A Date with Google Mail: Gmail Tips and Tricks

In 2012 Google announced that they’ve crossed the 425 million user account mark. By May 2014, there’s no doubt that this number would be easily above the 500 million mark. It goes without saying that a major portion of these accounts use Gmail quite regularly.

Let’s cut to the chase here. I’m here to tell you that using Gmail and using Gmail effectively are two completely different things. I work in an office with 15 employees and we use Gmail as our official email client. I can safely say that except for my boss and I, everyone else uses just the standard features that come with a Gmail account. That’s just 13%, in an internet marketing company!

After extensive research, which can safely be interpreted as “accidental stumbling upon new features while learning how to change an email signature”, I’ve come across quite a few Gmail gems.

Gmail Labs

Once you log into Gmail, look for the gear icon on the right, just below your profile picture. Click the icon and then hit Settings in the drop down menu. Look for the “Labs” tab on the settings screen and voila. It’s like opening up Scrooge McDuck’s vault.

Scrooge McDuck's Vault

So many options, so little time…

Google Labs, the quietly hidden chamber of secrets.

  1. Mark as Read Button: This is one of the most useful options that I’ve come across so far. It allows you to mark a bunch of selected emails as “Read”, in bulk. Once you select the mails that you want to mark opened by clicking the check box beside each mail, an option appears on the top Gmail navigation bar that says “Mark as Read”. Genius!
  2. Google Calendar Gadget: This is a very useful app when you use Google Calendar to keep track of meetings and appointments. You can see your entire schedule right there in your inbox. However, you can have either the calendar app or the chat app active an any given instance which is a bit of a downside. Which brings us to the next app in our list
  3. Right-side Chat: This app comes in handy when you want to use the calendar app along with the chat app. The app simply moves the app to the right of the email pane.
  4. Preview Pane: The preview pane works just like the reading pane in outlook. You have a list of all your emails on the left. Selecting any email displays its contents in a right side reading pane making it convenient to browse through multiple emails easily without having to switch back and forth from the Inbox view.
  5. Undo Send: This app is, by far, the most important app you would ever come across. UNDO SEND, like the name suggests, allows you to pull back any sent email within moments of sending it. These “moments” could be between 5-7 seconds after hitting the send key which comes in handy when you’ve accidentally hit the send button, or realised a mistake you’ve made just after hitting send which in reality happens waaaay too often.
  6. Unread Message Icon: If you don’t already have desktop notifications for Gmail activated, this app displays the number of unread emails over the favicon of the Gmail tab. Just glance at this tab while performing other work to check if you’ve received any new email. No need to keep switching tabs anymore.

If you’ve come across any other notable Gmail features, I’d love to hear about it and add to my list. You can mail it in via our contact form.