As a loyal Gmail user for many years, I have watched Google’s golden child evolve into an incredibly efficient and functional interface. Most of the savvy user “hacks” from the good old days have now been built right in to Gmail, but this old dog is certainly able to learn new tricks.
Here are the top 7 ways to improve your Gmail experience, from Labs and other add-ons to hidden features and hacks.
1. Remove ads with Gmelius
Gmail’s text banner advertising is fairly non-intrusive, but sometimes the ads displayed are so similar to the email you are reading or writing, it’s just plain creepy. Plus, we have all had that annoying experience of accidentally clicking on ads.
Gmelius is a free extension that allows you to hide Gmail’s advertisements. Ad removal is the flag ship for Gmelius, but this extension offers many other excellent tweaks as well. For example, hide the people bar or the chat bar, and generally clean up Gmail’s appearance.
2. Back up your account with Gmvault
Though Google boasts extremely secure and reliable servers, when your entire life is stored on Gmail, it’s good to have a backup. Although there are many ways to back up your account, Gmvault is a cross-platform program that is easy to use and extremely customizable. It saves your entire account to disk, can be set to sync automatically, and can be set to sync by date, label, etc.
If you ever lose your account, Gmvault will restore your entire mailbox, complete with labels, to any other Gmail account, so you can breathe a sigh of relief.
3. Star/label messages before sending
Just like you star messages in your inbox to remind yourself to come back to them later, Gmail now has a feature to star messages before sending. Just hit the “labels” button to the right of the send button and you can label or add a star to your messages so you remember to follow up later.
4. Enable “Background Send”
Despite my loving relationship with Gmail, there are times when the server can be sluggish. With the Background Send lab, you are no longer stuck staring at your message, waiting for it to send. This lab allows you to bypass the “Sending…” notice and continue working on your next email as normal.
5. Save files in your Drafts for easy access
You probably have a DropBox, or a Cloud, or a Google Drive, but if there are a few small files you need to get to all the time, Gmail can help. Simply open a new message, attach the file, and save it as a draft. Your file is now at your fingertips whenever and wherever you need it, no need to log in to multiple accounts.
6. Use “Undo Send” to cancel messages
Avoid that moment of terror when you hit “send” and immediately realize you’ve made a mistake. The “Undo Send” lab waits a set number of seconds (up to 30) after you hit send to follow through. You can still use Gmail normally during the waiting period, you will simply see an “undo” option in the notification bar. In essence, it can save you from yourself.
7. Access chat features through Google docs
Many employers have caught on to the wonderful distraction that is Gchat, and disabled that feature on their networks. However, you can sort of cheat the system through Google docs, because Google lets you edit documents with partners in real time. Open a new document and share it with whomever you’d like to chat. Now you can both type and your conversation will appear on the document in real time – just don’t tell your boss where you learned this!
Google is constantly making improvements and adding new features. If you are interested in the latest, check the official Google blog regularly. You can also browse new Labs in the Settings pane of your Gmail account to get the most out of your inbox.
About The Guest Author: Rick Sarouk is a tech geek and loves to write about trending news, deals and savings on technology related topics such as tech gadgets, computers and telecommunication. He mainly writes for Ricks Coupon Picks.
Woman Sending Emails Photo via Shutterstock