Gmail Tips and Time-Savers

Gmail TricksGmail, for all its foibles, is an e-mail client that offers quite a bit of flexibility and can save you time and effort if you are willing to explore a bit.

Indeed, as with so much of the software we use, the capabilities far outdistance what we know about and use.  The point is, not to overwhelm yourself with the best and newest shortcuts, but to find the tools and practices that work for you and then use them to find more time!

So adding even one tip or trick to your arsenal – and making it a habit – can save you lots of time over the long run.  If you’re on your computer a lot, you now that one less click or one shortcut in a multi-step task can save hours, when you add the small increments all up.

Gmail Tips and Tricks

Here are some Gmail tips for your consideration this Cyber Monday – in no particular order.

  • Gmail for Storage:  What if you want to have a file available wherever you go, but you either don’t have a Dropbox account, don’t want to store this particular document on the web, or just want it closer by.  Well, what you can do is open a new e-mail in Gmail, add your attachment, give it an easily identifiable subject, and save it as a Draft.  Voila!  It’s available whenever you want it – and you can simply delete it when you are finished.  And since there is no ‘sending’ involved, you don’t have to worry about deliverability (for example, if you are trying to store an .exe file that many e-mail systems won’t send/receive).
  • Gmail for Searching: Many of you probably know that you can search through your e-mails.  But did you know that you can also save your searches?  That way, if you frequently search for a particular type of e-mail, you needn’t re-invent the wheel each time you do it.
  • Gmail Drag and Drop:  The typical practice for adding attachments to an e-mail is to click the paper clip icon, find the document(s) you want to add, and then double-click to add the attachment(s). Well, in Gmail there is another way to complete this task:  simply highlight the documents you want to attach, then drag and drop them right into the body of your e-mail.
  • Gmail Labs:  These are experimental, pre-release features that users can enable as they choose. When you have Gmail Labs enabled, you can go to a Labs tab in your Gmail Settings to turn on the Labs you want to use.  Two that are of particular interest, I think, are the one that lets you recall a message you just sent, and the one that lets you use some pre-composed responses for frequently-sent e-mails.  But you may find others that you like, so I encourage you to explore!
  • Gmail Labels: Using Labels in Gmail is a great way to sort your mail and make it more accessible.  But did you know that you can drag one of your labels to a message to categorize it?  My VA loves this as a way to go through mail and sort it quickly!  Here’s a video that shows you how it works:

So, what do you think of these tricks?  See what you like, and give one or two a try.  And as always, we’d love to hear what you think!

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