Tricks about GMAIL
Web-based email is nothing new, Gmail introduces some new and unique
concepts. Managing email has become very easy while at the same time
having powerful tools to find and review information.
is probably the single most controversial aspect of Gmail. Opponents
have said that Google’s approach to inserting ads based on message
content is a huge privacy breach.
Gmail does not “read” your
email. Gmail does not breach your privacy. Gmail does not care about
your message content. All Gmail is doing is running your message
through a “processor” that looks for ad-related keywords so that it can
display unobtrusive targeted ads.
Another important point about
Gmail’s ads is that they are VERY unobtrusive. They are much like the
“Sponsored ads” you see on the right of a Google Search results screen.
In fact, they don’t even show up on every email message that you read,
and so far, that’s the only place you see the ads: when reading
messages. They don’t appear in any other screen. Gmail’s ads are FAR
less annoying than the flashy lights and huge billboards that services
like Yahoo Mail and Hotmail use. And, given that the ads are intended
to be targeted based on message content, you shouldn’t see inapropriate
or unrelated ads.
2.) Reading Messages:
Note a couple
things: First, no external graphics are displayed. By default, Gmail
disables displaying externally referenced graphics. The reason is that
many spam messages contain externally referenced graphics. When they
are displayed, the email sender can use this to track that you opened
the message thus validating your email address for future spam.
Clicking on the “Display External Images” link will display the images
if you want.
There is one glaring problem: If the original email
is HTML or Rich Text formatted, Gmail will strip out ALL formatting
including links, fonts, and images. ie: you can only reply in plain
3.) Archiving :
One of the first concepts that you
have to get used to with Gmail is that of “Archiving”. The overall
power of Gmail is in its message management, searching and archival
capabilities. With 1GB of storage, the average email user will have
enough storage space to hold several years worth of emails. Yes, there
will always be emails that you simply don’t want to keep.
a message simply tells Gmail to remove the message from your Inbox
screen and keep it in your “All Mail” screen. All emails will remain in
your inbox until you specifically “Archive” them. Archiving simply
removes the message from your inbox screen.But what happens to it?
Don’t worry, all messages are always accessible through the “All Mail”
screen. Archiving simply cleans up your inbox. Once a message has been
archived, should you ever want to, you can easily move it back to the
inbox, but there really isn’t a need for that.
4.) Labels :
Label is a way of classifying an email. It’s similar to “folders” but
it goes much farther: You can optionally assign a user-definable Label
to any email. Then, when you click on a specific label in the label
list on the left of the screen, Gmail displays only those emails under
that label. Sounds a lot like folders, right?
The power of
Labels shows in being able to assign multiple labels to an email. When
you organize emails in folders, an email can reside in only one folder
at a time. Say you have one folder called “Family” and another called
“Jokes”. Your brother sends you a joke email, so where do you put
it–the Family folder or the Jokes folder? Gmail’s Labels let you
assign multiple labels to each email, so you could label your brother’s
joke email with both “Family” AND “Jokes” labels.
At first, this
may not seem too exciting, but after a while, you will see how this
could be very powerful, especially with large numbers of accumulated
Gmail Tip #1: All About Labels
You can add a Label to a message in one of two ways:
1. If you are viewing a message listing, you can just click the
checkbox next to the message, click on the “Apply label…” dropdown,
and select the Label you want to apply. Gmail will display the Label
just to the left of the message’s Subject.
2. If you are viewing a
message, just click on the “Apply label…” dropdown, and select the
label you want to apply. Gmail will display the new label to the right
of the Subject line.
OK, you assigned a Label to a message, but
at a later time, you want to remove it. How do you do that? Just select
the Label view from the Labels box on the left, “select” the specific
message by clicking the checkbox next to the message, and then click on
the “Remove label ‘xxxx'” button at the top of the listing. Your label
has now been removed!
Gmail Tip #2: How to Maintain ‘Notes’
email providers provide a “Notes” function to let you maintain a list
of notes. For example you might keep Web site links, random thoughts,
etc. Gmail doesn’t offer this feature, but by using some of Gmail’s
other features, you can set up a very nice, easy to maintain group of
Here’s what you do:
First, create a Contact with a Name of “Notes” and an Email Address of “username+Notes@gmail.com”
Next, create a new Label called “Notes”
create a Filter to add the “Notes” Label any email addressed to
“username+Notes@gmail.com”. Also, check the “Skip the Inbox (Archive
The effect is this:
When you email
yourself from an email account other than your own Gmail account,
address the email to “username+Notes@gmail.com”. When the message
arrives in your Gmail account, it will automatically be archived into
your “Notes” Label view, bypassing the Inbox. Nice and organized.
