Although late in to the war of email services, Gmail has certainly made a mark for itself against established email services like Yahoo mail and Hotmail (now Outlook). It might not boast of largest user base, but it surely is the most popular email service used worldwide. Part of the reason for its popularity is its robust feature set and tie in with other google services. Google also continues to make it better by making the spam detection algorithm more robust, adding functionalities like Priority Inbox or categorizing of mails.
But, users can make their usage of Gmail even better by fine tuning some options. There have been many since the inception of Gmail, but as we know, Gmail has evolved itself both in terms of interface and functionalities. So, we thought it would be interesting to revisit some useful tips and tricks-
Gmail’s Default Labels
Labels, as the name suggests gives an additional signal to the email. So, you can know if the mail is regarding work, regarding some personal stuff, regarding finances, etc. These labels can be decided by us only and can be added to any email. However, Google is now trying to automatically help us by having 5 labels for everyone: Primary (All important emails), Social (emails from social networks), Promotions (promotional emails from e-commerce websites), Updates (emails from newsletters, banks, etc.) and Forums (emails from forum).
Depending upon your need and usage, you can enable any of them, all of them or even none at all. Although, don’t expect that Gmail will be fully accurate at one go, some emails might go in wrong tabs. But, you can change that as the email can be dragged and dropped to the relevant tab and Gmail will remember it from next time. This means that over the time, the app will make it very easier for you to find important emails in one tab and all other emails in the respective tab.
If you don’t like this feature, then only select Primary category of emails and you can continue receiving emails in the usual fashion. Even in this case, you have an option of ‘Priority Inbox’ where Gmail tries to offer important emails to you at top and all other emails at bottom.
Adding labels yourself and automating the process
As we said earlier, you can always add labels to the emails yourself. This can be done by multiple ways: Going to settings and then Labels tab, you will see the option to create a new label. You can also give the label some color, so that you can recognize the email instantly. Another useful feature is Nested Labeling, this means that you can have several labels under a parent label.
The biggest problem, however, with labels is that you have to select the label after reading the email. Won’t it be useful if you the label is automatically added depending upon its type? In Gmail, a label can be directly added once you create a filter. You can do that by selecting the email and going to ‘More’ at the top and clicking ‘filter messages like these’. This will open a detailed search bar which you can fill as per your need and select Create a Filer.Now you are presented with the options you want to enable when such kind of emails come including applying the label. You can add other options as well if you have that need.
Many a times we are not able to find that one email that has been sent by us to someone or vice versa. Searching by name/ email of that person will bring up all the emails exchanged between both and thus not helping much. Gmail coming from the stable of search giant Google offers robust search features which can be checked by selecting arrow button at the right of the search bar. This will bring up the advanced search allowing you to be more specific about you search such searching only sent emails/ inbox/ chat/ etc., searching through the subject, attachments in the email and even date/ month of the email.
We have barely scratched the surface as the Gmail offers several other features and we have just discussed few settings and their tweaks. Stay tuned as it will become more interesting in Part 2.