Every day, I get a lot of emails and it takes me hours to sort through them. It became hard to focus on the important stuff, and this compelled me to look for solutions to look for solutions.
I’ve put together this list so I can help others get their email under control and get back to using it for what it’s really meant for: receiving information and communicating with others.
Here are 21 hacks, extensions, tips, and tricks for a hassle-free Gmail experience.
Note: Don’t forget to click the “Save Changes” button every time you change a settling.
Explore Google Labs
Google Labs contains Google’s experimental features for users who want to maximize their productivity and use the latest features. To access Google Labs, click on the gear icon on the upper right, click settings, and go to the “Labs” tab.
If you’re always typing the same things and answering the same questions, this Google Labs trick is for you. To make a new response, click Compose, then click on the arrow at the bottom right and select “New Canned Response”.
Use aliases to separate your incoming mail
Let’s say your email is email@example.com and you want emails from Amazon to be separated. You can register or change your Amazon account to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Emails from Amazon will still go to your email, but you can filter your aliases through the settings. You can use any word, such as email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Color code your inbox with stars
Colored stars can be enabled under the General tab in settings. This trick allows you to, for example, use gold stars to mark important emails, red for urgent emails, blue stars for Ebay, green for business, etc.
Use Smartlabels to filter emails
If you subscribe to a lot of forums or services that send a lot of notifications, this Google Labs feature is worth enabling. It will label these emails accordingly so that you can focus on more important mail.
Maintain your privacy with Ugly Email
Ugly Email is a Google Chrome extension that puts an evil eye next to any email in your inbox that is being tracked. Install this to prevent the senders from knowing whether or not you’ve opened their email.
Access your mail without internet with Gmail Offline
Gmail Offline is available in the Chrome Web Store. It lets you access your mail offline without having to install a separate desktop email client, which is usually slower and not as easy to set up.
Work faster and prevent wrist pain with keyboard shortcuts
Gmail is fully usable without a mouse. Enable them under Settings > General and look for a list of keyboard shortcuts online and practice using them. Checking mail while on a laptop will be much easier and quicker.
Schedule your emails using Boomerang
Boomerang is an application that lets you send an email at a certain time so you won’t have to remind yourself to send it later. After you install it, a “Boomerang” button will appear on your Gmail.
Personalize your Gmail with themes
Click the gear icon and select Themes to choose a background. You can choose from some beautiful images or upload one of your own, so you’ll always have something nice to look at while sorting through your emails.
Use Mailburn to easily correspond with people on your phone
Mailburn makes your email look like a messaging system. It only shows conversations with real people and displays them chatbox-style. With this app, you won’t have to deal with email notifications and updates from websites on your phone.
Take a break from checking email using the Out of Office message
Let people know you aren’t available to respond to their mail by enabling the Vacation Responder setting, which is located under the General tab in settings. Type a message and choose whether only your contacts will be informed.
This setting is found under the General tab in the setting. It gives you up to 30 seconds to decide if you want to cancel an email you’ve just sent.
Copy and paste images into your email
If you want to put a picture from the web in your email, simply copy and paste it or drag the image to your email. No need to use the “insert photo” button.
Use MailTrack.io to know if your emails are being read or ignored
MailTrack.io is a Chrome extension that lets you know when your email has been opened by the recipient, rather than waiting weeks only to find out that they didn’t see it because your email went to their spam inbox.
For Dropbox users, install Dropbox for Gmail to easily send files
This extension adds a Dropbox button to your Gmail page, allowing you to quickly share files from Dropbox through email without having to upload any files.
Easily find attachments
If you’re looking for a certain attachment, type “has:attachhment” in the search bar before your keywords so that Gmail will only search through emails with attachments.
Open the conversation you want to mute, press More, and then select Mute. This will send all future messages to your archive rather than your inbox. You can unmute them in the future if you wish.
De-clutter your inbox with filter Emails
Click on the Filters and Blocked Addresses tab in the settings and create a new filter. You can filter certain addresses or keywords. Click “Create filter with this search” and choose what you want Gmail to do with these emails.
Use basic mode
If you have low bandwidth, an old computer, or slow internet connection, Gmail has a basic mode that loads faster. Copy and paste this link to your browser to login: https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html&zy=h. Bookmark it for easy access.
Organize your mail with Labels
Go to settings and choose Labels. Scroll down to see the list of labels. You can also create your own categories such as “Online shopping” or “Business”. Categorize emails with the Label button, which is next to the More button.
Although it may seem overwhelming at first, learning these things really save time and energy in the long run. Please let me know what you think of them in the comments, and tell me how you manage your email too!