How to send emails from Google Docs documents

Did you know that you can send emails from within a Google Docs documents via your Gmail account without leaving Google Docs? Keep emails within the document it refers to. It has several uses.

You might wonder why anyone would want to use Google Docs to send emails and not Gmail. Surely a dedicated email app is better than a document editor? Yes, Gmail is much better in many ways for sending emails to people and you will probably use it most of the time. However, for certain scenarios you might find it useful to create an email in a Google Docs document.

One possible use for this feature is to keep a record of an email within an important document or report. Gmail saves sent emails of course, but it is not the same as having an email actually in a document. Can you find an email in Gmail you sent regarding a document from six months ago? It is easier if you can see it in the document and see who you emailed and what you said. Everything is together.

Another use is to create and store email templates. Although it is possible to create templates in Gmail, you may find a Google Docs document may be more convenient. You could have a whole set of marketing templates or responses to queries in a Google Docs file and then just browse and send any one you want. You would just need to edit the name/email in the To box.

This is an interesting feature Google Docs and one that you should try. You never know, you might like it. Let me know what you use it for. Now let’s take a look and see how it works. I will be using Google Docs in a browser and it works the same on a PC, Mac, Linux and Chromebook. Use whatever device you like to follow this guide.

1. Use a building block

Google Docs Insert menu showing Building Blocks.
Insert an email building block in Google Docs

Open a new or existing Google Docs document and move the cursor to the place you want to create the email. Show the Docs menu bar at the top if it is hidden by clicking the show/hide button at the right hand side. Go to the Insert menu and select Building blocks followed by Email draft.

2. Complete the email form

An email building block in a Google Docs document.
An email form inserted into a document

An email form is inserted into the document and there are fields for To, Cc, Bcc, Subject and body.

The recipient in the Google Docs email form.
Select a recipient in the Google Docs email form.

Type an @ in the To box and start typing a name. Contacts are displayed and if you see the one you want, click it.

Fill in the email form in Google Docs.
Fill in the form fields in the email

Cc and Bcc can be left empty if you do not need them. You must add a subject though. Click in the Subject box and enter something.

3. Write your email

An email created in Google Docs.
Use text, images and links in the Google Docs email form

Click in the email body and enter your message. As you would expect, it can contain text, images and links. Just enter them as you would in a Google Docs document. The screenshot shows a simple example and I’m sure you can be a lot more creative than this.

4. Preview and send the email

The email preview window in Google Docs.
Preview and send the email from within Google Docs

You may have noticed the big M in the margin next to the email form. Click it and the email opens in a small separate window on top of the document. It is the same as the Compose window in Gmail.

All of the usual editing features are included and the email can be customised if you need to. If you are happy with it, click the Send button a day send it immediately or click the down arrow and schedule it to send later.

Is this a feature you will use?

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