Gmail Tip #3: The ‘Plus’ Side of Gmail
Like many Email providers, Gmail supports the standard “plus” addressing scheme. But just what is it, and how can it help me?
“plus” method of addressing lets you add additional words to your
account name (the “left side” of your email address.) For example, if
your email address is “email@example.com”, you could add “+club” when
you give your email address to members of a club to which you belong.
So, your email address would now be “firstname.lastname@example.org”. But why
would you want to do this? Think of the “plus” word as an extra
“keyword” or “tag” that you can use to better manage your messages.
our example, say you email an invitation to your friends in a club
asking them to rsvp to the invitaion. You ask them to reply to
“email@example.com” when sending you a responseif they don’t
want to come, and reply to “firstname.lastname@example.org”. Assuming they
follow your directions, You can then set up a Gmail Filters to
automatically route emails to specific Labels based on the addresses.
It’s a simple example, but the uses can be numerous.
is when you are shopping online. When asked for an email address, use
something like “email@example.com”. That way, whenever you get
future emails addressed to that address, you’ll know that it’s either
from Amazon directly or from someone to whom they sold your email
address. This can be a somewhat effctive way to track spam. Just be
aware that not all email systems recognize or accept “plus” addresses.
In fact, some spammers even strip it out completely, but it’s a cool
tool, none the less. The best way is to just try it and see if it works
for your application!
Gmail Tip #4: What Happens To Sent Messages?
When you “send” a message, two things happen to it:
1. it gets copied into your “All Mail” view, and
2. it is visible in the “Sent Mail” view.
email clients and Webmail services let you optionally delete all sent
messages by default, but Gmail doesn’t offer this feature. Here’s why…
of Gmail’s intentions is to get you out of the “trash everything”
mindset. This is one of the reasons why they offer 1GB of storage.
Gmail Tip #5: Advanced Search – View Multiple Labels :
has some advanced searching capabilities that, if you take the time to
learn, enables you drill down to very specific information.
you want to search for all messages having a specific label, you can
click on the “Show search options” link, click the “Search” dropdown,
select the desired Lable, and click the “Search Mail” button.
a shortcut is to type the Label prefixed with the “label:” query word
in any simple search field at the top of any Gmail page:
you want to view all messages that have selected multiple Labels, for
example messages having both ‘Label1’ and ‘Label2’, enter the following
into the simple search field at the top of any Gmail page:
To see all messages with either ‘Label1’ or ‘Label2’, you can enter:
label:Label1 OR label:Label2
the specific label names are NOT case sensitive, but the “OR” operator
is case sensitive, and must be in uppercase. The pipe operator ‘|’ can
also be used in the same manner as ‘OR’.
label:Label1 | label:Label2
Gmail Tip #6: Advanced Search – ‘Query Words’
of Gmail’s excellent features is its Search function.Searching can be
as simple as entering a keyword or two into the Search field at the top
of any page to very complex using Gmail’s advanced “Query Words” to
better constrain searches.
Clicking the “Show Search Options”
link will open up a pane containing several entry fields and dropdowns.
This lets you easily specify more detailed search criteria. For
example, say you want to search for all email that is unread,
regardless of under what Label it is filed. Simply click the “Search:”
dropdown, select “Unread Mail” and click the “Search Mail” button.
Gmail will display a list of all unread mesasges. Likewise, you can
select specific Labels and you can enter specific terms. It’s very
powerful and useful.
Gmail also provides users the ability to
prefix their search keywords with “query words” that instruct Gmail how
to search. And there is no need to open the Search Options–these can
be entered in the simple search window at the top of any page.
example, say you want to search for messages containing attachments
from your family sent before May 21, 2004? You would simply enter the
following advanced search criteria:
label:family has:attachment before:2004/5/21
this could actually be done in the Search Options pane, but in addition
to the available search criteria fields, query words not only let you
search using criteria not included in the Search Options pane, (like
“cc:” and “bcc:”) but you can do “compound” searches otherwise not
available in the Search Options pane. For example:
label:doctors label:statements has:attachment before:2004/5/21 in:anywhere
return all messages with both Labels of “Doctors” and “Statements”
containing attachments, sent before May 21, 2004, existing anywhere in
my account including the Trash and Spam views.
