Between Labs, extensions, and settings, there’s a plethora of ways that you can customize your Gmail experience and tweak how emails are handled. Below of some of our favorite methods for managing time and giving Gmail an extra boost when it comes to organization.
Send and archive in one step
Here’s a trick to save a lot of time. First, click the gear icon and choose Settings from the resulting drop-down menu. Find the Send and Archive section and check the box beside Show “Send & Archive” button in reply. This adds a new button when you’re replying to an email. Clicking it will allow you to send your response and automatically archive the email, thus removing it from your inbox. It’s a godsend for those who receive endless amounts of email, and one that keeps your inbox free of clutter.
Enable and disable tabs
Gmail has three tabs — Primary, Social, and Promotion — and organizes your emails for you automatically. But did you know you can customize these tabs? If you want to do so, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and choose Configure inbox from the drop-down menu. This allows you to add new tabs, such as Updates and Forums, or remove any tabs that you don’t like or want. It’s a handy bit of auto-organization for when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
See more with the Compact setting
When you click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of Gmail, one of the first things you’ll see in the resulting drop-down menu is an option to switch between Cozy, Comfortable, and Compact viewing modes. Switching to Compact eradicates a good deal of space, allowing you to see more email information on each line. It’s a good setting to go with if you want to maximize your efficiency and see as much information as possible in a single glance.
Take back an unfortunate email
Whenever you send an email in Gmail, you’ll notice a yellow box that says the email was sent. If you catch it fast enough, however, you can actually cancel the email while it’s in the process of being sent. If it has already been sent, this option turns in Undo Send, which allows you to correct your mistake with a couple clicks. If you don’t see the feature, click the gear icon in the upper-right corner and select Settings from the drop-down menu. Then, check the box beside Enable Undo Send in the Undo Send section. Here, you can also set a 5-, 10-, 20-, or 30-second cancellation period.
Send money instantly
Whenever you start to compose an email in Gmail, you can hit the dollar sign — or the pound sign, if you’re located in the United Kingdom — to use that email as a vehicle for sending money. It allows you to set an amount and input, or choose a payment method. When the recipient gets the email, they can “activate” the payment and the transaction will occur. Could you just use PayPal? Yes, but this option is just as useful when it comes to making quick, small payments.
Use Smart Reply to save time on responses
In the mobile version of Gmail, there is currently a feature called Smart Reply. It uses some of Google’s AI tech to automatically create a few quick responses (somewhat modeled after your email behavior) that you can immediately send. These range from a basic “thanks!” to more complex questions based on the email you are responding to. It doesn’t always work, but for simple responses, it can help you save a lot of time on your mobile device.
Save space with Drive
If you can’t fit a file on an email or prefer not mess around with attachments, use Google Drive instead. Every Compose window comes equipped with a Drive icon, which allows you to quickly attach Drive files from within your browser. It’s also handy if you need to share files that aren’t stored on the device you’re using… as long as Drive is one of the common storage options.
Synergize with LinkedIn
One of the great extensions to use in the business world is Rapportive, a Gmail extension that links the sender’s contact information with social media, specifically LinkedIn. Open an email from someone with a LinkedIn account and the tool will immediately show their profile information in a sidebar, along with links to their various social media accounts. It’s one of the best networking tools available if you regularly use Gmail.
Use Canned Responses to save even more time
Gmail Labs are experimental extensions that you can enable for free. Labs don’t always stick around, but Canned Responses has been on the block for years, so we feel confident recommending it. Head over to the gear icon, choose Settings, and click the Labs tab. One of the labs should say Canned Responses. Enable it, and you can create email templates that you can immediately copy into an email and tweak as needed. It’s ideal for customer service or tracking down leads.
Delegate some of your emails
Gmail offers a service that allows you to set up a series of delegates. These delegates have the ability to read and respond to your emails, and even manage your contacts, although they can’t chat or change your settings. Setting up delegates is useful if you are a busy professional and need an employee or team member to step in and check the latest responses when you simply don’t have enough time.
Try IFTTT configurations
IFTTT or “If This Then That” is a smart device platform that allows you to customize a variety of responses and scenes for your smart home. It also works with a lot of other things, including Gmail. Here are some examples of the IFTTT ideas already created by people and ready to be used. With the right recipe, you can save files directly to Drive, automatically sync Evernote and Todoist, trigger notifications, and carry out a bunch of other useful actions. Find the options that are best for your life, and you can transform your Gmail experience into something twice as useful.
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