2/15/2008

11 Power Tips for Gmail

Wow, I can’t believe how many people commented on my late-Friday night post about desired features for Gmail. If you want to suggest something for Gmail, that thread is the better place to do it. But looking through the comments, I saw a few requests that can already be done today. Considering that real Gmail users didn’t know about these options, I’m going to call them power tips.

Stylized Gmail logo

  1. Wayne Schulz said “I want to be able to paste images into the email.” Wayne, it’s not quite the same as pasting images into emails, but one thing that makes image attachments easier is the dragdropupload Firefox extension. You know how you can click “Attach a file” and then you’ll see the familiar “enter a file location or Browse..” form appear? With dragdropupload, you can drag any file (e.g. from your Desktop) and drop it in that text box. It’s a fantastic extension that makes it much faster to include attachments or upload files, and I use it all the time.
  2. Jason Bartholme asked about “A sort that would allow for my unread messages to be at the top.” Jason, trying doing a search for label:unread label:inbox . That should show only unread messages that are currently in your inbox. By the way, did you like how I shared a search with you? That was a tip from the Gmail blog. There are other cool labels you can use as well.
  3. Julian says

    I would like to have a feature for inserting prepared text blocks, so I dont have to write some things over and over again.

    Julian, if you use Firefox, check out the Signature firefox extension to insert text macros. That might work for you.

  4. Daniel asked

    Crazy feature: I’d like to be able to have an easy way to migrate my entire Google account to a different gmail address, because I can’t find a step-by-step guide or anything to help me switch emails without losing various things.

    According to this post you can enable POP on your old account (look under Settings, then “Forwarding and POP/IMAP”), then import the emails (also using POP) into the new account. I think you could use Gmail’s Mail Fetcher utility to do this. To configure Mail Fetcher on the newer account, click on Gmail’s Settings link, then “Accounts” and then “Add another mail account.” Google Operating System (an unofficial blog that discusses Google often) has a couple relevant posts with a walkthough of using Gmail’s Mail Fetcher and a write-up on how to back up your Google account.

  5. Sankarananad asked a related question:

    I would love to integrate my google apps account with my default gmail account. Although right now google allows to associate email address there is no way to integrate or link two google accounts (say one @gmail.com and another yourdomain.com powered by google apps).

    Right now the only solution is to forward mails from one box to another! If google makes integration possible we can use a single inbox to check mails from all those email address

    I’m not as familiar with the interaction of regular Gmail versus Gmail on Google Apps. This post described a scary-looking way that might work. If there’s a better way, maybe someone will stop by and let me know?

  6. Search Engines Web asked:

    The ability to open Word, Excel, PowerPoint and PDF without going to another page and using another software

    S.E.W, this post from Lifehacker mentions that Gmail can offer HTML view or Google Doc options for Word and Excel.

  7. Easton Ellsworth mentioned

    I’d love to be able to resize the email composition box on the default page - so instead of having to click the icon to open the whole draft in a new resizable window, I’d be able to click and drag to make the draft box bigger (especially vertically).

    Easton, check out the Resizeable text area extension for Firefox. It lets you click on the border of any form textarea and drag the border so the textarea expands. I haven’t checked how it works on the latest version of Gmail though.

  8. 1001 noisy cameras said “I think the ability to open emails in new windows would be great - it would help those users who are always multi-tasking.” If you’re looking at an email look at the top-right of the page and click on “New window” to open that email in a separate email.
  9. Diego asked

    I don’t know if this would be possible, but how about, when clicking on the compose link (or reply etc) if I hold some key as I click on Compose, it opens the new email in its own window? Same thing could go for Replies etc.

    Diego, instead of using ‘c’ to compose a new email, type ‘C’ and you’ll open a new window to compose your email. It looks like using ‘R’ instead of ‘r’ to reply will open a new email for replies too.

  10. jonathon asked “Is it me or does the pop3 server sometimes stop working when downloading email from gmail?” I’ve been using getmail to back up my Gmail, and I’ve noticed that Google will only let you download a few hundred emails in one batch. If you fetch again, you’ll often catch up. So usually it’s just a matter of being patient.

I heard a lot of great suggestions that I wouldn’t even have thought of. For example, I liked the idea of a “bounce” option for unwanted emails to make it look as if your email address didn’t exist. Oh, and since so many people asked for cool features, let me add one more feature I want: let me set a different vacation message for co-workers compared to people outside Google. Maybe in Google Apps for Gmail, if you are managing example.com, let people on example.com set a different vacation message for people on example.com vs. other domains?

By the way, what was the funniest suggestion I saw? Jeff Hall won with “A USB breathalyzer kit for a friend who forgets how embarrassing her e-mails are when she gets drunk. The e-mails could be delayed until she provides a negative sample.” :)

And here’s your bonus tip. If you’re a Gmail power user, three links to check out are the Gmail tag on Lifehacker, the official Gmail blog, and Google Operating System. Lifehacker does so many posts per day that limiting to the Gmail tag will narrow down the posts you see. The Gmail blog is the best place to get official Gmail news first. And Google OS seems to have Gmail-related posts pretty often.

MattCutts

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