This post was originally posted here: https://automate.io/blog/gmail-tips-and-tricks/
If email comprises a large part of your professional correspondence, chances are, you’re all too familiar with Gmail and use it on a regular basis. As an email app that syncs with all of Google, Gmail has evolved from a simple email provider to a fully customizable email solution that can be tweaked and molded to fit your unique needs.
Your Gmail inbox is armed with a number of tools and filters that will make your email use even more efficient and productive. For this piece, we tried every Gmail trick in the book and sifted through a ton of hacks to bring you the best ones. In this article, we’ll present to you 20+ Gmail tips and tricks that will make using Gmail even better for you.
To make the deal sweeter, we’ve divided them into categories, so you can jump right to one that interests you the most!
Gmail Productivity Tips
1. Snooze Emails in Gmail
You’re busy at work and you get an email that you know you must respond to, but maybe not at the moment. You push it at the back of your mind, thinking you’ll get back to it later, only to forget about it. Sounds all too familiar? Gmail’s snooze feature ensures that none of your emails slip through the cracks, no matter how busy you are. This feature helps you “snooze” important-but-not-urgent emails, so that when you’re ready to answer them, Gmail sends you a quick reminder.
How to use this: Right-click on a message you want to snooze. Pick a date and time when you’d like to tackle it, and Gmail will send you a notification.
2. Set Up Priority Inbox in Gmail
This setting allows you to keep important messages right at the top of your inbox. Once you enable this setting, by default, you’ll find your email segregated into three categories: important and unread, starred, and everything else.
Under this Priority Inbox category, you can further assign or modify what goes into each of the Inbox sections and how many items you wish to view in each of this category. You can also choose the option ‘Hide section when empty’ if you don’t have any emails based on the rule you assigned to that section.
This feature is super handy if you get a ton of email and quickly want to get caught up with the most important conversations.
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Under the ‘Inbox’ tab, you’ll find ‘Inbox type’ option. Select ‘Priority Inbox’. Other than Priority Inbox, under ‘Inbox Type’, you can also choose to view your emails in the following manner: ‘Important first’, ‘Unread first’, or ‘Starred first’.
3. Enable Smart Compose for Predictive Text Suggestions
You’ve probably heard of artificial intelligence, and there’s no better example of it than Google’s Smart Compose. Once turned on, this feature suggests words and phrases as you type an email, saving you a lot of time and work. What’s more, the feature provides suggestions that are based on your unique way of writing an email, so you don’t end up sounding like a robot. Trust Google to pay attention to the details!
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Under ‘General Settings’, you’ll see ‘Smart Compose’. Click on ‘Writing suggestions on’ to enable the feature.
Imagine you’re drafting an email amidst your super-busy schedule and Google automatically suggests what needs to be written further. Isn’t it a huge time saver?
Here’s a simple illustration showing how Google’s Smart Compose works while drafting an email:
4. Create Google Calendar Events from Gmail Messages
Gmail allows you to create Google calendar events, right within an email. This could be used to create reminders for meetings, get-togethers, and other important events, both for yourself and the person you’re sending the email to. Similarly, when you get emails about events such as flights and concerts, they are automatically added to your Google calendar.
How to use this: Open the email you want to create an event for on your computer and then, click on the three vertical dots below the search bar. This will open a drop-down menu. Select ‘Create event’ from the drop-down menu and create the desired event.
Pro Tip: Automatically Create Google Calendar Events from Emails
Too lazy or lack of time to even go to the email and create an event from the email? We have got your back with one super-easy tool — Automate.io.
It a simple way you can get this automated based on rules while you create a workflow between Gmail and Google Calendar. For example, you can set up a Gmail + Google Calendar Integration in Automate.io where for every new email in Gmail with a certain label, an event in Google Calendar is created automatically. All of this without you opening any one of these apps.
5. Add your Emails to Google Tasks
Wanna be your most productive self? With this Gmail trick, you can add your email to a virtual to-do list. Let’s say you receive an email about an upcoming project. Simply add the email to Tasks, so that when you’re ready to work on it, you get a notification and you have all the details you need in front of you.
How to use this: Select the emails you want to create a task for and click on the three vertical dots below the search bar. Click on the ‘Add to Tasks’ option and set the date & time when you’d like to work on it.
Pro Tip: Automatically add tasks in Asana and Todoist from Gmail, Create Trello Cards from Gmail.
It looks great when you can create Google Tasks from your Gmail! But what if you’re using other project management and collaboration tools to assign tasks and track work with other co-workers.
