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Creating a Draft or Template response from a received email

This blog is inspired by a suggestion mentioned as a feature request on Twitter, where I often visit to answer questions related to Gmail and Google Accounts. 

The suggestion was about including an option to make drafts from received email with attachments, without going through the rigmarole of downloading and uploading attachments and also to create a Template response out of it.

Given what Gmail presently has. it is possible to make both those things happen. Ideally, the second option should be a "No", because one of the known deficiencies of the Template responses is that it won't take in the attachment file, which is central to this blog. However, a workaround exists, which we shall use.

To begin, here is the test email that we propose to convert into a draft and later into a Template response. It has some text content and a PDF file as an attachment.

The first thing we do is to save the attachment in Google Drive by hovering the mouse pointer over the attachment and clicking on the "Add to Drive" icon.

That done, click on the Forward option. It can be found either below the received email or by clicking on the 3-dot (overflow) menu at the right of the Reply icon.

Once done, in the compose window for the Forwarding email, click on the "Type of Reply" down arrow and then click on "Edit subject".

Amend the Subject of the draft, add/remove the necessary details and then finally click on the "x" icon at the top-right of the window to save and close the draft. You can confirm the draft is created and saved by clicking on the Drafts label in the Gmail left panel.

Now we discuss the second part of the question where we convert a draft into a Template response. To proceed, click to open the Draft, and then follow the steps in the screenshot below to save it as a Template.

The Template is now created, but because of the previously referenced issue, when you proceed to insert it, it will get inserted without the attachment. To correct this, we click on the Gmail Compose button and insert our newly created Template response.

This is where our very first activity of saving the attachment file to Google Drive comes handy. 

We now click on the "Insert files using Drive" icon at the base of the Compose window, as shown in the screenshot below.

Then, we select the attachment file and click on the blue Insert button.

This should insert the attachment file as is seen in the screenshot below. Thereafter it is the simple matter of overwriting the Template response.