Of the millions of people who access Gmail every day, many will not realise just how intelligently it has been designed. But if you take advantage of these Gmail hacks you will be able to zip through your inbox with lightning speed and achieve as much as possible while your levels of motivation are high on a Monday morning.
Tagging important emails with the clearly visible star system used by Gmail may be something you are already doing. But there are many more star types available if you explore the General tab within the settings menu. You can select some or all of the different star varieties to help make it a little easier to prioritise your email conversations as they develop.
What you use the stars for is up to you and there are other symbols available; you can flag selected messages with an exclamation mark, question mark or even a tick when a matter has been dealt with.
Filters and Categories
Filtering emails is easy. In many cases Gmail will do this automatically and assign emails to particular tabs in your inbox depending on the source of the message and its content. You can add further tabs and categories to make sure that your primary inbox is not cluttered by promos or other messages which are not immediately relevant. You can also use the drop-down menu within the search bar to target particular message types more specifically.
If you are feeling particularly adventurous, you can use Gmail’s filter settings to quickly collate messages from different contacts. This is possible because full stops and plus signs are effectively ignored by the service, ensuring that messages sent to email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org will arrive in the same place, thus expanding the filtering possibilities immensely.
Labelling lets you assign specific definitions and colours to messages coming in from particular accounts and contacts. This means that you can make messages from different areas of your social and work life easy to identify in a snap without even having to look at the subject line.
For example, you might want to label emails from business associates in a different colour from those sent by friends and family. Then, with just a glance, you will get an overview of the state of your inbox and also make archived messages simpler to unearth.
Labelled emails can be automatically acted upon using third party apps such as Zapier. This lets you define specific actions which will be triggered in specific circumstances. Gmail is just one of the compatible services, meaning entire chains of events can be set in motion if you wish.
Labels could be used in combination with Zapier and project management app Trello, for example, to enable the automated creation of contact cards whenever an email is received. This can be useful during recruitment drives when manually dealing with an overloaded inbox becomes difficult.
Ideal Display Density
Click the gear icon to open the standard selection of settings options and you will also see the three main display density settings. In short, this lets you select the amount of space to appear between emails as they are viewed in your inbox, so you can choose whichever set-up seems to work best.
If you are involved in a threat of emails from a group of contacts to which you have either been added by accident or no longer need to participate in, selecting the ‘mute’ option from the ‘more’ icon in Gmail will save you from the ensuing mail hail.
To make sure keyboard shortcuts are enabled, head to the general tab of Gmail’s settings menu and find the appropriate check box. You will then be able to hit R to reply to an email you have open, L to label a conversation if you wish to do so and / to automatically send the cursor to the search box at the top of the page so that you can seek out older messages in a flash.
Undo Email Sending
Accidentally sending an email before it has been fully composed is a problem for all of us, but with Gmail you can activate a feature that allows you to undo a send before any damage has been done. Visit the Labs section of the settings menu and look for the Undo Send option, which you will need to activate. This gives up to 30 seconds during which the sending of an email can be cancelled.
Harness Google Labs
Google Labs is useful for all sorts of other add-ons and extra settings which can make Gmail far more powerful as a messaging tool, whether you are using it to consolidate your social media strategy or merely trying to stay on top of various strands of your personal and professional life.
Some features which are enabled are in the early stages of development, while others are established. It pays to play around with what is on offer and to regularly check to see what has been added.
You can manage up to five email accounts via the Gmail interface since it includes the option to import accounts from a variety of platforms. This lets you benefit from all of the archiving, labelling and other efficiency advantages on offer within Google’s deservedly respected and highly productive mail service.