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7 things you didn’t know you could do in Gmail

Gmail is up there as one of the world’s most well-known email services, so you’re likely already familiar with the basic functionality of it, whether that’s sending important reports for work or sharing silly cat photos with friends. However, there are some features hidden in Gmail that you may not know exist.

Did you know that you could send disappearing emails or make Gmail feel a bit more like Outlook, directly through Gmail on the web? We got you covered with the secrets. Here are seven things you didn’t know you could do in Gmail.

Send self-destructing emails

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If you’re ever used Snapchat, then you know how disappearing messages work. Set a time limit, send it, the person sees it and it is gone! But did you know the same can also apply to Gmail, too? This is known as “Confidential Mode.

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To use Confidential Mode in Gmail, all you need to do is compose an email message, and write it as you normally would through the compose button in the sidebar. Then, when you see the compose window open up, choose the icon that has a lock and the clock. You’ll then see a new window letting you choose how long the message will last before it expires. Choose the options as you please.

Anyone who gets the email won’t be able to forward, copy, print, or download it. This is a great option for emails that might have sensitive content.

Speed up the process of deleting your emails with auto-advance

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Next on our list is a trick to speed up the process of deleting emails in Gmail. This can be useful for you if you have a lot of messages in your inbox and want to get to inbox zero quickly. To speed things up, you can enable the auto-advance feature. With this, Gmail won’t send you back to your inbox each time you delete an opened message. This saves you a few clicks when moving through your inbox.

To enable auto-advance, head into your Gmail settings and then choose to See All Settings. Under the General tab, you’ll then want to click Advanced. You should then see the Auto-advance box. Click it, and then choose Enable. Your inbox will now flow a lot better!

Schedule your emails

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There comes a time when you might want to schedule your emails for some reason. You might be planning a vacation and want to send something ahead of time, or you might want to plan a surprise email for a birthday or something else. Gmail makes this easy with “Schedule Send”

Getting started with Schedule Send is easy. Just compose your message as normal, and then choose the down arrow next to the send button. This will allow you to pick a specific time to send that email, either tomorrow morning, the afternoon, and other times of your choice. Time is money, so give it a try!

Unsend messages

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There might be a moment when you want to unsend an email in Gmail. Perhaps it was an angry message sent to your boss or an honest mistake that you made. Just like in the Outlook app, Google gives you a short period of time to unsend a message. Just be aware that it is just a few seconds and not minutes like it is on Outlook.

You can recall a message in Gmail by looking at the Message sent icon when you send out a message. There will be an option to Undo, but it only shows up for a few seconds. If you’re not fast enough, the message will go through anyway.

Have Google complete your messages for you

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Feeling a little lazy? When you’re sending emails all day, there might come a time when you don’t want to type out the same phrase over and over. Google has your back with a feature known as “Smart Compose.” Thanks to this feature, you’ll see writing suggestions that can save time when drafting up an email.

Smart Compose is usually turned on by default, but if you’re not seeing it, click the settings cog at the top right corner of the screen, and then See all settings. From there, under General, scroll down to Smart Compose and look for the option. We’re talking about the web-based version of Gmail, but Google’s support page has instructions for all other platforms.

Smart Compose will autocomplete some sentences for you. Say, suggesting a meeting time, or phrases like “Will do” or “Got it.” You even can sometimes see custom Smart Compose phrases based on your writing style, thanks to Google’s artificial intelligence.

Make Gmail look like Outlook with the Reading Pane

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One of the reasons people like using the Outlook Desktop application has to do with the way it displays emails. You can see a full list of emails on the left, and then a preview of said emails on the right after you click on it. This is something that Gmail actually does, too, and it’s known as the Reading Pane.

Reading Pane isn’t turned on by default in Gmail, but once it is enabled, your viewing experience is really improved. You can view your emails and respond without having to open a new window.

To enable Reading Pane, click the settings gear icon at the top of your inbox to summon the Quick Settings panel. From there, head down to the Reading Pane, and select Right of inbox to show the previews at the right of your inbox. If you like, you also can choose Below Inbox to split the view and show the previews vertically, too. You’ll need to refresh the tab to apply the changes.

Mute annoying email threads

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Did you get stuck in an email thread you just want to stop getting notifications about, but don’t want to delete? Google has you covered with a “mute” feature. To use the feature just takes a few clicks. Just hit the three vertical dots at the side of the email, and then choose Mute. After that, the message moves into your archives folder, where you’ll still see it and all the other replies attached to it.

Arif Bacchus
Arif Bacchus is a native New Yorker and a fan of all things technology. Arif works as a freelance writer at Digital Trends…
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