Like most working people, a large part of your day is probably taken up with managing your emails. But whether you’re filtering through your inbox, composing an important message, or organizing your mail into folders, your time could be better spent doing more important tasks.
To help you maximize your email productivity, we’ve put together a list of 20 tips and tricks that will help you get the most out of Gmail, and save you valuable time in the process.
1. Gmail search
Gmail has over 20 search operators you can use to find messages or create filters. You can even combine search operators to create a super-specific search inquiry.
The most basic search inquiries include:
- Locating an email from a specific sender by typing in “from:”
- Locating an email to a specific recipient by typing in “to:”
- Finding an email that was received after a specific date, by typing in “after:” followed by the date
To narrow down your search, you can combine search inquiries. For example, to find an email that was received from a specific recipient within the last two months that included an attachment, click the drop-down arrow to the right of the search box:
Then use the advanced search criteria to narrow down your search:
You can also set up filters so that the search criteria is saved for future searches.
2. Conversation view
If you like to keep all emails in a thread together, you can turn on “Conversation View.”
To do this, go to Settings > Conversation View > select Conversation view on:
3. Undo send
Since 2015, Gmail has allowed users to recall a message sent in error up to 30 seconds after they click Send.
When you send a message in Gmail, you’ll see a pop-up message appear.
Simply click Undo, and you’ll retrieve your email. Make sure not to click view message, click away from the message, or wait longer than the allocated time.
To change the time frame in which you can recall your messages, go to Settings, scroll to Undo Send, and choose your cancellation period using the drop-down list.
4. Schedule send
Like to work late in the evening? Have clients in different time zones? On holiday?
This is where Right Inbox’s email scheduling feature comes to the rescue. Schedule your emails to be delivered at just the right time for recipients.
Instantly align with schedules of remote contacts with time zone support.
5. Confidential mode
Gmail lets you compose an email which will automatically be deleted later on. These might be emails that you don’t want the recipient to save, copy, download, or forward.
Once you’ve composed your email, click the clock icon at the bottom right-hand corner of the message, and then set an expiry date.
You can also choose to set a passcode that the recipient will receive via SMS (if you click the SMS passcode box) or email (if you click the No SMS passcode box).
6. Smart compose
Smart compose lets users enable predictive words and phrases to appear when they start typing an email. It also learns how you usually write an email so that you always sound like you.
Go to Settings and scroll to Smart compose. Enable by clicking on Writing suggestions on.
7. Send money
Gmail now lets users send money via email. But be aware: to use this feature, both you and the recipient have to be set up with Google Pay.
To send money, compose your email, and click the $ button.
Now enter the amount of money you wish to send, and a note if you like. Click Attach Money.
8. Canned responses
Canned responses allow users to set up their own email templates in their inbox.
To set this up, go to Settings > Advanced Settings > Canned responses. Click Enable.
9. Check spelling
To check your spelling, navigate to the 3 dots at the bottom right of your email composer and click Check spelling.
10. Preview messages
Gmail’s preview pane is a useful way of looking at the first snippet of your emails before you open them.
11. Mute conversations
If you’re involved in an email thread that’s getting noisy, you can choose to mute the conversation.
Go into the conversation and click on the 3 dots at the top. In the drop-down, click Mute.
12. Sync with your calendar
Your Google calendar is automatically synced with your Gmail account and will appear in the right-hand side of your screen when you click the calendar icon.
13. Remove unwanted tabs
Gmail automatically comes with Primary, Social, and Promotions tabs already displayed, but you can choose to remove or add different tabs.
Go to Settings > Inbox > Categories to make changes.
14. Use color-coded stars
You can use Gmail’s colored stars to organize the emails within your inbox. In Settings, scroll to Stars, and drag the color stars from Not in use to In use so that you can start applying them to emails as you send and receive them.
15. Add emails to your tasks
If you have a task list in Gmail, you can add emails to it so that you can respond at a later date. You’ll also be reminded of them on a regular basis.
To set this up, select an email or emails from your inbox, go to More, and select Add to Tasks.
To check in with your task list, click the Tasks icon on the right-hand side on your inbox.
16. Use send and archive
To reply to an email and archive it at the same time, you need to enable Send and Archive.
Go to Settings > Send and Archive > Show “Send & Archive” button in reply.
17. Give someone access to your email account
Sometimes you need to give another person access to your email account. To do so, go to Settings > Accounts and Import > Grant access to your account.
Click Leave conversation as unread when opened by others to ensure that you can easily identify which messages you haven’t read yet.
18. Use multiple Gmail accounts at the same time
If you have more than one Gmail account, you can log into multiple accounts at the same time.
To do this, log into your first email account, and click on your profile icon in the top right-hand corner.
Type in your second email address and password. You’ll now see the second email account appear in a new tab. Continue this process until you’ve entered all the other Gmail addresses you own.
19. Use Google Hangouts within Gmail
Google Hangouts let you and your Gmail contacts chat from within Gmail.
To use it, click the Hangouts icon in the bottom left of your inbox, and choose the contact you want to connect with. A dialog box will appear on the bottom right-hand side of your inbox.
20. Make a phone call from Gmail
To do this, you’ll need to register your mobile number with Gmail. To register, enter your number. You’ll then receive a verification code via SMS. You’ll also need a microphone and speakers.
Once you’re registered to make calls, go to the telephone icon in the bottom left-hand corner of your inbox.
Choose the contact you wish to call and click on it. You’ll appear to the contact as “No caller ID.”