10 Gmail tips to make your life easier


If you use Gmail a lot, we have some handy tips for you.

Angela Lang / CNET

Video and corporate chat services like Zoom and Slack have become mainstreamed in the workplace style of 2020, but email is still an integral part of most of our work and personal lives. And there’s a good chance that at least one of your email accounts was through Gmail, which had more than 1.8 billion active users in early 2020.

While you probably know the basics of Gmail, there are plenty of features and tips you might have missed that can help you streamline your digital life. For example, did you know that there are also third-party apps like Kiwi for Gmail which bundle multiple accounts into one app?

Even if you’re a seasoned Gmail user, here are 10 tools to help you work smarter – not harder – in Gmail.

Clean up your inbox

It doesn’t take long for my inbox to get out of hand, even though I generously use the select-all-plus-delete combo. Fortunately, there is another way to analyze old digital weeds in your inbox. If you are sure you don’t need emails before a certain date, you can type “before:

“in the search box and enter a date of your choice. This will filter your inbox so that you can more effectively use the Select All button to delete old emails.
Gmail

Setting up filters in Gmail can help you analyze your inbox noise.

James Martin / CNET

Access multiple accounts

If you have multiple active Gmail accounts, you can switch between them effortlessly. Simply click on your profile icon at the top right (mobile or desktop) and choose Add another account. From there, you will only have to log in and you can access it when you click on your profile icon in the future. However, if you don’t access any of the accounts frequently enough, you will be logged out.

Email filters

With so many websites asking for your email address these days, your inbox might be starting to look like the Wild West. You might also want to organize emails better and prioritize certain people’s emails. This is where filters come in handy. To configure a filter, open Gmail, click on the settings gear and choose See all settings. From there, click Filters and blocked addresses > Create a new filter.

You can customize your filter to organize emails by sender, recipient, subject, keywords, etc. When you’ve got it to your specifications, click Create Filter.

Easy signature setup

Setting up a signature in Gmail can save you a step when composing a message and make your emails look more professional. To configure a signature for all outgoing messages, open Gmail> Equipment settings> See all settings. From there, scroll down until you see Signature and click Create New. All the signatures you created will be visible in the settings, where you can edit or delete them at any time.

Cancel a sent message

If you’re like me, you questioned yourself after hitting the send button at least once. Fortunately, Gmail has a grace feature called Cancel Send. Right after pressing Send, a message at the bottom of the screen will appear stating that the message has been sent, but there is also the option to cancel or view the message. When you click Cancel, Gmail stops sending the message. You can also change the time you have to cancel a message. To configure the cancellation of sending, go to Settings> See all settings and scroll to Cancel sending. From there, you can set a cancel send window of 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.

Gmail

I didn’t intend to send this message? Gmail may allow you to undo the action.

James Martin / CNET

Schedule sending

Scheduling a message is handy if you have coworkers or friends in different time zones and don’t want to risk disturbing them with an email notification at odd hours. To schedule a message, just type in what you want to say, and instead of clicking Send, click the little down arrow and select Schedule sending. Gmail will offer possible times, but you can also manually enter a specific send time.

Smart composition

Gmail’s Smart Compose works like predictive text and aims to streamline your writing process. For example, while you type “I’m calling”, Google Smart Compose suggests “tomorrow”. Just hit it Tongue accept the suggestion; otherwise, keep typing. If you are not a fan of Smart Compose, you can deactivate it in Settings.

gmail-logo-1

Gmail also offers tools like spell check and smart typesetting to make it easier to compose emails.

Angela Lang / CNET

Spell check

Gmail’s spell checker can reduce the stress of sending important emails. The spell checker can help you with words you are not sure about as well as simple hiccups from typing too fast. And Gmail will keep the word underlined if it changes it so you can choose to undo the change if you don’t like it. On top of that, Gmail also offers grammar and autocorrect features. Everything can be enabled or disabled in Settings> Spell check.

Mute conversations

We’ve all been stuck in a messaging group that just can’t seem to calm down. Next time this happens to you, just open the pesky email, click on the three-dot settings icon just above the email subject line, and select Mute from the drop-down menu. Just like with the cancellation of sending, you will have the possibility to Restore sound if you clicked by accident.

Labels

Labels can make your inbox more manageable. These are kind of like filters (and you can configure a filter to email certain labels). The labels are in the sidebar where you will find Inbox, Sent, Junk mail, and other folders. Scroll down and click Create a new label. From there you can name your label as well as create group labels. For example, if you are organizing for school, the primary tag might be Biology Classes, and you might group the tags on submitted class projects and homework.


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