Gmail is an awesome email service. It’s free, has a
ton of storage, and an open API with an ecosystem
of plugins. It’s relatively reliable, but as with any
free service, it’s hard to find someone to complain
to when it goes down. It has lots of unique hacks
which warrant a special section in this book.
1.Stop Drowning in Email
sanebox.com 3 GMAIL HACKS Facebook this book | Twitter this book
Don’t like conversations view?
A lot of people can’t get comfortable with the Conversations View on Gmail
(where threads are grouped together), but few people know that it’s really
easy to turn it off (under Settings->General).
Use canned responses
This is another Labs feature you need to enable. It lets you save and use
templated emails and saves you from retyping the same thing over and
over (or copying/pasting from somewhere else). Another excellent solution
for this is TextExpander.
2.Always scroll to the bottom of
the thread when reading an
3.The main problem with the Conversations View (if you do decide to keep it)
is when there are 2 unread emails in the same thread – it’s really easy to not
notice the one below the fold. The solution is to always scroll to the bottom
4.Use Canned Responses
If you’re a keyboard shortcuts kinda guy/gal, you’ll love these. Here’s the full
list and here are the must-know ones:
c – compose
/ – search
Tab + Enter send
k and j – move up and down between messages
x – select a conversation (before you can archive or move it anywhere)
e – archive you conversation from any view. Archiving in Gmail simply
means removing the “Inbox” label (this is really important to
understand). If the message has no other labels, you’ll be able to
find it in All Mail. If it has another label other than “Inbox” attached
to it, you can find it there.
y – remove from current view. If you’re in Inbox, it will remove the
“Inbox” label. If you’re in any other label, it will remove that
label. Make sure you understand the difference between e and y
l – add a label
s – star a conversation
r – reply
b – reply all
f – forward
# – delete
z – undo. This also works for “unsending” if you have it enabled.
6.Escape Gmail lockout
Once in a while you’ll get locked out of your Gmail account for a few hours.
Sometimes for 24 hours (as happened to me once). This is what that terrible
screen looks like:
This has nothing to do with your personal behavior – usually the server your
account happens to be on is just having a bad day. The only solution is to
forward your regular Gmail to another Gmail address. It’s most likely to be
on a different machine, and chances of both of your accounts getting locked
down are very small.
7.Control your apps
If you use Google Oauth to login to other sites, or if you use plugins on top
of Gmail or any other Google products (Calendar, Contacts, Youtube etc),
you’ve given access to your Google account to those sites. You should be
very careful with this – not everyone is reliable. Good news is you can always
view all sites connected to Gmail/Google and revoke access to the ones you
no longer use or trust here.
8.Gmail was the first email service to introduce tons of storage for free (2 GB
at the time it launched. Now it offers 25 GB and people still complain). The
key selling point for Gmail is that you never have to delete or even organize
your emails – just archive everything and use search to find what you need.
Unfortunately most people just search for keywords and ignore the rich
advanced Gmail search features.
Here’s the full list and here are the most useful search operators:
from: followed by the email address, or just the name of a person you’re
looking for (as in from:LarryDavid@gmail.com, or just from:Larry if you
want emails from any Larry)
in: followed by any location (Inbox, Label, Trash, Spam,) as in in:Inbox or
in:Personal Items (label name). Just start typing the name of the label in
the search bar and it will automatically suggest the correct one.
subject: followed by any keyword you expect to be in the subject. This
is why clear subject lines are helpful.
after: or before: followed by a date to narrow down the timeline
older_than: or newer_than: followed by number of days, months or
years. You can enter 1d, 2w, 3y, 4days, 5weeks or 6years.
has:attachment self explanatory!
9.Quote Highlight Text for Gmail
Use this feature to add some context to your emails. Enable Quote Selected
Text in your Gmail settings tab under Labs. You can highlight portions of an
email you want to quote in your reply by simply highlighting a portion of the
email and pressing ‘r’. Give it a go!
10.Oh, well hello there
Google Docs Preview
We’re huge fans of this feature and probably use it every
day. By enabling Google Docs Preview under settings
in Labs you can view attachments (in pretty much any
format), in Google Docs before downloading them. This way
you’ll know what you’re getting into before downloading
that massive spreadsheet the boss needs by 5pm.
11.Now that’s a handy hack
Enable Google Maps Preview in your Gmail Labs section to
automatically preview any addresses mentioned in emails you receive.
Meeting a friend for coffee? Have a manicure appointment dude (no
judgments)? Or picking up your souses dry-cleaning? No more copying
and pasting!, the work is already done for you, just use your eyes.