Gmail is one of the most widely used email services. Almost all web users have a Gmail account; while some might even have multiple Gmail accounts. What’s best about Gmail is that like all other Google services, it is very simple to use and provides powerful capabilities. You can put a Gmail account for personal or professional use.
Like other Google services, Gmail has some easter-eggs or hidden features that can really improve your experience over the email service. In this article, we’ll be covering 20 hidden features of Gmail that will increase your Gmail productivity.
This section covers the frequently used terms in the article. Please read these before advancing to the 20 hidden features of Gmail article to avoid confusion.
Italic text -> Name of a feature/settings
Bold & italicized text -> Name of some Gmail Labs feature, etc.
20 hidden features of Gmail
Creating spam filters
You can use a unique Gmail feature to create spam filters. These spam filters can be used for subscribing to less-interesting Internet services or one-time online registrations.
What you need to do – To avoid newsletters and other unnecessary mails from piling up in your inbox, you can enter a variant of you your original email ID while subscribing for such services. For example, if you have a Gmail ID like FirstnameLastname@gmail.com, then you can enter your ID as nameLastname@gmail.com for the subscription service. You’ll receive all the mails dropped to the First.nameLastname@gmail.com in your ID. Now, create a filter to delete all messages sent to this email ID, and you are all done!
Sync your contacts
You can easily sync all your smartphone contacts with your Gmail ID. It can be done on any Android, BlackBerry, iOS, and Windows Phone running device.
What you need to do – Let’s take the example of an Android device. On your Android device, go to Settings>Add Account. Now, follow instructions to add your Gmail ID. You may wish to skip this step as the first time you start your Android device with a SIM inserted, it lets you sync an email ID. Now, whenever you’ll add a new contact save the number to your Gmail ID. In this way, the number & other contact details will be saved on both your device and on your Gmail ID. You can access all these contacts from your Gmail Address Book anytime. Other smartphone platforms can be synced in the same manner, with only some minor differences.
Merge duplicate contacts
If you have the same contact multiple times in your Gmail Address Book, then you can use an option called Find Duplicates to remove redundancy.
What you need to do – Go to the top left corner. Click on the small downward arrowhead in front of the Gmail. Now, click on Contacts. You’ll now see an option labelled Find Duplicates in the left menu bar, click it. A list of all duplicate contacts will come in front of you. Click on the Merge All option to merge duplicate contacts. Any same info between two duplicate contacts will be retained only once while separate information between the contacts will be saved into the output contact.
Restore deleted contacts
You can restore deleted Google contacts within 30 days. This is a great option if you’ve accidentally deleted a contact or simply, require a recently deleted contact.
What you need to do – Go to Contacts. Click on More>Restore contacts. Choose the time when you deleted the contacts, and hit Restore.
Create an email filter
Filters are a very convenient way to work with mails. It lets you create and deal with different categories of emails. You can allow mails of one filter to be the first ones to be archived, while the other filter mails can go directly to the Trash.
What you need to do – Click on the gear-like icon present on right side of the Gmail screen. Click on Settings. Now, go to the Filter tab and hit Create a new filter You’ll now be asked to choose the basis for the filter, add necessary info. Thereafter, you can apply the action for the filter, like Archive it or Delete it.
You can check out a lot of experimental stuff designed for Gmail. All such stuff can be found under a tab labelled Labs.
What you need to do – Click on the gear-like symbol. Go to Settings, open the Labs You can select one/many of the experimental features available here.
Adding Google Calendar to Gmail
With the help of Gmail Labs, you can add Google Calendar to Gmail.
What you need to do – Go to the Labs tab in the Settings. Type Google Calendar gadget in the search bar and hit enter. Click on Enable radio button next to the Google Calendar gadget frame to integrate a box in the left column of your Gmail main screen.
Snooze your Gmail ID
You can snooze an email in your Gmail ID by using a Gmail app dubbed Boomerang.
What you need to do – Use the app. Open an email, and set the amount of time that you want the mail to take before it reappears in your Gmail inbox.
If you’re very serious about you Gmail emails, then you can really make use of Gmail desktop notifications.
What you need to do – Go to the gear-like icon on the right side of the Gmail screen. Click on it, hit Settings. Scroll down and you’ll see an option dubbed Desktop Notifications. Choose options, done!
Delete every single mail in your Gmail ID
If you think your Gmail is full of unnecessary emails, then you can take care of all of ‘em once and for all.
What you need to do – Click on the little checkbox present on the top of the Email tabs. Now, click on the delete button to delete every mail in your Gmail account.
Using the Gmail Labs feature, you can unsend mails. However, it works only for a few seconds after you hit the send button.
What you need to do – Go to Labs tab in the Settings Search for Undo send. Enable the feature to add an Undo Send feature to your Gmail.
Add stars and symbols to your emails
You can use 6 different stars and 6 different symbols to mark all your emails.
What you need to do – Click the gear-like symbol. Go to the General tab and then to Stars, select all the stars and symbols that you wish to use and then hit the Save Changes
Create To-Do list
Gmail lets you add tasks. You can also create a to-do list with a number of tasks, with their deadlines and briefings.
What you need to do – Click on the small downward arrowhead next to Gmail. Now, click on Tasks A simple Gmail app will be appended to the bottom of your Gmail screen. You can add tasks with options via this app.
Activate keyboard shortcuts
Gmail lets you activate keyboard shortcuts to speed up your mailing experience.
What you need to do – Click on the gear-like option on the top left side of the screen. Go to Settings. In the General Look for Keyboard shortcuts. Select the Keyboard shortcuts on radio button.
You can monitor all your Gmail account activity by visiting a button dubbed Details built onto the account activity monitor present at the bottom of the Gmail screen. In case, of any unusual or suspicious activity, you can log out from your Gmail account on all other devices.
What you need to do – Click on the Details button in the account activity monitor lying on the bottom of your Gmail screen. A separate window, with details of your previous logins will be opened. Click on the Sign out all other web sessions.
Forward all your incoming mails
You can forward all your incoming mails to some other email address.
What you need to do – Click the gear-like button on right-side of the screen. Go to Settings>Forwarding and POP/IMAP. Click on the Add a forwarding address option, and insert the email address that you might like to have all the mails sent to your current Gmail account.
See an email header
Email header is one of the vital ways to differentiate a spam email from a genuine one. It contains all the information at one single place, including sender email ID, receiver email ID and email content.
What you need to do – Open an email that you wish to check. Near the reply option, click on the small arrowhead pointing downwards. Click on the Show original option to get header information.
Deep search Gmail
Gmail has a powerful search engine. It offers a lot of options to find exactly what you’re looking for.
What you need to do – Click on the small down-facing arrowhead on the Gmail search bar. Select all the valid filter search options and hit the magnifier icon.
Load Gmail on slower connections
You can manually type the email address to access Gmail on slower networks.
What you need to do – You can visit plain HTML and Mobile versions of the Gmail. Type: https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=html for HTML version and, https://mail.google.com/mail/?ui=mobile for accessing the Mobile version of Gmail.
Faster Gmail account switching
You can quickly switch between multiple Gmail accounts by manually typing the Web address in the address bar of your browser.
What you need to do – Type, https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/ for accessing first Gmail account, and https://mail.google.com/mail/u/1/ for accessing your second Gmail account.
That completes the list of 20 hidden features of Gmail. Hope you find the list useful!