You’ll be amazed to see how you can not only add tasks from Gmail to Google Tasks but also to other apps like Slack, Asana, Trello, Todoist, etc. Automate.io lets you create simple one-one to multi-app workflows with 100+ app integrations.
You can set up an automated workflow to trigger whenever you have a task related emails in Gmail. This will then automatically create a card in Trello, a Task in Asana, Send a Notification in Slack, or add a Task in Todoist.
6. Organize your emails using ‘Labels’
An email inbox is only as effective as you organize it to be, and Gmail’s Labels help you do that.
For each message you receive, you can add a label, so they become easier to find when you need them. For instance, important messages from your office can be labeled as “work”. Then, when you need to access them, simply type, “label: work” in the search bar, and they’ll pop up.
How to use this: Select the emails you want to label and then click on the ‘Labels’ option to add one. To create a new label, click on ‘Settings’. Then, under the ‘Labels’ tab, scroll down to the last section, and click on ‘Create new label’.
Gmail Automation Tips
7. Auto-Forward your Gmail Messages
This feature allows you forward all of your incoming emails to a specific email account, or even forward only specific types of emails, to another account. This can be helpful if you don’t want to check multiple email accounts.
Also, forwarding emails manually every time can be quite a task. You can trigger a specific email to an account whenever you receive an email in Gmail based on a set of rules you assign.
For example, you can send all your payment related emails labeled as ‘Payments’ to your accounts team without any manual effort. All you have to do is set this up once for all and the workflow will run in the background.
How to use this: Go to ‘Settings’. Under the ‘Forwarding and POP/IMAP’ tab, you’ll find the forwarding option. Add the email address you want messages to get forwarded to. If you wish to forward only specific emails, choose the option to create a filter. You can filter based on the ‘From Address’, ‘To Address’, ‘Subject’, ‘Any attachments’, etc.
8. Schedule an email in Gmail
Well, we all know how important Timing, Personalization and landing in Gmail Primary Tab are while sending emails.
You can send timely emails to your user’s inbox by simply scheduling it from within Gmail.
While Gmail itself doesn’t have this feature, there are add-ons that can help you achieve this.
Armed with these Gmail Add Ons, you can compose emails and have them sent later at a time and, chosen by you. Don’t just compose emails and let them sit in drafts. Pick a date and time, and Gmail will deliver your mail just when you want it.
How to use this: Let’s say you’re using Boomerang for Gmail. After downloading the add-on on your computer, you’ll see a Boomerang icon in your Gmail inbox. Whenever you compose a new message, you’ll see a ‘Send Later’ button on your screen. Click on that option to pick a date and time for your message.
9. Set Up Canned Responses to Create Gmail Templates
Gmail’s “Canned Responses” feature allows users to create and save multiple email templates in their inbox. Why write same email replies over and over again, when you can simply save and choose from a template?
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’ Under ‘Advanced settings’, you will see ‘Canned Responses’. Click on ‘Enable’ to use the feature. Then, when you compose a message, click on the three vertical dots next to the ‘Delete’ button, select ‘Canned responses’ and add your desired response.
10. Export Email Addresses from Gmail
Gmail creates a backup of all the contacts you frequently interact with. These contacts can be exported with the help of Gmail to Outlook, Yahoo, and other providers. All your contacts are always available for access to Google Contacts.
Use this: Go to your Google Contacts. Next, click on the ‘More’ option and select the contacts you want to export. Then, click on the ‘Export’ option. You can export your frequent contacts as ‘Google CSV’ file, ‘Outlook CSV’ file or as a ‘vCard’.
Powerful and Hidden Features of Gmail
11. Accessing Gmail without internet
Gmail allows you to compose emails, even without an internet connection. You may often be stuck at places where you do not have an internet connection, such as a parking lot, lift, or lobby. Still, Gmail allows you to go through your emails and even compose new ones. The composed emails are eventually sent when you are back with internet connectivity.
12. Recall Sent Email in Gmail using ‘Undo Send’ Feature
This feature allows you to have a sent message stopped within a grace period of time assigned by you. We’ve all sent a message accidentally and wish we could retrieve it in time, so the recipient doesn’t see it. Well, now you can do just that with the help of this powerful feature. Simply assign a grace time period to undo sent messages in the settings. After you click on the send button, you will have a popup at the bottom to undo it for a specific period decided by you.
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Under ‘General settings’, you will find ‘Undo Send’. Select the grace time you wish to have to undo sent emails.
