We always have a love-hate relationship with our mail client, whichever one we use. The way emails get threaded, the insufficient labelling system or the unclear way our mail client sorts through our inbox. It’s not much different with Gmail, by far my favourite client. Luckily, there’s plenty of tricks you can use to make your mail client more adapted to your needs. Here are the top 6 ‘hacks’ that I use constantly.
Keyboard shortcuts? But, that’s system-dependable, right? No, we can actually use keyboard shortcuts within Gmail. And a fair amount of them as well. More than 50 shortcuts are available to fly through our mails with ease. Check them out here.
Some keyboard shortcuts I use:
“c” to compose a new message from wherever.
“u” to return to my inbox from wherever.
“r” to reply to the message.
“a” to reply to all senders.
“l” to open the labels menu.
You can enable shortcuts by clicking the gear icon, then Setting > General > Keyboard Shortcuts.
#2 UNDO SEND
This one has saved me from many embarrassing moments.
Yep, there is actually an undo send function within Gmail. Forgot to add that attachment? Didn’t really mean to write what you did? Just undo the send and try again.
Click the Gear icon and go to Settings > Labs. Search for ‘Undo Send’ and click ‘Enable’. Saves your face every time.
#3 INFINITE GMAIL ADDRESSES
The way Gmail works is that it ignores certain symbols and everything which follows after it. For example, my e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org, but when I add a plus after my name, I can do whatever I want. Mails directed to this address will still arrive.
So, if I transform my address into email@example.com, I’ll still get the e-mail. Go ahead, try to send me a mail on the above address and see if I reply
Why is this useful to me? Well, you know how, surfing the web, you sign up to dozens of things every day? And you know how some lists go corrupt and start sending you spam? Well, when I start receiving corrupt mail on firstname.lastname@example.org, I know exactly which list went corrupt and where to unsubscribe from.
I’m sure it’s useful for a number of other situations as well
#4 DESKTOP NOTIFICATIONS
If you’re anything like me, you like to check your mails every five seconds, especially when you’re occupied with account management and sales. Now, this is of course a waste of time mostly. What if there was an easy way to get notifications on your desktop whenever something new happens in your mail client?
Of course, there is a way
Click the Gear icon and then Settings > General. Scroll down to Desktop Notifications and enable them for chats and or email. Depending on the OS and Browser you use, you’ll need to give extra permissions. These can be activated by clicking the link provided in the Desktop Notifications section.
#5 GMAIL CONTACTS WIDGET
The Gmail contacts widget shows you contextual information about the person you are interacting with. It gives you their social media, a profile picture and other useful information. Of course, you don’t need that when you are using a powerful CRM synchronisation tool, but it’s useful nonetheless.
For some people this widget is disabled by default. To enable it, simply click the Gear Icon, then Settings > General and find the People Widget section.
#6 AUTO ADVANCE
A nifty Google Labs feature is the Auto Advance plugin. I’m using it constantly. Basically, what it does is when you delete or archive a message, it will automatically direct you to the next newer or older message.
No more going back to the inbox when you’re sorting through a long list of emails. Now you can work through them much faster!
To install Auto Advance, go to Settings > Labs and search for it. After installation, you can adjust the settings you need in the ‘General’ tab.
Gmail is a powerful e-mail client and by far my favourite one. Using the tips described above, I’ve been able to increase my mail efficiency with a great amount. I suggest you give it a try.
Do you have other nifty tricks? Are there more hacks that should be in this list? Let us know in the comment section.
by Miguel Lesy
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