We use Google Groups to handle emails to our writers' critique group, and group members respond to authors with their critiques. Authors send an email to the googlegroup address, and it goes out to everyone. We don't want members to respond to the entire group. All emails are coming from the googlegroup members, and Google Groups sets the "reply-to" email header to be the group, and sets the "from" header to the sender. If the member uses Google Groups to reply, they can either use the default "reply" (which sends to the entire group) or click "Reply to author" which will use the "from" header and send only to the author.

Can Gmail do this? I've tried both the web client and the Android Gmail app and can't find any way to tell Gmail to reply to the author ("from" address). It always wants to reply to the entire group ("reply-to" address). That makes sense as the default, but there should be some way to do what Google Groups offers. Consequently, a Gmail user has to manually wipe out the group email and type in the author's name.

I spent years in Corporate life teaching people not to "Reply all" but with a "reply-to" header the way Google Groups sets it, this is going to be a "training opportunity."

(BTW when I initially inherited this group, Google Groups was only sending the group email, and not the author's email at all. I found you have to go to Group Settings > Posting Policies > Default Sender and change it to "Author's Address". Now at least we get both headers, but it doesn't let me change the "reply-to" behavior.)


1 Answer 1


Google Groups supports the functionality you have described:

Google Groups Help > Create & respond to messages > Respond via email

  1. Click the message in your email inbox. You can select any email in the conversation thread to reply to.
  2. To respond only to the person who posted, select Reply. To respond to the whole group, select Reply all.

The thing that isn't mentioned in the support document above is that you must enable this option in your group's settings.

In your group's Email Options set the "Post replies to" option to "Sender chooses recipient"

Google Groups settings > Email Options > Post replies to >  Sender chooses recipient

  • 1
    Thanks for spending so much time investigating this! My whole critique group is grateful that this is working now!
    – mojoken
    Commented Mar 30 at 3:22
  • 1
    You deserve a lot of credit. You were responsive to questions and invested a lot of effort.
    – Blindspots
    Commented Mar 30 at 3:39

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