31 Essential Gmail Tips: Page 2

Posted December 18, 2008

Cynthia Harvey

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12. Use Filters to Forward Messages. You can also set up a filter to forward a message. This is particularly handy if you sometimes get work-related emails at home and want to view them at work. You can also use this feature to make sure your spouse gets a copy of financial or school-related messages.

13. Color-Code Your Labels. You can choose which color applies to various labels. In the label box on the left hand side of your screen, click the box next to a particular label. You can then change the color that goes with that label.

14. View Multiple Labels. If you want to see all of the messages that are labeled both "family" and "photos," it's not immediately obvious how to do so, but it can be done. In the search box type "label:family label:photos" (more on this search technique below). Gmail will show you all the messages with both labels. If you want to see all the messages labeled either "family" or "photos" or both, type "label:family OR label:photos" (OR must be in all caps) in the search box.

15. View Unlabeled Messages. It's also not easy to figure out how to see all of your messages that don't have labels, but there is a workaround. In the search box, type "-label:label1 -label:label2" and so on for all of your label names. Gmail will return all of the messages that don't have any of your labels. If you perform this search frequently, you may want to send yourself a message with the search text so that you can cut and paste.

16. Filter Previously Received Messages. When you set up a filter, don't overlook the box on the last step that allows you to "Apply filter to xx conversations below." By checking the box, you can use your filters to apply labels to the old messages that you import to Gmail, which can be very handy for organization purposes.

Search Tips

One of the best things about Gmail is that it lets you use Google search capabilities to look for older conversations. Here are some tips to make your searches even more fast and effective.

17. Advanced Search Operators. If you want to search only for messages from a particular individual, with a particular label, or other characteristics, you can click "Show Search Options" next to the search box or you can type one or more of the advanced search operators right into the regular search box. For example, type "from:joe" to search for all of your messages from Joe or type "to:john" to find messages sent to John. You can find the complete list of search operators in the Help section.

18. Exclude Search Terms. You can search for messages that don't contain a particular word or don't have certain characteristics by typing a hyphen (-) immediately in front of a word or search operator. For example, "-football" finds all the messages that aren't about football and "-from:Jane" finds all the messages that aren't from Jane. You can also combine them to find all the messages that aren't from Jane and aren't about football.

19. Searching Chat. Gmail also saves your chat sessions, and they'll be included in any general search you perform. If you want to search only your chat sessions, type "is:chat" in the search box along with your other search term(s). And of course, you can exclude chat from your search results by typing "-is:chat" in the box.

20. Find Attachments. Do you find yourself frequently searching your inbox for files that were sent as attachments? Add "has:attachment" to your search terms and Gmail will return only those messages with files attached.

Using Other Accounts

You can receive and send email from other accounts through Gmail. And it's easy to set up. Here's how:

21. Send Messages from Another Address. You can use Gmail to send messages from any account you own, even if you don't receive messages for that account in Gmail. For example, if you need to send a work-related message from home, you can send it from your Gmail account with your work e-mail address in the "from" line. You will need to configure this feature ahead of time though. In the "Settings" screen, click on the "Accounts" tab, then click "Add another email address" in the "Send mail as:" box. Type in your other email address and Gmail will send a confirmation code to that address. Type in the code and you're good to go.

22. Import Messages from Another Account. If you have a POP3 email account, you can have those messages delivered to Gmail, including all of your old messages. Because Gmail has such good search capabilities, this is especially handy if you need to search old messages frequently. From the "Settings" screen, click the "Accounts" tab, then click Add another mail account in the "Get mail from other accounts:" box. Gmail will walk you through the process from there.

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Tags: Google, search, Microsoft, Gmail, Storage

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