Five Gmail Tips You Won’t Want to Forget

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As we all have learned, Gmail is great.  It’s easy, provides tons of storage, and most of all, it’s free.  Aside from the basics we have come to know so well, Gmail offers some other features that may be helpful.   Here are five Gmail tips to make life a little bit better and a little bit more efficient.

1.  Use Gmail Labs

Gmail labs allow you to add some additional functionality to your current Gmail account.  You can add the ability to undo a sent message, move the Gchat box to the right side of the screen, and a ton of other cool features.  Here are the simple steps to enable Gmail Labs features.

  1. Sign into your Gmail account.
  2. In the top right click “Settings”
  3. Click the “Labs” tab
  4. Click “Enable” on any feature you want
  5. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page

There are fifty-nine labs right now, so it can be difficult to pick out the great ones.  Given the variety, here are three of my favorites.

  • Undo Send – If you’ve ever realized you made a mistake after you sent your email, this is the feature for you.  For a couple of seconds after you hit send Gmail allows you to stop messages from being sent.
  • Forgotten Attachment Detector – Gmail will prompt you to attach a file if you mentioned adding an attachment in the email, but didn’t do so.
  • Google Calendar Gadget – This one is simple.  It shows your upcoming events in the left column.  It even allows you to quickly add an event to your calendar from within Gmail.

2.  Take Advantage of Gmail Shortcuts

You can speed up your daily Gmail routines by turning on Gmail keyboard shortcuts.  Follow these steps to turn on the shortcuts.

  1. Sign into your Gmail account
  2. In the top right click “Settings”
  3. Click the “General” tab
  4. Under “Keyboard shortcuts” click “Keyboard shortcuts on”
  5. Click “Save Changes” at the bottom of the page

Once you have it enabled, you are set.  Here are some popular keyboard shortcuts.  For more, visit the Gmail keyboard shortcuts (http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&ctx=mail&answer=6594) page.

  • c – Start a new message
  • o – Open the selected conversation
  • k – Move to a newer conversation
  • j – Move to an older conversation
  • e – Archive
  • r – Reply
  • a – Reply All
  • g then i – go to inbox

It may not seem like a time saver at first, but stick with them and I promise you’ll end up wondering how you ever lived without them.

3.  Send and Receive Other Email Addresses through Gmail

If you’re like me you’ve got more than one email address.  You’ve got an email address for work, an email address for school, and a personal email address.  You don’t want to spend all day logging in and out of different email addresses.  Gmail allows you to set it up so your other email accounts show up in the From: field of your emails.  For example, I can send an email from my work email address, jonathan@wiredimpact.com, using Gmail and my work address shows up in the From: line.  Here are the steps you need to take to add another account:

  1. Sign into your Gmail account.
  2. In the top right click “Settings”
  3. Click the “Accounts and Import” tab
  4. Under “Send mail as:” click “Send mail from another address”
  5. Enter your name and the email address you wish to send from
  6. Choose “Send through Gmail” if you don’t mind people occasionally knowing you are sending your email through Gmail.  Use “Send through *** SMTP servers” if people must always think you are not using Gmail
  7. For the Gmail setup, they will send you a verification email with a link to click
  8. Once you verify, you can now change the From: field when you create a new email.

4.  Make Clicking Links Open Gmail and Not Another Email Application

You visit a web page only to find the email address of someone you would like to write.  Instead of copying and pasting it, wouldn’t it be nice to just click it and have Gmail open right up.  Well, here’s how.

If you use Firefox (I tested it on 3.5.6):

  1. Clicks “Tools” >>  “Options” at the top of Firefox
  2. Click on “Applications” at the top of the options menu
  3. Scroll down to “mailto” and under Action choose “Use Gmail”
  4. Click “OK”

If you don’t use Firefox you can download Gmail Notifier to do the trick for all other browsers:

  1. Go to http://toolbar.google.com/gmail-helper/notifier_windows.html and click on “Download Gmail Notifier for Windows”.  There is a Mac version as well.
  2. Follow the instructions to install and make sure to leave “Use for outgoing mail” checked
  3. Once you put in your Google username and password you’re finished.  Now every time you click someone’s email address it will open up your Gmail to send the message

5.  Use Gmail Filters to Automatically Move Your Messages

I get a ton of emails from Facebook.  So many that I prefer they don’t show in my inbox.  I added a Gmail filter and now every email from Facebook is automatically taken out of my inbox and placed in the Facebook label.  Filters like this can be used to move, delete, or adjust any type of message.  Here’s how.

  1. Sign into your Gmail account
  2. In the top next to “Search the Web” click “Create a filter”
  3. Add all your search criteria including: from, to, subject, has the words, doesn’t have, and click “Next Step” (You can even click “Test Search” to see which emails fit into your criteria).  For my Facebook filter I put From = Facebook.
  4. Choose your action including: skip the inbox, mark as read, star it, apply the label, forward it to, delete it, and never send it to spam.  For my Facebook filter I chose skip the inbox and apply the label.
  5. Click “Create Filter” and you’re done.  You can also click “show current filters” in the bottom left to edit or delete your current filters.

Resources

If you’re craving some more Gmail knowledge, check out the following links.

I hope the tips were helpful.  Please post other tips, comments, and questions below.