It’s pretty powerful, and fairly intuitive once you get the hang of it.
more information, you should check the direct link to Gmail’s “How do I
use advanced search?” help page found [here] (You may need to be logged
into your Gmail account to access this page.)
Gmail Tip #7: ‘Official’ Features and Bugs Status Page
to know what features and bugs the Gmail developers are currently
working on? Read on to learn how to access Gmail’s new “Features,
Fixes, & Feedback” page…
First, log into your Gmail
account. You must be logged into your account to access the help
screens. Next, click on the “Help” link located at the top of any Gmail
page. Next, click on the “Send Feedback” link on the left column.
You’ll be taken to a page detailing features Gmail is working on and
bugs being squashed!
Gmail Tip #8: Cleaning Your Contacts
of Gmail’s “features” can leave you with extra entries in your Contacts
list. Gmail has a (debatably) nice feature that automatically adds to
your Contacts list the email addresses of those to whom you send
emails. While this can be helpful at times, just remember that EVERY
unique email address you send to gets auto-added.
Log into your
Gmail account and click on the “Contacts” link at the top of any Gmail
page. A window will open displaying any Contacts you may have. Any you
have manually edited will typically have a “Name” and possibly a “Note”
associated with it. By default, any Contact Gmail auto-adds and is
unedited will not contain any “name” or “note” information, just the
email address. Visually scan down the list and look for any that fall
into this category. If you find one, determine what to do with it:
Delete is, Edit it, or leave it alone. Obviously what you do with it is
up to you,
Gmail Tip #9: New feature! Import Contacts
best explanation of just how to Import Contacts, log into your Gmail
account, click on Contacts, and click on the new “Import Contacts” link
at the top of the Contacts screen.
But what can you import and
how do you import? Gmail will let you import address books into
Contacts from Yahoo!, Orkut, Outlook, and pretty much any other service
by uploading CSV (Comma Separated Value) files to your Gmail account.
You can even manually edit and create CVS files for importing using
Just remember that currently, Gmail’s Contacts
fields are limited to just “Name”, “Email Address”, and “Notes”.
According to the Help screen, all other fields will be imported into
the Notes field.
Gmail Tip #10: Find Your Unread Messages
a quick and easy way to view all of your “Unread” messages? If you have
assigned Labels and archived unread messages, finding them later can
sometines be challenging. Simply create a Gmail Label named “Unread”,
and you will see all of your unread mail in that folder. Though there
are other ways to display unread messages, the nice thing about this
method is that it displays the number of unread messages right in the
Gmail Tip #11: Creating a Pseudo Address Group!
Although Gmail doesn’t currently support Groups in your Contacts, you can simulate a Group list by doing the following:
1. Create a new Contact
2. In the “Name” field, enter the name of your Group (eg “My Friends”)
3. In the “E-mail” field, enter your list of email addresses in the following format:
Note three things:
1. You must enter “>,<” (without the quotes) between all addresses.
2. Be sure NOT to include a leading “<” or trainling “>”. This is
intentional, because during auto-complete, Gmail adds these characters
to the beginning and end of the full string that is in the e-mail field.
3. Also, there should be no spaces in the string.
Gmail Tip #12: Adding Hotmail Contacts to Gmail
you have a lot of Hotmail contacts that you would like to add to your
Gmail Contacts? “Montevino” submitted this tip on how to do just that.
set up Outlook Express to access your Hotmail account (by creating a
new account, making it HTML, not POP3, and giving your Hotmail account
name and password.) Then, open Windows Address Book, and synchronize.
Address Book finds and auto-ads your Hotmail contacts. You can then
easily output your addresses to a *.CSV file, which can then be
imported into Gmail.
Gmail Tip #13: ‘Gmail Notifier’ released to beta!
Gmail Notifier is a downloadable Windows application that alerts you
when you have new Gmail messages. It displays an icon in your system
tray to let you know if you have unread Gmail messages, and shows you
their subjects, senders and snippets, all without your having to open a
You can also have it be the default “mailto:”
handler so that when you click on an email address on a Web page, Gmail
Notify will open a Compose Window.
You can even define a sound to play when new mail arrives!
To download, go here:
For FAQ’s, go here:
Gmail Tip #14: Improved and New Contacts Features!
The “Contacts” function has been enhanced to provide some additional functionality, and now adopts the familiar Gmail interface.
now displays a “Contacts” link in the left column under the “standard
views” (Inbox, Starred, etc.) and just above the Labels. Clicking on
the link brings up a nicely formatted display that matches the style of
the rest og GMail. It displays the contact name, email address, Note,
and any additional information (see below). At the top are two “tabs”
that display “Frequently Mailed” and “All Contacts”. I don’t know what
the criteria for “Frequently Mailed” is, but it does contain the
Here are some new or expanded features:
on a contact displays the contact information as well as “Recent
Conversations” associated with that contact. Clicking on one of these
entries opens it normally with all options available. Very nice.
