Gmail was created by Google in 2004 and since then, 500 million people have used this email service. What makes Gmail so popular? First of all, it’s free and convenient. You can use it from any device.
Gmail also has a lot of functionality. You may not be aware of that if you’re a casual user, but for those power users who use it for their business and personal lives, Gmail has a ton of features that can make life easier.
Most users are aware of Gmail’s advanced search features, archive, labels, spam filters and 1 GB of free storage. Plus, the clean, easy-to-use interface makes emailing a breeze for even novice users. But there are dozens of other features that are not well-known. Read on to find out which secrets and settings you should use for your Gmail account so people will recognize you as a Gmail pro and take you seriously.
Customize the inbox display.
This is helpful if you have a ton of email and things are starting to get a bit squished inside the inbox. Just go to Settings and adjust the density to cozy, comfortable or compact.
Customize what elements you want to show or hide.
One thing about the Gmail interface is that if you don’t use most of the elements – like Chat, Categories or Circles – then your screen can start to look a little crowded. The good news is that you can choose what you want to show or hide. Go to Settings, then Labels. Just go down the list and choose “show” or “hide” for each element. You can even choose to hide folders such as Starred or Important, if you don’t use them.
Make Gmail your one-stop email receptacle.
Chances are, Gmail isn’t your only email provider. You may have several addresses that you use, all from different providers. Trying to keep on top of them and check for mail regularly can be a huge hassle. You no longer have to do this. Gmail allows you to adjust the settings so that all your email comes into your Gmail account. Gmail will then sort it for you. That sounds awesome, right? To get started, go to Settings and then Accounts. Select Send Mail As, then Check mail from other accounts. You’ll then need to follow the on-screen instruction to set up your Gmail account so it can send and receive messages for your other accounts. You can add multiple accounts, but you have to go through the process again for each address you want to add.
Get rid of inbox tabs.
Gmail uses various folders to filter incoming email. But maybe you don’t need all these tabs. Maybe you’re content with all your email coming into one primary folder – and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can get rid of all these unnecessary tabs by going to Settings, then Inbox. Just deselect the folders you don’t want.
Filters are a great way to organize your inbox. You can organize incoming messages however you want so they come in as read. You can also combine filters with Stars and Labels to eliminate email clutter for good. Just go to Settings, then Filters and start organizing.
Email documents to yourself.
This may sound old school, but it’s a good way to keep an important document readily accessible while you’re using Gmail. Gmail’s advanced search tools allow you to archive documents and easily find them. There are cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox that also work, but they can start to get clunky after a while.
Mute the conversation.
Sometimes you get stuck in those group emails that aren’t really relevant to you. Every time you receive one of these emails, it slows you down. You can set it up so that any emails associated with a thread are automatically archived. They skip the inbox so you don’t have to deal with the clutter. To do this, go to the More menu and click Mute. You’ll no longer have to keep stopping and starting to deal with irrelevant emails, so you can focus on your work.
Customize your own shortcuts.
If you really want to impress someone, show them how you can do everything with just one press of a button. You can do this by creating custom shortcuts. To do this, go to Settings, then Labs. Enable Custom Keyboard Shortcuts and a new Settings tab will appear that will allow you to specify certain keys to an action to make life easier.
Add a Quick Link.
Have a link in an email that you access often? You can get instant access to it whenever you need it by creating a Quick Link. Just go to Settings, then Labs, enable Quick Links and a widget will appear in your inbox.
Use Canned Responses.
With what can be known as email for the lazy, Canned Responses allows you to send the same message over and over without actually having to type anything. Go to Settings, then Labs and enable Canned Responses. Create the message you want to save as a template. When you click Compose, you can easily send this message in just one click.
Color code your emails.
Do you have so many starred emails that it’s hard to keep track? You can easily prioritize your starred messages with Gmail Stars. Go to Settings, then General. Scroll down and you’ll see the Stars section. Here, you can view your options for stars and symbols to add to help your starred messages stand out from each other.
Beef up the security.
Unfortunately, advances in technology have made hacking more common. Protect your Gmail account by enabling two-step verification. This means that you’ll need your username, password and cell phone in order to log into Gmail. This can seem like a pain, but if someone does end up obtaining access to your username and password, they won’t be able to access your account because they won’t have your phone.
Not technologically savvy? That’s OK. With the tips above, you can make Gmail one of your favorite tools. You’ll no longer dread managing email. In fact, you might even learn to embrace it.