Friday, December 24, 2010

5 Cool and Useful Gmail Tips

Gmail is one of the most popular web-mail providers in the world, and this isn’t any major surprise, because it is owned by Google and also offers an incredibly simple and fast interface.  It was also the first to offer over 1 GB of space. How can we make Gmail faster, better and more useful than it currently is?
We’ll explore some of the features currently offered in Gmail labs, some of the newest additions (there’s a reason why I included ‘fresh’ in the article title) as well as some old/useful but still not well-known tips. Things are starting to get exciting here, let’s get started!

1. NEW: Priority Inbox – Save Time/Energy on Focusing on Important Messages

Priority inbox is a new (and awesome!) feature by Google. It got pretty decent publicity, so if you’ve been reading tech blogs regularly, you probably already know about it. But, I guess you still haven’t had the chance to activate this new feature and try it out. To do that, just go here and click on the “Go to Gmail” blue button.

(this is the left-side screen of Gmail after activating Priority Inbox)
Why is priority inbox useful: We all have priorities, don’t we? Among other things, we have priority emails. The job of this addition is to help us focus on the important stuff first. Based on many tests on major tech news sites, Priority Inbox does a pretty good job at this. It analyzes your Inbox and reading patterns and puts what it thinks to be the most important messages as priority.

2. LABS: Automatically go to The Next Conversation After Deleting a Message

Let’s say you read a message and decide to delete or archive it. After you do one of those things, you are automatically taken to the Inbox screen. There’s a recent Google Labs feature (released in October) that allows you to instead go to to the newer/older email after deleting or archiving the already existing one. You can access Google Labs here.

Why is this Labs feature useful: Many people don’t want to be taken to the inbox directly after deleting/archiving an email. The reason is simple: They want to do the same thing with many messages. So, let’s say they categorize a message and then are taken back to the inbox screen, they’ll have to click on a message AGAIN in order to do the same thing. This labs feature saves them those clicks and some time and effort in the process.

3. OLD (but not very well known tip): Create Unlimited Variations of Your Email With Gmail

Let’s suppose you own Did you know that you can add a dot (or many dots) anywhere between johnsmith and messages arriving to that email (for example: will arrive at your original email (without dots, Try it out!
Why is this feature useful: It’s useful if you sign up to email lists and want to know whether someone will give your email to spammers. So, let’s say you were reading a  article on my blog and decided to sign up for the email list on the right  using and started receiving spam, you’ll be able to track the spam back to that email list due to using the different email address iteration.
There’s also an easier way to make your email ‘unique’ by adding +something to your username. So will redirect your email to

4. LABS: Search for Documents in Gmail

You can search for Gmail email messages using the top box where it says “Search Mail”. If you activate this option, the top button will rename itself from “Search Mail” to “Search Mail and Docs”.
Why is this Labs feature useful: This feature is great if you’re using Google Docs a lot. You’ll sometimes need to find information in some Docs file and send it using an email address. This tool can prove to be useful in that situation. So, use this labs feature only if you’re often using Google Docs.

5. USEFUL: Use Gmail Advanced Search Operators

There’s a whole syntax of operators you can use when searching your Gmail inbox. You can view the syntax here. Let’s say you’re trying to find that email from Mary which contains an attachment. You can simply write: has:attachment.
Why is this useful: I can’t remember how many times I’ve tried to search for an attachment in a particular email but couldn’t find it. Now, I can simply type: “filename:TheFileNameOfTheAttachment” and search by the attachment’s title! Don’t tell me this isn’t useful!

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