Gmail Productivity. It’s not a myth – though it may seem like it is for you at this particular time. Ever wish your Gmail could be better – streamlined, organized, minimalist! Resolving to do a better job at managing your Gmail in the New Year? Well, you’re in luck! With a few simple Gmail hacks, you can be the master of your emails – finally!
10 Gmail hacks to help fine-tune your Gmail and maximize your productivity!
(Because here at CompuData, we’re all about maximizing your productivity)
- Rule One Inbox! Many of us maintain multiple email accounts for multiple purposes, which can require us to juggle the eccentricities of signing into multiple Gmail accounts or, if some of our extra addresses belong to Yahoo or any other non-Google mail-provider, we must log in and log out of multiple sites to check our mail. (That, or use a desktop mail client like Outlook or Thunderbird, which has its own limitations.) There is a more elegant, web-based option, however, that allows you to manage all the mail from a single inbox with a single login. Gmail will display the account to which the email was originally addressed just below the “From” address at the top of the message, so you always know how any given message found its way to you.
- Know Who You Are! If you’re forwarding another email account to your Gmail inbox, you can change the “From” address on any message to appear as if you’re sending mail from those forwarded accounts. Even better, you can set your inbox to automatically send replies as the account that originally received a message, so you can keep your “real” email address a secret (or, at least, separate from your alternate email accounts). You can even maintain separate Gmail signatures for each address.
- Zero Inbox Goals! When you compose a message in Gmail, the draft sits in your inbox until you click Send. After that, the message is archived until the recipient replies. When you reply to a message in Gmail, however, the conversation sits in your inbox until you manually archive it. Why wait? If you’ve responded, shouldn’t the message just clear out until you hear back? By enabling the Send & Archive on Reply, you get a new button you can use to archive a conversation as soon as you respond to it. That way, your inbox stays free of conversations you’ve already managed.
- Own Your Inbox! Once you’ve archived or deleted an open message in Gmail, you’re routed back to the Inbox to take another action. Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead, archiving or deleting a message also opened the next message in your inbox, so you can respond to it as well? With the Auto-Advance Gmail Labs tool, you can. Combine this tool with the Send & Archive on Reply button and you can plow through your Gmail Inbox in record time. Auto-Advance even works when you Mute a Gmail conversation.
- Get Your Emails Together! When Google pushed out the small, simplified Gmail compose window in 2013, it tucked away from view a very powerful organizational tool: labels. Hidden in the little arrow next to the Trash icon in the bottom right of the compose window is the option to Label or Star your message before you send it. Any replies you receive will automatically fall under the label applied to the original message, and the conversation will already be starred. It’s much faster and easier than manually labeling messages after you receive a reply
- Make Your Mail EXTRA-SEARCHABLE: We’ve talked about the awesome Gmail search operators that let you hone in on exactly the archived messages you’re looking for. Let’s take it to the net level. To make certain messages even easier to find, seed your emails and even Google chats with hashtags. Just as you would on Twitter, simply add the # sign to the beginning of any word and use it like a recurring tag. For example, you could tag any of your travel-planning emails or chats with the #biztravel hashtag. Then, when you search for #biztravel in Gmail, you’ll find every email that contains the hashtag. Most of us don’t use hashtags in regular correspondence, so these tags will serve as “search magnets” for specific messages or chat strings.
- Tag Your Searches – Search Faster! Now that you’re in the habit of using hashtags and labels, you’ll want to speed up the process of searching for messages tagged with these (or any other) markers. If you’ve got a complex search string or three that you use regularly, now you can save yourself some typing (and typos) by turning that query into a Gmail Quick Link. Just enable the Quick Link option in Labs, and you can add any search to the list of links that appear in the left column of your Gmail inbox (below labels, above chat). Now you can re-run
your favorite, super-complex and hyper-specific searches with a single click.
- Master the Game of Messages! Under the General tab of your Gmail settings, you can set the number of messages (or Contacts) shown per page, up to a maximum of 100 messages. Combined with a Compact density, you can work through a much greater number of messages at a time, even on smaller screens. Microsoft Outlook veterans are familiar with the Preview Pane, wherein you can view the first few lines of an email message without opening it. Gmail has its own Preview Pane option, which you can display below or to the right of your inbox. Previewing a message for a few seconds marks it as read, allowing you to quickly triage which emails are worthy of deeper dives, and which can be dealt with after a casual glance.
- Customize Your Gmail Label List! In the left column of your Gmail inbox is a list of labels, including your Sent Mail and Drafts, with an option to view your complete list. You can customize your Gmail label list, control whether the labels are shown, hidden, or (in the case of Spam and Drafts) only shown if they contain unread messages. If you have a custom label you
want handy access to, here’s how you get it visible all the time. Never need to see the Drafts, Trash or All Mail folders? Simply hide them. A cleaner Gmail interface is just a click away.
- Serve Up Canned Spam! Google has added a new option to the list of possible mail responses like Reply, Reply All and Forward: Block. With the Block option, the email address that sent a particular message will be hereafter routed directly to your Spam folder and, like all spam, will be deleted after 30 days. This is different than marking a message as spam, as Gmail tries to analyze what it is about a Spam-marked email that qualifies the message as unwanted and applies that to future incoming emails (a process which may or may not block future messages from the same sender). Block is much more specific: blocked email addresses will never escape your spam filter again. Well, unless you unblock the address in your Gmail settings. Spammers and harassers have met their match!