Gmail undoubtedly is the best and the most used online email service right now on planet. It is fast, doesn’t let most of the spam creep into your mailbox and keeps introducing latest innovative features into your mailbox. But there’s a certain difference between using Gmail as a traditional email service and using it like a pro. Take a look at “inside-the-box” hidden tips and features below in Gmail and your email experience will never be same. Using the tips below, you can handle your Inbox and emails like a Ninja.
Gmail tips and tricks you never knew about:
1. Multiple addresses/aliases with a single Gmail address.
Did you knew that the email address that you registered with Gmail can be modified/extended in a variety of ways to give you multiple aliases, that too without any setting or configuration? Using the tips mentioned below, you can define multiple “aliases” and all the emails sent to your aliases will get forwarded to your primary Gmail address.
For example, if your Gmail address is like firstname.lastname@example.org, you can use a number of different aliases like:
So you can insert one “.” period operator to create many aliases of your Gmail address. Any email sent to the above aliases will directly land in your primary Gmail Inbox for email@example.com.
This is a very handy tip as you can use multiple aliases to sign up with different web services and newsletters. Also if you start receiving spam from any of them, you will instantly know which service that is by looking at your Gmail alias for that service.
The above tip works very easily. But in case that you want to track emails from multiple services, you can use a more efficient tip to create better looking aliases:
You can always add “+anything” when you sign up for any service or newsletter, like:
firstname.lastname@example.org and so on…
Creating aliases is all up to your imagination now. You can combine both the tips mentioned above to create something like: email@example.com. An email sent to any of the above aliases will land in the Inbox for firstname.lastname@example.org.
2. Using stars to organize emails.
You must already be using “stars” (yellow star to be precise) in Gmail to mark and keep a track of important emails.
But there are many more colorful stars in Gmail to select from. To get more star designs in Gmail, click on the gear icon at the upper right corner –> select settings –> General –> scroll down to the section for Stars and select the ones you want to use.
In your Inbox, when you click on an email you get yellow start, click second time you get the second star and so on. These colorful stars are similar to the different colored flags that you use in Outlook application for desktop (if you do). Also if you have to search for emails flagged with a star of specific color, you can simply use a search query like “has:red-star”. Here’s the complete list of all the stars that you can use to search for emails marked with special stars:
3. Add attachments in a breeze
I simply love the way Gmail handles attachments. To attach any file/set of files, you can simply drag and drop the file into your compose window for Gmail (does not work with Internet Explorer).
If you want to attach multiple files at one go, click “Attach files” and then use CTRL (Control key on Windows or Command Key on Mac) to select multiple files. If you want to select a range of files in a column, select first file –> press and hold SHIFT key and select the last file. Yes ! this is an old, well-known routine in Windows Explorer but it works the same way with Gmail attachments also
4. Using filters in Gmail like a pro
Filter is one of the most powerful feature in Gmail. You can create filters to automate many things in your Gmail Inbox. This is the feature that power Gmail users apply to organize emails and keep their Inbox clutter free. For a starting use-case, you can create filters for specific emails to automatically skip the Inbox, Archive, Delete, Apply specific labels and so on.
You can create filters in the following way:
- Click on the “gear icon” –> click settings –> select filters
- To create a new filter, click on “Create a new filter” link
Here’s what the pop-up looks like:
Once you click on “Create filter with this search”, you are presented with a list of action items to be applied:
That’s the basic way to create filters. Creating filters to organize your mailbox should always be on the top of your priority list. As you play with the different options for a while, you will know that you can create filters and automate tasks for nearly every email that lands in your mailbox.The time taken to create effective filters will always be worth to keep your Inbox clean and organized.
Tip: Do not want to spend time and get into the hassle of creating a filter? Have a sample email and want to create filter for similar emails? You can do that as well very easily.
Open your email –> click on the down arrow (beside the reply icon) on the top right-side of email and select “ Filter messages like this”
5. Using Google tasks inside Gmail to create to-do list
Did you know that you can use Gmail to create easy to-do list, right inside your mailbox? It is very easy and minimal and helps you to track your tasks and to-dos very easily.
To access tasks, Click on Gmail – > Tasks :
You will be greeted with a very simple task app. You just have to add the tasks and mark the ones which are completed.
6. Activate keyboard shortcuts to further speed up your productivity
If you are an advanced user and want to save time (and a couple of keystrokes), you can use Keyboard shortcuts in Gmail in further speed up things.
To activate Keyboard shortcuts, goto Settings –> General –> and search for “keyboard shortcuts”.
You can check a complete list of all Keyboard shortcuts for Gmail here.
7. Keep track of all the activity in your account and use remote sign-out (security check/ hacker proof)
You often access your Gmail account in various places and on a number of devices throughout the day. Even if it’s not your personal computer, often you forget to sign-out from Gmail Inbox.
To solve this problem and to keep a track of all the logins to your Gmail account, you can use account activity monitor that is built right inside your Gmail Inbox (on the bottom-right of the page).
If you click on “Details”, you will get recent logs of all the activity/logins of your account. You can see the type of access, IP address and the time.
If you see something that doesn’t feel correct/fishy you can just click on “Sign out all other sessions” and you will be logged out of all other applications/places from where you had signed in.
8. Simplest way to backup Gmail Messages.
There are many services and tips to backup all your important Gmail messages. But we will tell you one of the easiest one here.
- Sign up for a backup email account (could be any service Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com)
- Create forwarding of all/specific emails that land into your primary Inbox like this:
Additionally, you can also use filters to forward all/selected emails (according to some filter) from your primary Gmail account to backup mailbox.
9. Setup Gmail to show headers
There’s always a Header part of every email that contains lots of information about the sender, receiver, the email and lots more. Due to information overload, it is always hidden in Gmail (and most services).
But you can easily see header of any email in Gmail and track down all the important information for any use (catch those annoying spammers !). You can use this header analysis tool, that will transform the header information in more readable format for you to understand.
10. Search Gmail like a Ninja
The same philosophy of Web search also applies to email searching – the search results should be precise and accurate, search should be fast and searching should be easy.
If you want to search and track down an email (maybe a very old one and you don’t remember much information about it), you can search for it like a Ninja inside Gmail. Click on the drop-down arrow on the right side of the search box in Gmail, and you have plenty of options to narrow down your search:
11. Loading HTML and mobile interface on slower connection
If you are using Gmail on a slower Internet connection, loading the standard inbox of Gmail may take a minute or even more.
But Gmail also has a basic HTML-only interface which loads faster. To access the plain HTML mode, you need to append ?ui=html to the standard Gmail URL:
If that doesn’t help you and you’re on a ridiculously slow Internet connection (mobile GPRS ?), you can also access the mobile interface of Gmail which is stripped-down with the minimal functions:
To access the mobile interface, you need to append ?ui=mobile to the URL:
12. Switch between multiple user accounts
If you use Gmail’s multiple sign-in feature, you must be using the drop-down menu on the top right-bar to switch between multiple account. But you switch faster between your Gmail accounts by editing the /mail/u in the Gmail URL. For example:
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/ will take you to your first Gmail account
https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/ will take you to your second Gmail account.