Learn tips and tricks to save time, increase your productivity, and manage your email efficiently. Start with the tips that are right for you, based on how much email you get each day.
Use stars to easily mark certain messages as important or indicate that you need to reply to them later. Try Superstars in Settings for more star options.
Choose how many messages are on your screen at a time by selecting from three different display densities: Comfortable, Cozy and Compact. Click on the gear icon and then choose a density.
It's not the same to read "lol" as to hear your friend laugh at your joke. Have a face-to-face conversation (or audio-only if you don't have a webcam) using Gmail voice and video chat.
Labels do the work of folders, plus you can add more than one to a single message. Give important emails brightly colored labels, and you'll be able to scan your inbox and quickly find the good stuff.
You can use the "Move to" button at the top of your inbox to easily move a message out of your inbox and add a label at the same time -- just as if you were moving it to a folder. If you have lots of labels, you can pick the one you want by typing the first couple characters and let auto-complete find the right one.
Instead of sorting by date or sender, you can enter keywords in the Gmail search box to find the exact message you're looking for. It works just like Google search: if you're looking for a message that contains the word "shopping," simply type shopping in the search box and press the search button.
Gmail gives you tons of free storage space so you can save everything you want. While messages in your trash get deleted after 30 days, archived messages are kept forever. Archiving messages moves them out of your inbox and into "All Mail" for safekeeping, so you can search for them later. It's like moving old email to a giant storage room that you never have to organize.
If you're new to Gmail, you can import your mail and contacts from other email providers, including Yahoo!, Hotmail, AOL, and many more from the "Accounts and Import" tab under Gmail Settings. You can even choose to have your messages forwarded from your other account for 30 days, giving you time to take Gmail for a test drive.
Choose from over 30 options to personalize your inbox. Go to the Themes tab under Settings and pick from nature themes, themes that change with the weather, and many more.
Sign off every message with a customized signature. You can add additional contact information, or even an image. You can add a signature in Settings.
Gmail users play an important role in blocking spam -- when you report an email as spam, our system quickly learns to start blocking similar messages. The more spam the community marks, the smarter our system becomes. If you see a spam message, click "Report Spam" to do your part.
Add new items to your tasks list by clicking "Gmail" and then "Tasks" on the top left of your screen, or you can convert emails into tasks by clicking the More menu and selecting "Add to Tasks." You can also access your task list from your mobile phone at www.gmail.com/tasks.
Before you respond to an email, check out the widget to the right of the email to see if the other person is online. If they're available, you can save time by clicking on the chat icon below their name and get them in real-time rather than over email.
Set up filters to automatically label, archive, delete, star, or forward certain types of incoming messages. You can create a filter based on any message -- just choose "Filter messages like this" from the "More" drop-down menu to get started.
Set up filters so that emails from certain senders (or on certain topics) automatically appear with colored labels. That way, you can scan new mail just by looking at the colors.
Install the Gmail app for iPhone or Android, or use Gmail for mobile to read and send emails on the go. Just type m.google.com/mail into your phone's browser to get started.
Stay on top of your email even when you’re not looking at your Gmail with Desktop Notifications. You’ll get alerted when you’ve received a new email or chat.
You can easily preview an attached document instead of downloading and opening it in a separate program. Just click the "View" link to open a preview in a new window.
Oops, hit "Send" too soon? Give yourself a grace period of a few seconds to cancel sending, then edit your message before sending again.
Write your own status message in the Chat box let people know what you're up to. Your status message can be anything you want - something funny, a link to a photo or web page, or a note to say you're away from the computer.
Going away from your mail for a while? Use Gmail's vacation responder to set up a custom response that will be automatically sent to anyone who emails you while you're away.
If you're tired of not being able to find the right words to express yourself, emoticons can help. Gmail has tons of images (smiley faces, food icons, broken hearts, and more) that you can use in your messages and chats. To add an emoticon, just click the smiley face "Insert Emoticon" button on the toolbar and select the image you want.
Using the draft functionality is a great way to keep notes that you need to keep handy and refer to often. Just compose a new message, type or paste the note, and save it as a draft.
Using keyboard shortcuts will help you shave milliseconds off every action, which can add up to a lot of saved minutes each week. Enable keyboard shortcuts in Settings and use "j" and "k" to navigate up and down within your inbox, "o" to open messages, "r" to reply, "c" to compose, "s" to add or remove a star, "e" to archive, and more. Hit "?" at any time to see the reference guide with a full list of keyboard shortcuts.
Gmail Offline beta is a Gmail Chrome app built to support offline access, allowing mail to be read, responded to, searched and archived without network access. After first start-up, Gmail Offline will automatically synchronize messages and queued actions anytime Chrome is running and an Internet connection is available. More than just an offline app, the streamlined user interface, based off Gmail’s popular tablet interface, provides extremely fast response time with a pure, email focused experience.
