the “Save Now” button.

Now your canned message is ready to use and you need to set it up for automatic reply. This can be done by setting it up in the “filter” section of your gmail.

Step 1 – Log into your Gmail and go to settings.

Log into your Gmail


Step 2 – Click on the “filters” tab. Click on “Create a New Filter”.

Create a New Filter gmail


Step 3 – Select how you want to filter and enter the words or email you wish to filter, in the new pop-up window. You can fill in “From” box with an email address, subject, or some specific words in the email body as a filter. You should do so with other filter boxes like the “to”, “subject”, “has the words”, and “doesn’t have”.

After that you can check the “has attachment” and “don’t include chat” buttons. Also, you can fill and set the document size based to ‘greater than” or “less than” specific MB, KB or Bytes. When you are done, then you can save by clicking the “create filter with this search” This will take you to a pop-up in the next step.


Step 4 – Scroll down and pop-up and check the “send canned response” box. You then choose the title of the canned response you want to use.


Step 5 – Finally, you hit the “create filter” button and you are done.

Whenever an email is sent to you and that matches the criteria you set in the canned message, an automatic reply would be sent to the sender.



These are how to setup auto reply feature in Gmail. See that it’s not that hard?

For those who are going away for some days or weeks, setting up the vacation response would be cool.

For sending auto reply messages to senders who may want to inquire of your services, ask questions, or leave comments, etc., you can set up the Gmail canned response in conjunction with the filters tab.

But of course if you are looking to do serious sending of messages to subscribers, whether as autoresponder messages or broadcast messages, you should consider getting a third party professional autoresponder service.

The best third party professional autoresponder services are Aweber and Getresponse.

No matter which one of these you decide to use, they are both truly first class when it comes to autoresponders out there. And what’s even more important is that they are used by more marketers in the industry than other autoresponders.

While trying to use Gmail is awesome, don’t try to use it to replace a traditional autoresponder service. Even worse, don’t go from Gmail to a free autoresponder service. That’s even worse. Using free autoresponders are a big mistake, especially on the long term.

If you are short on cash right now or want to test out either Aweber or Getresponse, you can. Both of them offer 30 days free trial, which can get you started without paying anything. You only start paying when or if you are satisfied, after 30 days.

To enjoy this 30 days free trial on Getresponse for example, click here and scroll to the bottom of pricing option where you will find:

Not sure which plan is right for you? Get a test drive – we won’t charge you a dime! 1 month free – no strings attached.

Click on the [1 month free – no strings attached] when you get to the above and you will be on your way to enjoying Getresponse autoresponder for 1 month free!

Don’t forget, both Aweber and Getresponse offer 30 days free trial, so if Gmail auto reply feature doesn’t meet your needs, consider getting one of these.


Found This Article Helpful? Please Share It!

how to setup gmail auto reply or gmail autoresponder feature


  1. Hello Vijay,

    I really need to just switch to gmail full time. I have it, but still use yahoo as my main email address. There’s no denying that gmail is just better, with way more features like an auto responder. I always love images to show and demonstrate how to set something up.

    Your article makes it very simple and easy to do.

    Thanks for Sharing

  2. Hi Vijay,

    Thanks for writing this article. I heard about this feature but never knew how to use it.

    I like the fact that you can limit the vacation responder to people in your contact list.

    I always wondered how to keep it from responding to the hundreds of spam mails.

    I could see how the canned responses could be very helpful too and save a lot of time.

    Of course like you said we shouldn’t use these features in replace of a traditional autoresponder. Hopefully people will try out the 30 day free trial!

    Take care Vijay and have a great weekend!


  3. Hi Vijay,

    Setting up gmail auto reply or autoresponder feature is cool. Users must develop interest with these feature. It helps in fostering better communication and ensures that trust is maintained.

    The steps you have described are easy and I am sure every reader should be able to engage effectively with them.

    Personally, I think gmail has taken auto message a new level with the feature.

    The cannned responses function is my best takeaway from this piece!

  4. Hi Vijay,

    This step-by-step guide on how to setup gmail auto reply is practical. I am glad you have shared these steps. One can easily follow through and start using Gmail as autoresponder.

    Both the vacation responder feature and the canned messages feature should be vital to an email marketing campaign.

    Thanks for sharing these details.

  5. Hey Vijay,

    Gmail autoreply is a nice feature. It can help email marketers build list, generate leads and convert traffic. One can easily use it if one is not ready for high end autoresponders like Aweber and GetResponse.

  6. Hi Vijay,

    Great article on Google’s auto responder. One feature I really like about Google is that you can try different plugins that people have developed for Gmail.

    One of my particular favorites is a feature that delays send your email. Have you ever clicked send on a email and then regretted it cause you misspelled something or said something you probably shouldn’t have? Cause I know have.

    With this add on feature once you click send it doesn’t send right away but sends after a specified amount of time you specify. It’s been a lifesaver, just like an auto responder.


  7. Hi Vijay,

    I use gmail exclusively and haven’t ever used this auto reply feature. I knew it existed but never bothered with it because I thought it would be complicated to set up.

    I love how you explained how to set it all up, step by step. This makes it uncomplicated and very easy to set up.

    Thanks for this, I am sure most will find it as useful as I have.

  8. Hi Vijay,

    I am glad to see and read this article. It goes to show that I can have better use of my gmail.

    The auto responder or canned response features gives one the ability to maintain their customer base.

    Setting up gmail auto reply is simplified in this post. You really did a good job with it.

    Thanks for this useful post!

  9. Hi Vijay,

    I also knew a bit about gmail auto reply but didn’t know it can be set up to do more than simply auto reply.

    The screenshots you included here made it very easy to follow, particularly step by step.

    Awesome write-up!

    I have bookmarked this article for when I might need to set this up.

  10. Hey Vijay,

    I have been using the auto reply feature of Gmail for my regular mails. Whenever I am away, I do setup this feature to respond back to mails that are important or needed urgent attention.

    You have just reminded us of how important this feature can be to email communication. It is good to learn of the easy steps again.

    I am sure that email marketers without this knowledge would find it very useful!

  11. This a very nice feature that Gmail has. And something to remember is that you can have as many Gmail account as you need.

    If by example you want to put an add to sell your used “fish tank” on craigslist. You could create a new email account named fishtank@gmail and then instruct people to ask for more information to that email.

    The people that send you an inquiry will receive an automatic response if you use the trick that you learned in this article.

  12. Hi Vijay,

    I have always known about gmail’s auto reply feature but never knew how to set it up. Now I know, thanks to this detailed guide.

    It’s good to know anyone can use this as an autoresponder until they can afford a proper autoresponder.

    I am bookmarking for when I will need this. Thanks a lot.

  13. Hi Vijay,

    Gmail is my choice email tool. I have been using this for a long time now. However, this is my first time of “really” knowing of the existence of the auto reply feature.

    I guess I have not really being using the featues of gmail effectively ;).

    Well, it is good to know about this. Even thought it can’t do all the same tasks as popular autoresponders like Aweber, MailChimp, GetReponse, etc, it should come handy still.