When you return to work after some time off, your inbox is often a wild mess of unopened emails. Even though video and chat services like Zoom and Slack are integral parts of the workday, email isn’t on its way out the digital door.
If you have an email account with Gmail, you probably know the basics. Even so, there are lots of Gmail features and tricks you might have missed that can help you streamline your digital life. For example, did you know that there are also third-party apps that work with Google’s email service, such as Kiwi for Gmail, which brings together multiple accounts in one app?
Even if you’re a veteran Gmail user, here are 10 tools and tips to help you work smarter — not harder.
Clean up your inbox
It doesn’t take long for my inbox to spiral out of control, even if I’m liberally using the select-all-plus-delete combo. Fortunately, there’s another way to parse through the ancient digital weeds in your inbox. If you’re certain that you don’t need any emails before a certain date, you can type in “before:<DD/MM/YYYY>” into the search field and enter the date of your choice. This will filter your inbox so you can more efficiently use the select-all button to delete old emails.
Access multiple accounts
If you have more than one active Gmail account, you can switch between them easily. Simply click your profile icon in the top right (mobile or desktop) and choose Add Another Account. From there you’ll just sign in, and you’ll be able to access it when you click your profile icon in the future. However, if you don’t access one of the accounts frequently enough, it will sign you out.
With so many websites asking for your email address these days, your inbox might start looking like an overflowing trash can. You might also just want to better organize emails and prioritize emails from certain people. This is where filters come in handy. To set up a filter, open Gmail, click the settings gear and choose See All Settings. From there, click Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a New Filter.
You can customize your filter to organize emails by sender, recipient, subject, keywords and other factors. When you’ve got it to your specifications, click Create Filter.
Set up a signature
Setting up a signature in Gmail can save you a step when composing a message and make your emails look more professional. To set up a signature for all outgoing messages, open Gmail > Settings gear > See All Settings. From there, scroll down until you see Signature and click Create New. Any signatures you’ve created will be visible in Settings, where you can edit or delete them at any time.
Undo a sent message
If you’re like me, you’ve second-guessed yourself after hitting the Send button at least once. Luckily, Gmail has a grace feature called Undo Send. Right after you hit Send, a message at the bottom of the screen will pop up saying the message was sent, but there’s also the option to Undo or View Message. When you click Undo, Gmail will stop sending the message. You can also edit how long you have to cancel a message. To get Undo Send set up, go to Settings > See All Settings and scroll down to Undo Send. From there you can set a send cancellation window of 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.
Schedule your emails
Scheduling a message is handy if you’ve got co-workers or friends in different time zones and don’t want to risk bothering them with an email notification at odd hours. To schedule a message, simply type up what you want to say and instead of clicking Send, click the little down arrow and select Schedule send. Gmail will suggest some possible times, but you can also manually input a specific send time.
Get help with Smart Compose
Gmail’s Smart Compose works like predictive text and is meant to streamline your writing process. For example, while you’re typing “I’ll call you,” Google Smart Compose will suggest “tomorrow.” Just hit Tab to accept the suggestion; otherwise, keep typing. If you’re not a fan of Smart Compose, you can toggle it off in Settings.
Gmail’s spell-checking tool can take some of the stress out of sending important emails. The spell checker can help with words you’re actually unsure of as well as simple hiccups from typing too fast. And Gmail will keep the word underlined if it changes it so you can choose to undo the change if you don’t like it. On top of that, Gmail has grammar and autocorrect features. Everything can be turned on or off in Settings > Spell Check.
We’ve all been stuck in an email group that won’t seem to quiet down. The next time this happens to you, simply open the pesky email, click the three-dot settings icon just above the email subject line and select Mute in the drop-down menu. Just like with the Undo Send, you’ll have an opportunity to Unmute if you clicked by accident.
Label your messages
Labels can make your inbox way more manageable. They’re kind of like filters (and you can set up a filter to send an email to certain labels). Labels live in the sidebar where you’ll find Inbox, Sent, Junk and other folders. Scroll down and click Create New Label. From there, you can name your label as well as create group labels. For example, if you’re getting organized for school, the main label could be Biology Class and you could group labels about class projects and submitted assignments.