5 Gmail Tips Everyone Should Know

Last week the Internet was buzzing with news of Gmail’s incredibly useful “undo send” feature. Sorry to break it to you, but that “new” feature has been around since at least 2010. The reaction was so positive though, it occurred to me there are probably lots more goodies Gmail has hidden away you may not be aware of.

Here are five features I use all the time that have helped me save time and make me more efficient. Some are hidden away on the Gmail Labs page. This is where you’ll find products that Gmail is currently working on. Actually Gmail calls it “a testing ground for experimental features that aren’t quite ready for primetime.” In any case, it’s loaded with lots of useful features, and I’ll share a few with you.

Undo Send

Let’s start with the undo send feature. You first have to enable this option in Gmail Labs. To get there, click on the gear icon on the top right of your screen. Click on settings, and then click on Labs. Scroll down until you see ‘undo sent’ and click “enable.”

Now, if your fingers are working faster than your brain and you fired off an email too early, click undo send at the top of your screen, next to where it tells you your message has been sent.

Canned Responses

Here’s another feature that can save you lots of time and effort. How many times have you typed the same reply over and over? Perhaps it’s directions to your office or maybe instructions for sending you something. You’re sick of typing the same thing; go enable this feature in Labs now.

To create a new canned response open an email and type in the text you want to save as your canned response. Click the drop-down arrow right next to the trash icon on the bottom right and click ‘new canned response.’ Name your canned response with something like directions or address.

Now, in an email draft, click the drop down again and find that named response you saved. Click it and it appears in your email. You can create and save a number of different canned responses.

The really cool thing about canned responses is you can create a filter so that when a message arrives from a certain person or with certain keywords, you can send an automated pre-written canned response.

Shared Calendars

Enabling a shared calendar can be confusing to set up, but it’s totally worth it when you’re able to see the appointments and dates of people you work with, or perhaps a family member.

You can share your calendar by making it public, or by sharing it with specific users. To share with a specific person, click the drop-down arrow on your calendar page and select ‘share this calendar.’ Enter the email address of the person you’re sharing with.

They’ll get an email inviting them to see your calendar and it will show up in the ‘other calendars’ section on the bottom left of the page.

Unbundle Conversations

Gmail sorts emails into conversations, something it calls message threading. This allows you to see all the replies to an email along with the original message. Some people love this, but others absolutely hate it.

The good news is you can unbundle your email and turn off that conversation view. On the main settings page look for the conversation view option and select the option to turn it off.

Restore Button Labels

Have you noticed in the new Gmail the options on top of your inbox have been changed to icons? Now, you have to hover over each one to figure out which is spam, which is delete, and which one lets you archive your emails.

To change these back to text, go to Settings > General > Button Labels. There you can choose between icons and text. Whenever you make a change in settings always remember to scroll down to the bottom of the page and hit save.

Have a Gmail tip I missed? Need help with something else Gmail related? Hit the comments.

This post first appeared on ChipChick.com.

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