Gmail Update: Your Personal Primer to Save Time

Posted on June 10, 2013, under Time and Technology.

Gmail ChangesGmail is changing (again).  In case you hadn’t seen any of the announcements, Gmail is rolling out changes to its inbox, creating a tabbed interface that will sort your messages into predetermined categories.

Changes to something as vital and as  frequently used as your inbox are always disruptive.  You lose time as you adjust to a new look and new routine.  But it does look to me like these changes may be time-savers in the long run.  So let’s look under the hood a bit and see what these updates do …

Gmail: The Tabs are Key

For a good overview, I recommend Melanie Pinola’s article on lifehacker titled “Everything You Need to Know About Gmail’s New, Super-Confusing Layout.”  Here she unpacks the changes and highlights the ones that are likely to be most challenging at first.

The first thing you need to know is that the new inbox won’t suddenly appear – you have to activate it (for now, at least). To do so, open your Gmail, click the “Settings” (the icon that looks like a cogwheel) and select “Configure Inbox” from the drop down menu.   That’s all you need to do, and you’re in the new world of Gmail!

Gmail:  Configuring Your Tabs

My VA has been using Gmail for some time, as it allows her to manage multiple accounts on multiple platforms.  She had created lots of filters and labels for sorting incoming mail, and is now working on adapting those to the new, tabbed Gmail format.

This is where things get a little more complicated.  She is working on revising all of her existing filters so that incoming emails land on the correct tabs.  The basic steps for doing this are:

Go to “Settings -> Filters”. Then, depending on what you need to do, either select Create (to create a new filter) or select Edit – to make changes to an existing filter.

If you’re creating a new filter, you’ll need to enter the key information that you want the filter to select on, and then click “create filter with this search”.  Whether you’re creating a new filter or editing an existing one, the additional step, in the new interface, is that, under the “Categorize as” section, you need to choose the tab where the emails that match this filter to land.

Current Gmail Users-Take Note:

When you activate the new-look, tabbed Gmail, archived e-mails will not be sorted onto the new tabs.  So, it may take some time to see where things land and determine how you want to re-arrange them.  While potentially confusing and a bit frustrating at first, I do think that some time invested up front will make for a much smarter inbox as time unfolds.

Have you already started exploring the new Gmail inbox?  What do you think of it?  Still learning the ropes here … so I’ll keep you posted as I (well, mostly my VA) explore this much-changed e-mail venue!

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have no material connection with Google or Gmail and have not received any compensation for sharing this content.

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