Six super Gmail tricks

There are over 1 billion Gmail users in the world, and for good reason: this powerful email platform is easy to access and simple to use. But these tips will make it even more effective.

1. Unsend emails
Did you know that you can ‘unsend’ an email with Gmail? It’s easy. Simply click the ‘gear’ icon at the top right-hand side of your screen, then select ‘Settings’. Scroll down to ‘Undo Send’ then click ‘Enable’. This allows you to retract an email for up to 30 seconds after you’ve sent it, so no more email regrets! 

2. Email filters
You can set up filters to rid your inbox of unnecessary emails. To configure Gmail filters to automatically move emails to specific folders, go to ‘Settings’ > ‘Filters’ > ‘Create New Filter’. Now you can fill in the details and mark emails with ‘Skip the Inbox’, which will send them directly to the folders you’ve created. For example, if you get a lot of emails from your children, you can create a folder called ‘Kids’ and their messages will go straight to that folder, making it easier to locate important, or not-so-important, emails. 

3. Alerts
If your emails contain dates on which you need to perform a task or attend an event, Gmail can send you an alert to remind you of those times. For example, if you book a flight or have a reservation at a restaurant, Gmail will send you a prompt to remind you of the dates on which you need to take action. Gmail will detect dates in certain message, and will pop up a dialogue box to see if you need a reminder for those dates. Simply click on those messages and Gmail will set up a reminder in your calendar. 


4. Handy plug-ins
A plug-in is a piece of software that adds a specific feature to a computer program. It’s like a mini-program that attaches itself to an existing bigger program or website, in this case Gmail, to make it better. Boomerang is a third-party plug-in for Gmail that allows you to schedule email messages to be sent later and can also remind you to follow up on other important emails. Boomerang moves important email messages to the top of your inbox, to remind you to read, respond or take other actions. Rapportive is another handy plug-in, which is used to import a sender’s social media activity, such as their latest tweets, to make the process of staying connected with your loved ones even simpler.

5. Colour code your messages
Another handy Gmail feature is the ability to colour code your messages. You can mark your messages from friends in red and those from your volunteer groups in green, to make locating certain messages a cinch. You can also rate the importance of your emails by using ‘Importance Markers’, by which Gmail ‘learns’ which emails you need to see before other less-important ones. 

6. Use the cloud for large attachments
Instead of attaching large files, such as photographs or videos, to your email messages, you can upload them to Google Drive, which is Google’s cloud storage facility. You can attach files up to 15GB and minimise the chance of your email bouncing (which can happen when your email attachment is too big to fit in the receiver’s inbox).

Are you a Gmail user? Do you have any other handy Gmail tips you can share with our members?

Related articles:
How to mark a sender as safe
Google redefines email
Google is scanning your emails

Written by Leon Della Bosca

Leon Della Bosca has worked in publishing and media in one form or another for around 25 years. He's a voracious reader, word spinner and art, writing, design, painting, drawing, travel and photography enthusiast. You'll often find him roaming through galleries or exploring the streets of his beloved Melbourne and surrounding suburbs, sketchpad or notebook in hand, smiling.
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