ADD MORE CONTACT INFO
on “Edit” allows you to update the basic contact information (Names,
Email Address, Note). But there’s a new link: “Add More Contact Info”
which lets you add additional “Sections” of information. For example,
by default there are “Personal” and “Work” sections defined. Each
section contains a Section Name field, Two user-selectable “fields” and
an “Address” block. Each User Field has a drop-down label containing
the following selectable labels: Phone, Mobile, FAX, Pager, Email, IM,
Company, Title, Other. You can also add additional fields as needed.
the top of the Contacts screen is a Search field and a “Search
Contacts” button. Entering text into this field and clicking the button
returns all contacts that BEGINS WITH the text. This is important to
know because it will search ALL contact fields (even the :extended
fields) for words beginning with the entered text. For example,
entering “Ste” would return “Stephanie”, “Steve”, and “Stewart” but
entering “phani” would not return “Stephanie”. Obviously, it would be
nice to have extended search capabilities, but this is an excellent
Clicking on the “Add Contact” link lets
you enter the standard “Basic” information, and clicking the “Add More
Contact Info” link opens the extended information screen as descrived
The “Import Contacts” links is still
there letting you import contacts from a CSV file. According to the
documentation, “other” information gets imported into a Notes field.
There is no mention of importing into the new “extended” fields.
really makes this shine is the fact that it now uses the same interface
as the rest of Gmail giving it some better consistency. That has always
been one of Gmail’s strengths: a slick, clean, non-cluttered, fast
interface. The added Contacts handling keeps with that philosophy.
Gmail Tip #15: Drafts!
now has the capability to save “Drafts” of your messages! If you are in
the middle of composing a message, but want to finish it later, just
click on the “Save Draft” button now located between the “Send” and
“Discard” buttons. This droops the message in a new view located on the
left side called “Drafts” located under the “Sent Mail” link and above
the “All Mail” link. Later, you can just click on the message, complete
it, and then click “Send” normally.
Gmail Tip #16: Auto-forward received Gmail!
to use your Gmail account as your main email account but have some or
all email auto-forwarded to other email accounts? Well, now you can!
Gmail has added tha ability to forward received emails in two ways: “All” or “Selective”
is a “global” setting that lets you optionally forward all received
email to another email address. Click on the “Settings” link, and click
on the new “Forwarding” tab. In there, you have the option do Disable
or Enable email forwarding. Click on Enable, enter the email address to
which you want to forward, and then select one of the following
self-explanatory actions from the associated dropdown:
-keep Gmail’s copy in the Inbox
-archive Gmail’s copy
-trash Gmail’s copy
This setting will forward all received email to another email address and take the appropriate action on the received email.
have also been enhanced with a new “Forward it to: emailaddress” action
letting you selectivly forward emails based on filter criteria. You can
use the same or different email addresss for each filter if you choose
providing very powerful email management. For example, I may get
statement notifications from a bank and want to auto-copy it to my
wife. I just set up a filter to select emails with the bank’s sending
email address and then select the “Forward it to:” action and enter my
wife’s email address. Now, she’ll get notified also!
Gmail Tip #17: Google Gmail Minibrowser
Google Deskbar includes a minibrowser that you can use to quickly open
your Gmail account in convenient window that automatically hides and
can be accessed with a keyboard shortcut. Read on for more information
about this tool…
The Google Deskbar is a little Google search tool
for Windows taskbar. It can do most of the Google searches using
shortcut keys too. (See the link for a picture.) It also include
Google’s “Minibrowser” which is fast and cute. If you press
Ctrl-Alt-G—by default, you can turn it off—you’ll go right to the bar.
Typing a search, by default, will open in the mini browser—again you
can turn it off if you want or have it use your default browser
So here’s the tip: Go to Options > Customized
Searches > Add. Name it “Gmail” and put in the url:
http://gmail.google.com/gmail. For the shortcut I used Ctrl M. So if I
press Ctrl alt G, then Ctrl M, instant GMail window in the Google
(Google Desktop isn’t included in the
default searches either. (Yet!) But you can also add it in the
customize dialogue to search your desktop just as easily. Since the
minibrowser vanishes automatically it’s tres convenient to find a