Tips

Smarter

Use stars to indicate a note is special.

Use stars to easily mark certain messages as important or indicate that you need to reply to them later. Try Superstars in Gmail Labs for more star options.

Use filters to control the flow of incoming mail.

Set up filters to automatically label, archive, delete, star, or forward certain types of incoming messages.

You can create a filter based on any message — just choose "Filter messages like this" from the "More actions" drop-down menu to get started.

Highlight important emails using filters and colored labels.

Set up filters so that emails from certain senders (or on certain topics) automatically appear with colored labels. That way, you can scan new mail just by looking at the colors.

Avoid email gaffes with Undo Send.

Oops, hit "Send" too soon? Give yourself a grace period of a few seconds to cancel sending, then edit your message before sending again.

Nothing says "I'm excited" like a bouncing happy face emoticon.

If you're tired of not being able to find the right words to express yourself, emoticons can help. Gmail has tons of images (smiley faces, food icons, broken hearts, and more) that you can use in your messages and chats.

To add an emoticon, just click the smiley face "Insert Emoticon" button on the toolbar and select the image you want. For even more options, enable Extra Emoji in Labs ("emoji" is Japanese for emoticons).

See which messages were sent right to you.

"Personal level indicators" put arrows next to messages in your inbox so you can tell if an email was addressed to you directly.

A single arrow (›) is for emails sent to both you and others and double arrows (») indicate emails sent just to you. Switch the "Personal level indicators" option to "Show indicators" under Settings to see them.

Forget to sign out of a public computer? Sign out remotely.

If you sign into Gmail from multiple computers, but are worried you may have forgotten to sign out of one, you can sign out remotely.

At the bottom of your inbox, you'll see information about the time and location of the last activity on your account. Click "Details" to see whether your account is still open in another location and "Sign out all other sessions" to close other open sessions.

Personalize your RSS feeds in web clips.

Gmail display feeds (news headlines and blog posts), ads and other information in the Web Clips section at the top of your inbox. There are feeds chosen by default, but you can customize yours by clicking the "Web Clips" tab in Settings.

Faster

Preview attachments without downloading them.

You can easily preview an attached document instead of downloading and opening it in a separate program.

Just click the "View" or "View as HTML" link to open a preview in a new window.

 

Send email from your phone.

Use Gmail for mobile to read and send emails on the go, or use Gmail's free IMAP to sync with your phone's own email client. Just type www.gmail.com into your phone's browser to get started.

Quickly add multiple attachments to an email.

If you want to send a few files from the same folder, simply hold down the Ctrl key (Cmd on Macs) and click on each file you want to attach to your message, or hold down the Shift key to select a continuous group of files. You'll see progress bars on each attachment as it uploads.

Set up canned responses instead of typing the same reply over and over again.

If you find yourself typing the same reply multiple times, try turning on Canned Responses in Labs. Compose your reply once, save it, and easily use the same message later.

If you want to be fully automated, you can even set up filters that automatically reply to specific messages with different canned responses.

Shift-click to quickly select multiple messages.

To select multiple messages, just select the first message in the series, hold down the shift key and then select the last message. You can apply any action, like archiving or adding a label, to this whole set of messages.

Get through your mail faster with keyboard shortcuts.

Using keyboard shortcuts will help you shave milliseconds off every action, which can add up to a lot of saved minutes each week.

Enable keyboard shortcuts in Settings and use "j" and "k" to navigate up and down within your inbox, "o" to open messages, "r" to reply, "c" to compose, "s" to add or remove a star, "e" to archive, and more. Hit "?" at any time to see the reference guide with a full list of keyboard shortcuts.

Stronger

Clean up your inbox using "Move to" -- it works just like folders.

You can use the "Move to" button at the top of your inbox to easily move a message out of your inbox and add a label at the same time — just as if you were moving it to a folder.

If you have lots of labels, you can pick the one you want by typing the first couple characters and let auto-complete find the right one.

Use search operators to find the exact message you're looking for.

The real power of Gmail search lies in search operators, or words that help modify your queries.

For example, if you want a specific email Lisa sent containing a pdf, type "from:lisa has:attachment," or to find all the messages in your inbox sent directly to you that you haven't read yet, type "to:me is:unread in:inbox." Turn on Search Autocomplete in Labs to make using search operators even easier.

Archive messages to tidy up your inbox without deleting anything.

Gmail gives you tons of free storage space so you can save everything you want. While messages in your trash get deleted after 30 days, archived messages are kept forever.

Archiving messages moves them out of your inbox and into "All Mail" for safekeeping, so you can search for them later. It's like moving old email to a giant storage room that you never have to organize.

Join forces to rid the world of spam.

Gmail users play an important role in blocking spam — when you report an email as spam, our system quickly learns to start blocking similar messages.

The more spam the community marks, the smarter our system becomes. If you see a spam message, click "Report Spam" to do your part.

Search your mail instead of sorting.

Instead of sorting by date or sender, you can enter keywords in the Gmail search box to find the exact message you're looking for.

It works just like Google search: if you're looking for a message that contains the word "shopping," simply type shopping in the search box and press Search Mail.

Use Tasks as a handy to-do list.

Add new items to your tasks list by clicking the "Tasks" link under "Contacts" on the left of your screen, or you can convert emails into tasks by clicking the More Actions menu and selecting "Add to Tasks."

You can also access your task list from your mobile phone at www.gmail.com/tasks.

Save notes in your drafts.

Using the draft functionality is a great way to keep notes that you need to keep handy and refer to often. Just compose a new message, type or paste the note, and save it as a draft.