13. Check Emails from Non-Gmail Accounts using Gmailify
This involves getting all of your mail delivered to Gmail, even if it’s in other providers such as Yahoo or Hotmail. If you have trouble with keeping tabs of all your emails, then “Gmailify” is just the feature for you. Sync all your emails with Gmail, and say goodbye to juggling multiple email accounts.
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Under the ‘Accounts and Import settings’ tab, you will see the ‘Check mail from other accounts’ option. Click on ‘Add a mail account’ and add details of another email provider.
14. Deleting large attachments
When you find yourself out of space and want to free up some, a quick way to do is deleting large attachments. Simply search for emails with large files and hit delete.
How to use this: Type “size: 5m” into the search bar for files larger than 5 megabytes and “size: 10m” for files larger than 10 megabytes, and so on, and delete them.
Lesser-known Gmail Tips & Tricks
15. Enable Confidential Mode in Gmail
Gmail allows you to compose emails which can be automatically deleted at a later date. Think of these as private emails that you can send.
Let’s say you want to send emails which you do not want the receiver to save, copy, download, or forward. For such emails, you can add the option to auto delete after a particular time set by you. They cannot be downloaded, copied, or forwarded.
How to use this: After composing an email, click on the clock-like icon at the bottom right corner. You’ll see the option to set an expiration for your message.
16. Effectively use Advanced Search Operators and Filters in Gmail
Gmail has an impressive search box with a host of options available for your search queries. It allows you to narrow down your search through filters available in the search bar. For example, if you want to search for emails sent to a specific email address, you can type “to:”, and if you want to search for messages sent from a specific address you can type “from:”, and so on. These are the most commonly searched emails on Gmail.
Other than searching for emails sent to and received from specific recipients, you can also search your Gmail messages, based on the following: labels, email subject, the body of messages, attachments, chat, size, and date.
How to use this: Type your query in the search bar at the top of your Gmail screen. For creating filters and narrowing down your search, click on the arrow pointing downwards in the search bar.
Given the sophisticated search box that Gmail offers, you can also search for more than one element at a time to conduct a complex search.
You can also combine the elements in the advanced search for a more complex search scenario. For example, you could search for all emails sent by a specific user, in the past two weeks, that include an attachment.
17. Personal Level Indicators
This setting shows you if a particular message was sent only to you or if it was sent to a group of people or to a mailing list.
Enabling this feature helps you know with the help of arrows whether you are the only receiver of the email, with the help of arrows. These arrows appear right next to the message in the inbox list. If there is a single arrow (>) next to the message, then the message was sent to you as well as a group of other people. If there are two arrows (>>), then the message was addressed only to you. If there are no arrows, then the message was sent to a mailing list.
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Then under ‘General settings’, you will see ‘Personal level indicators’. Change it from ‘No indicators’ to ‘Show indicators’.
Personalization of your Gmail Account
18. Add a Personalized Signature in Gmail
You can add your own mark of brilliance at the end of every email you send. This could be your job title, links to your social media profiles, websites, and a contact email and number. This makes your emails look more professional and helps recipients see what you do at a glance.
How to use this: Click on ‘Settings’. Scroll down to the ‘Signature’ option under ‘General settings’ and you’ll find a text box to enter your info.
19. Translate messages
Gmail allows you to translate messages into different languages too. Whether you’re only familiar with a specific language, or simply wish to view a message in another language, this feature can help you get a message in any language you desire.
Use this: Click on the three vertical dots, next to the ‘Reply’ option and select ‘Translate Message’. Gmail will then ask you for the language you wish to translate the message from & to.
20. Customize Inbox View Using Display Density
Want to have a clean and personalized look to your Gmail? This Gmail tip comes really handy when you have too many files on your emails and it looks really cluttered in the preview pane.
Gmail gives you an option to select the Display Density of your app. You can choose it to be either default, comfortable or a compact view.
How to use this: You can select ‘Display Density’ by clicking on ‘Settings’ from the Gmail app. You will then see options for ‘Default’, ‘Comfortable’, and ‘Compact’.
If you choose ‘Default’ it puts the newly added attachment previews into your Gmail Inbox view, while ‘Comfortable’ and ‘Compact’ hide these previews.
21. Unsubscribing from newsletters
You don’t need to go all the way down to find an unsubscribe link, as Gmail now has ‘unsubscribe’ button right next to the email address of the sender. Click on the ‘Unsubscribe’ button and never receive emails from that particular address. You might want to use this tip the next time you’re cleaning up your inbox and find yourself inundated with promotions, newsletters, and other unsolicited emails.
That’s how you can save your time and be productive using these simple tips and tricks for Gmail. Go ahead applying these tips and see the wonders for yourself :)