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Gmail Tips and Tricks

If you aren’t using Gmail yet, you need to make the move. Gmail is Google’s e-mail service and offers a ton of great features to help you be more organized and more effective. In fact, even if you already use Gmail, there are probably lots of features you haven’t discovered yet! Here are just 10 tips and tricks to help you make the most out of Gmail’s e-mail service.

1. Make sure you have a strong internet connection. Gmail is a web-based e-mail service so high speed Internet is the first step to accessing everything Gmail can offer.

2. Understand your inbox. Your inbox is where all of your e-mail messages show up. New messages will be bold and highlighted so they stand out when you glance at the page.

3. Find message info fast. When you get an e-mail, Gmail will display the basic information right there in your inbox. On the far left of the e-mail line, you’ll see the name of the sender. In the center, you’ll see the subject line, plus an excerpt from the e-mail content. On the far right, you’ll see either the date or the time the e-mail was sent. For example, if you received the e-mail on the current date, you’ll see the time (e.g. 8:33 am). If you received the e-mail previously, you’ll see the date (e.g. Dec 11).

4. Clear out your inbox by archiving messages. Gmail offers a great feature called “Archive.” This feature allows you to move messages out of your inbox, while safekeeping them to reference later. Next time you are up for a spring-cleaning project, expand your focus from physical clutter to digital clutter and try archiving messages in your inbox. Even though these messages are out of sight, you’ll still be able to find them later—whether it’s in six months or six years.

5. Delete old messages. Gmail offers a ton of storage space for each user, but why save messages you’ll never need again? Don’t hold on to that due date reminder from the library three months ago! Gmail holds on to deleted messages for 30 days after your send them to trash, so you’ll have some cushion time if you make a mistake!

6. Star your important messages. When you get a message that holds important information, hit the star outline to the left of the e-mail line. Doing this automatically highlights the message so you’ll quickly see it when you glance at your inbox. You can also see all of your starred messages in one place by clicking the “Starred” option in the left column of your inbox. Use Superstars in Settings to customize your starring options even more.

7. Organize your e-mails with labels. In Gmail, labels act like the folders you are used to from other e-mail providers. Plus any e-mail can have more than one label. For example, you might label one message “Family vacation,” and you might label another “Family vacation,” “Receipts,” and “To-do.” Customize these labels however works best for you. Any e-mails with the same label are also organized together.

8. “Save now” to move an e-mail to Drafts. So you started composing an e-mail only to be pulled into a meeting before you can finish. While Gmail does automatically save messages as you compose, click the “Save now” button to save all new information and move the e-mail to the Drafts folder. When you get out of your meeting, you can click the Drafts button in your left column to finish the e-mail and send it.

9. Search your mail. If you’ve used the term “Google it,” you’re probably aware of the great search features Google provides. Guess what? Those same features apply to your Gmail account. Don’t bother scrolling through past messages or sorting by date. Use the search bar at the top of your Gmail inbox to find old messages fast. Type the date, the sender, the subject, key words, or even the label. The search possibilities are practically endless.

10. Customize your inbox by exploring Gmail labs. If you go to your Gmail settings and click on the Labs button, you’ll find all kinds of new options to beef up your Gmail account. You can create keyboard shortcuts, embed images into messages, or change your text options.

Try some of these tips to better use your Gmail account. Remember, these are just a few of the many features Gmail provides.