17 Gmail hacks that you need to try now
You probably don’t change your Gmail settings any more, do you? It’s time to change that.
Gmail’s settings give you access to a plethora of time-saving and productivity-enhancing features. By mastering these settings—and making use of them regularly, you can considerably increase your productivity.
Below are some features of Gmail that will help you manage your inbox and increase your productivity. You may be surprised how much time you'll save once you learn about the treasure trove of time-saving and productivity-enhancing features at your fingertips in Gmail.
Tips and tricks
- Help Google improve the accuracy of your email sorting
Gmail learns your habits as you go. To help it out, take a few minutes to review the emails that Gmail has identified as important by hitting the yellow arrow next to it. This tells Gmail to keep adding similar emails to the Primary tab with a yellow arrow next to them. If Gmail has got it wrong, click this yellow arrow again to mark the email as not important (or vice versa).
Gmail has tabs for social media accounts, less important updates and so on. The tabs are on the left side of the page. Click and drag emails to put them in different tabs—Gmail then asks if you want to sort all future emails like this in the same way.
Don’t neglect your spam folder either. Take a few moments, when you can, to dive into the spam folder and fish out genuine emails as well as flagging junk messages in your main inbox that Gmail hasn’t caught automatically.
- Clear out old and unnecessary mails
Gmail’s search tool makes it easy to delete old messages, even if the messages are of sentimental value. As stated above, you can use a simple keyword search: before:01/01/2019 is: unimportant. Remember to keep your writing in the past tense so that your reader knows for certain that it is not happening at the present time.
For many users, it is necessary to clean up their inbox after a certain period of time. For example, if you want to clean up your inbox, you can search for all emails older than a specific date and then delete them by going to the web version of Gmail and clicking on “Select all”. Once you do that, click on “Select all conversations” and delete emails that are older than 4 months (or whatever time frame you prefer).
- Customize Message Templates
To avoid having to craft your responses from scratch each time, you can use Gmail’s templates feature. The business-friendly option is to create a template that you can use again and again with just a few clicks. For example, if you often have to decline an invitation that requires more than a couple of lines of text, you could save yourself time by creating a template for this occasion.
To streamline the process, use email-templates that can handle the response process.
- To enable templates in Gmail on the web, click the cog icon in the upper right corner, then choose Settings.
- In General settings, select Templates in Advanced settings.
- Once you are composing an email, click down in the bottom right corner and choose Template.
- From this submenu your can create a new template or choose a template from your saved templates.
- Put Bookmarks to use
One of the easiest ways to navigate your inbox more quickly is to bookmark certain sections within Gmail. Bookmarking helps you jump between screens more easily.
You can use this method in any modern browser, and whether you keep your bookmarks on the browser toolbar or open various Gmail tabs, they will allow you to access various parts of your inbox faster.
Among the different pages that can be bookmarked are your starred messages, sent messages, and important messages in the inbox. You can also bookmark any Gmail search term. By using this method, you will find it easy to navigate your inbox.
- Know mouse and keyboard shortcuts
Keyboard shortcuts can make a big difference to how quickly you are able to power through your Gmail inbox. Instead of hunting through menus and toolbars for the options you need, simply make a few taps or clicks based on your muscle memory.
You'll find them under the "General" tab in Settings > Keyboards shortcuts.
A few of our favorites include J and K for moving forwards and backwards through messages in the inbox, E for archiving the currently selected (or open) conversation, R for Reply, and A for Reply All.
Google added new options to the right-click menu when you're selecting mail: You can reply to mail, move it to your labels, find more mail from the same sender and mute threads.
- Unsend Emails
We all make mistakes—typos, misclicks, misunderstandings—but Gmail's "Undo Send" feature ensures they don’t get sent to the wrong recipient. You can avoid embarrassing yourself by setting up the "undo send" feature.
- Go to your Gmail inbox via a web browser. In Gmail, you can set a delay before emails are sent by enabling the Undo Send feature.
- Go to your Inbox via a web browser.
- From the gear icon in the top right, choose “Settings” and select "Labs." Check the box next to "Undo Send," and enter the number of seconds you would like before an email is sent (5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds).
