15 Gmail Hacks Guaranteed to Free Up an Hour of Your Day
How to file your entire inbox automatically and the basic keyboard shortcuts that are too simple not to remember (hint: ‘r’ is for reply).
Make the most of your email
Most people get over 15 emails a day. If you’re juggling your work email and a personal email account, things can get quite overwhelming. Educate yourself on these Gmail hacks to keep your inbox organized and learn how to reply in half the time. First, you might want to learn about these creepy things Google knows about you.
Gmail hack: Organize your Gmail inbox with filters
Spending an hour organizing your filters now will save you a ton of time down the road. Filters automatically sort incoming mail into labeled folders which you can access in the left sidebar of your desktop setup. They can also organize emails by date, sender, certain words, and even automatically delete emails from a certain sender. To create them, go to Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a new filter. From there, build out filters that make sense with your workflow. Perhaps you’d like all messages with the word “internship” in the subject line to go into a folder labeled “Summer Internship Applications.” Or maybe you’d like all messages from your human resources point person and timesheet manager to file into a folder labeled “Admin.” Up to you. To finish, click the Create filter button.
Gmail hack: Use Smart Compose to type emails faster
Gmail has a predictive text feature that can finish a sentence for you. As you type, you’ll see the predictive text in gray. To complete the sentence with the predictive text hit the Tab button, or just continue typing if you were going to say something different. To turn on Smart Compose go to Settings > General > select Writing suggestions on under the Smart Compose section. Also, try these hidden iPhone hacks you never knew about.
Gmail hack: Send a canned response
This feature is great for people who constantly find themselves writing the same kinds of messages: say, confirmations on received materials or responses to frequently asked questions. To enable them, go to Settings > Advanced > Canned Responses (Templates) > Enable. The next time you reply to a message with a response you’d like to save, click the arrow on the bottom right corner of the reply box. Click on the “Canned response” option and choose “New canned response.” Save your response with a relevant label. And don’t worry about your emails sounding overly formulaic—you’ll be able to edit the response before it sends. But do try to avoid these annoying email habits.
Gmail hack: Stay organized with Tasks
Never forget to respond to those important emails again. Tasks help you tag important emails into an organized list that you can come back to later. Once you find the important email in your inbox, check the box next to it, click the More button (the three dots), then Add to Tasks. Your task list will pop up on the right side of your screen.
Gmail hack: Get notifications for unread messages
If you’re expecting an important email but don’t want to waste time constantly refreshing the tab with Gmail open, get an unread messages icon. Go to Settings > Advanced > Unread message icon > Enable > Save Changes. Now, whenever you get a new message a number will appear over the Gmail icon on the tab. These are the things hackers can do when they have your email address.
Gmail hack: Set up alias-based filters
Gmail allows you to set up aliases using plus signs or dots in your email address. So if your email is “[email protected]” all emails sent to “[email protected]” will also appear in your inbox. You can add other words to your email as well by using plus signs. “[email protected]” will also go to your inbox. Then, you can use the Filters feature to have all emails sent to your “+work” address go into a folder titled “Work.” Or you could add “+store” to your email and give that out to stores and then all of the promotional emails they send can be organized into their own folder instead of crowding your inbox.
Gmail hack: Enable the “Undo Send” feature
One of Gmail’s most talked-about features can be a real lifesaver. Go to Settings > Scroll down to Undo Send > Select how long you want the cancelation period to be (options include 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds). You buy yourself the most time for error by choosing 30 seconds. When you send a message, a yellow banner will pop up underneath the search bar. The “Undo” button will appear there. Simply click on it if you send an email you’d like to retract. Once you have your email in tip-top shape, make sure to protect your phone and avoid these things that make your phone an easy target for hackers.
Gmail hack: Set up stars
You probably already know about gold stars in Gmail (they’re the little star icons that show up to the left of a message). But did you know there are multiple colors and symbols available? Unlock seven different colors—plus symbols like exclamation points and question marks—by going to “Settings” and scrolling to “Stars.” Drag any of the new symbols or colors up to the line that says “In use” to make them available to you. You can now associate different colors with different meanings. Perhaps a gold star means an email is a friendly message and a red star means it’s a customer complaint. Your choice.
Gmail hack: Mute a conversation
Are you often included in never-ending email threads that just aren’t relevant? Opt out ASAP. Simply check the box next to the email in your inbox, select the “More” button at the top of the page, and click “Mute.” New messages will stay out of your inbox and be automatically archived. They’ll only appear in your inbox again if a message in the conversation is addressed to you and you only, or if you’re added to the “To” or “Cc” line in a new message.