www.gmail.com – Tips

by Yang Yang on February 20, 2011

You can login to Gmail.com at here: http://gmail.google.com/

I have been a user of Gmail for almost 6 years. I have some tips on using Gmail.com to share with you that may make your life easier.

You can sign up and get an Gmail account at here: http://www.gmail.com. It’s completely free.

Enable keyboard shortcuts

When you are logged in your gmail account, press Shift + / (Shift key and / key, no plus key) and it’ll open up a very nice semi-transparent dialog that shows a full list of all the keyboard shortcuts available to you in Gmail.

Gmail keyboard shortcuts

Gmail keyboard shortcuts

All the shortcuts are disabled by default. Just click the “Enable” link to enable them all. Now you would have all the nice productivity boosters such as:

  1. c” for quick compose
  2. p” for previous message in conversation, and “n” for next message
  3. *” then “u” to select all unread conversations; “Shift + i” to mark as read
  4. Tab” then “Enter” to immediately send the message
  5. #” to move to trash
  6. r” to reply
  7. f” to forward
  8. etc.

How cool is that!

Make messages from a certain sender to skip inbox

If you use vps web hosting, you may be sent too many emails too frequently about the status (security, load, etc.) of your vps box. If these messages are left in the inbox, it’d be a nightmare because there are just too many of them and it makes you finding a certain message much harder and you would be more likely to miss a legitimate / personal message.

So naturally, we would want those messages to be received and dropped in another custom inbox rather than the main one. For example, all these messages are from root@host.example.com:

  1. Click the top settings cog in the top right corner –>
  2. Mail settings –>
  3. Filters –>
  4. Create a new filter –>
  5. From: root@host.example.com –>
  6. Next Step
  7. Check “Skip the Inbox (Archive it)” and check “Apply the label: New label…”and create a new label (such as “Alerts”) which will be a custom inbox that will be storing all messages coming from root@host.example.com –>
  8. Create Filter (done)

Now all messages coming from root@host.example.com will be automatically stored in the custom inbox “Alerts” rather than the main inbox.

There are a lot more you can do with filters that automatically processes or takes care of messages by certain criteria.

Use search operators to quickly find messages – by sender, recipient, subject, attachment, label, etc.

Just like with Google.com the web search engine, you can use search operators with Gmail.com as well. Some of my most frequently used operators with Gmail are:

  • from:jane@hotmail.com —- Find all messages / communications from jane@hotmail.com
  • to:michael@me.com —- Find all messages you sent to michael@me.com
  • has:attachment subject:samples —- Find all messages that have attachment and have ‘samples’ in the subject
  • filename:office.jpg label:photos is:starred —- Find all starred messages with label ‘photos’ that have the file office.jpg attached

Get to know more operators and examples at here: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?answer=7190&hl=en. They will prove to be very handy.

Alias email addresses – you have unlimited sub-emails!

If your email address is ada.monroe@gmail.com, messages delivered to:

ada.monroe+work@gmail.com
ada.monroe+inquiry@gmail.com
ada.monroe+family@gmail.com
...
ada.monroe+******@gmail.com

Are all directed to ada.monroe@gmail.com. With one Gmail account, you have a literally unlimited number of sub-emails.

With filters, this would come out even more powerful because you can set up filters to automatically move, star, forward or apply labels to messages from a certain alias address.

Pre-saved messages / responses to be re-used by a click

If you find yourself typing the same (or almost the same) messages over and over again, you may want to save the message as Canned Responses which is an experimental module that you can turn on for your Gmail account in the Labs (Mail settings -> Labs).

Combining it with filters, you will have a highly automated email system that messages of certain criteria (such as coming from a specific sender or containing an arbitrary phrase) will be automatically replied to with one of your pre-saved responses.

Accessing multiple email accounts (such as from hotmail.com and yahoo.com) within your Gmail account

Other than Gmail itself, you can also set up 3rd party email services so that you can access them all from within Gmail. This would definitely make things simpler and save time if you have quite a few emails from different providers to check everyday. All you need is entering the POP3 server details and giving Gmail the permission to download the messages. Follow this guide for how to set it up, it’s quite easy: http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=21288

Shift-click to instantly select multiple messages

It’s just like what you would do in Windows. If there is a large series of multiple messages that you want selected, just select the first one and then hold Shift key to click the last. So simple and so intuitive.

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