You can call phones right from Gmail. Calls to the United States and Canada are $0.01/minute, and international calling rates have been reduced for over 150 destinations. Domestic calls within the United States and Canada are free for the rest of 2011. To make calls, click "Call phone" at the top of your chat roster or click on a phone number in any email you receive.
The real power of Gmail search lies in the ease of customizing your search to find the exact email that you are looking for. To customize your search, click the arrow in the search box. You can also create a filter right from the same place by selecting "Create filter with this search." Click the image to see a larger version
You actually get more address variations than just "email@example.com," all of which get delivered to you. You can put a plus ("+") sign and any combination of words or numbers after your name, like changing firstname.lastname@example.org to email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Then you can easily add a filter to label and/or archive messages sent to the variations.
"Personal level indicators" put arrows next to messages in your inbox so you can tell if an email was addressed to you directly. A single arrow (›) is for emails sent to both you and others and double arrows (») indicate emails sent just to you. Switch the "Personal level indicators" option to "Show indicators" under Settings to see them.
If you want to send a few files from the same folder, simply hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on Macs) and click on each file you want to attach to your message, or hold down the Shift key to select a continuous group of files. You'll see progress bars on each attachment as it uploads.
If you ever want to send a quick note where the subject is the entire message (like "Want to grab lunch at 12:30?"), but are annoyed when Gmail prompts you to add body text, just type "EOM" or "(EOM)" at the end of the subject line (short for End Of Message), and Gmail will politely send the message without the extra prompt.
If you find yourself typing the same reply multiple times, try turning on Canned Responses in Labs. Compose your reply once, save it, and easily use the same message later. If you want to be fully automated, you can even set up filters that automatically reply to specific messages with different canned responses.
If you regularly check several email accounts, you can use Gmail as the hub for all of them. Select "Add POP3 email account" on the "Accounts and Import" tab under Settings to start receiving mail from other accounts. To send mail from other accounts, click "Send mail as" and set-up custom-from addresses for each account you want to send mail from. Keep in mind that the email accounts you'd like to fetch from must support POP access and, in the case of Gmail addresses, have POP access enabled.
Your picture is shown whenever someone hovers over your name in their inbox or Contacts. To add or change your picture, click Settings, then look for the "My Picture" section. You can upload a picture, select one from Picasa Web Albums, or enter a URL of a picture of you that's already online.
You can create sub-labels by adding a “/” or selecting "Nest label under". For example, for a “Family” label, you can create a sub-label “Family/Parents”.
Try out all of the new inbox styles to see what fits you best. You can always switch back if you change your mind. Priority Inbox, for example, automatically identifies your important email and separates it out from everything else, so you can focus on what really matters. You can change your inbox type in the "Inbox" tab under Gmail Settings.
Looking for that note your mom sent last week? Instead of sifting through your pile of daily deal newsletters, filter your mail by your Google+ circles and see emails from the people who matter most. You'll need to upgrade to Google+ to filter by Google+ circles.
Whenever you get an email from someone in your circles, you can see the things they’ve recently shared with you on Google+, recent emails from them and more. If they’re not in your circles yet, it’s easy to add them straight from Gmail.
How often do you try to chat with somebody and they don't respond because they just walked away from their computer? You can keep the conversations going with a Labs feature that lets you send SMS text messages right from Gmail. Enable it in Labs under Settings, and then type a phone number in the chat box search window. We'll even save your friends' numbers in your Contacts, so you can just type names into the chat box and select Send SMS.
If you sign into Gmail from multiple computers, but are worried you may have forgotten to sign out of one, you can sign out remotely. At the bottom of your inbox, you'll see information about the time and location of the last activity on your account. Click "Details" to see whether your account is still open in another location and "Sign out all other sessions" to close other open sessions.
Enabling superstars in Settings gives you 11 more ways to star your messages. You can use the "has" operator to search for emails with different types of stars, like "has:yellow-star", "has:blue-star", or "has:red-bang". In Settings, just hover your mouse over each superstar icon to find the star names.
You can run your organization on Google Apps, a suite of online tools which includes business email, calendar, online docs, and more. Communicate and collaborate more efficiently with Gmail customized for your company.
To select multiple messages, just select the first message in the series, hold down the shift key and then select the last message. You can apply any action, like archiving or adding a label, to this whole set of messages.
Instead of automatically opening other email clients when you click mailto links, you can set Gmail to be the default in your browser. If you use Chrome, follow these instructions. If you use Firefox 3, just go to Tools, click Options, select the Applications tab, search for "mailto" and select "Use Gmail" from the list of actions. If you use Internet Explorer, you'll need to download and install Google Toolbar. In Toolbar, just click the wrench icon, go to the Search tab and select the "Use Gmail for 'Mail To' links" checkbox.
You can add some basic formatting as you type in chat. To make text bold, surround the text with asterisks (*word*). Use underscores to add italics (_word_) and hyphens to add strikethrough (-word-).