- Hit "Save Changes" at the bottom of the page.
- Schedule your emails
You shouldn't send emails to people at odd hours of the night—especially if you're writing to someone in a different time zone. It's considerate to schedule an email so that it's delivered at a more appropriate hour and doesn't get buried by other messages.
Thankfully, Gmail makes scheduling a breeze; all you have to do is compose your message, then click on the dropdown arrow adjacent to the Send button and select the date and time you want it sent.
P.S.: You can schedule up to 100 email messages.
- Snooze your emails
With so many emails coming in, it can be hard to stay on top of things. However, Gmail offers a way to deal with this problem through snoozing.
With a conversation open on screen on the web, click the Snooze button (the clock icon), then choose when you want the thread to reappear. The emails in the conversation disappear from your inbox until the specified time and date.
This feature is arguably even more useful in the Gmail apps for Android and iOS.
You can find the Snooze option behind the menu button (three dots) whether you’re in a conversation or looking at the overview of your inbox (long press on an email in the list to select it).
- Get the app on your phone
Download the Gmail app from the Google Play Store for Android devices or the App Store for iPhones and iPads to enhance your phone’s email experience.
Configuring Gmail within a mobile device's built-in email client is not recommended, as it is possible to access many of the app's unique features and hacks.
- Use Gmail even when offline
Bad WIFI? Want to send email on the go? Well, these won’t be an issue if you use ‘Gmail Offline.’ Because Gmail lets youtube access, read, reply, and more all while without an internet connection.
But hey, you can use Gmail offline only in a Chrome Browser so make sure you have it installed on your computer.
How to do it:
- Go to Settings.
- Go to All Settings.
- Enable the offline mail checkbox.
- Click on Save Changes.
- Create Reminders
Use the Create Event function to schedule follow-up appointments on any emails you receive. This eliminates the need to open Gmail and allows you to add an event directly from your inbox, linking directly to the original email and autofilling the event name using the subject of the email.
One useful application is to create a reminder for yourself to reply at a later time, in order not to forget.
Click on the More button menu and select Create Event
- Advanced Search
You can use Gmail's search bar to sort your incoming and outgoing email. In addition to the “from,” “to,” and “subject” fields, you can filter by date ranges and search words contained in or not contained in an email.
With this tool, you can delegate a large portion of email management to rules created with templates. This will enable you to focus on more important tasks.
- Confidentiality Mode
This feature is to restrict what recipients can do with your email. Now this feature is perfect when you are sending sensitive information.
Anyone who receives confidential email cannot print, copy, forward or download it. For additional security, you can add password protection for opening it and an expiration date as well.
How can you do it? By clicking the confidential made icon that you can see in the bottom right side of the window.
From here, you can set an expiration date and passcode for the email. Don’t forget to click Save when you’re done.
- Replace attachments with Google Drive links
The more you use your Gmail account, the closer you will come to exhausting its storage space. Many people who send large files use Gmail as well and can easily fill up your free storage space.
To avoid this, save attachments to Google Drive and attach the link on future emails instead of the actual file itself. This will allow others to view or read the file without taking up one of their own precious megabytes.
- Automated Replies
The "Out of Office" feature allows you to configure automatic responses while you are unavailable. You don't have to use this feature only while you are on vacation.
You can use it when you are moving or when you are visiting relatives with a no-devices policy and want to buy yourself some time. You can even choose the time span for which it will be active and set up the time when it should stop and you will be back online.
Here’s how you can enable Gmail Autoreply.
- Email Signatures
You can always use email signatures to display a piece of professionalism and authentication in the emails.
Aside from involving common phrases for saying goodbye and/or contact details, you can use the signature features for common message situations (e.g., confirming a doctor’s appointment, sending directions to your home).
- Translate messages
The internet makes communication across geographical and language barriers a snap. If you receive an email in a language you do not understand, try pasting a section of the message into Google’s translate app.
Or you can have Gmail automatically translate the message for you, by clicking on the More icon on the right, selecting Translate message and choosing your preferred language.
Gmail allows you to save time and increase your productivity by giving you the ability to manage multiple email accounts from one location, and archive older messages so that they are no longer cluttering your inbox.
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