7 Hidden Gmail features everyone should have
- Mute annoyingly noisy email threads.
- Snooze so you don’t forget.
- Reading pane for an Outlook-like look.
- Choose your tabs.
- Enable auto-advance and thank me later.
- Email large attachments via Google Drive.
- Hiding in plain sight: Advanced search.
If you use Gmail on a computer for work or personal use every day, are you taking full advantage of Google’s email client? Gmail has many features that can help you better manage the continuous flow of mail to and from your Gmail inbox.
I have listed my top seven tips to help you embark on the path to becoming a Gmail professional. If you have used them all, congratulations. If not, try to merge at least one or two into your routine (if not the entire bundle). In the long run, you will thank yourself.
(1) Mute annoyingly noisy email threads
Getting stuck on a group email thread is as annoying as on a laptop, just like a group text on a mobile phone. On weekdays, you will be distracted, especially when working from home. Of course, you don’t need to keep seeing group emails at the top of your inbox when you receive new replies.
If you have an active group email and no longer follow the chat back and forth, you can opt-out. Open the thread, click the three-dot button at the top, and click “Mute“.
The conversation will be moved to your archive, which will remain even if you receive more replies.
If you’re curious about the missing content in the future, you can always find it in Gmail’s “All Mail” view, including archived messages.
You can then unmute the conversation by opening the conversation and clicking the X button next to the “Mute” label at the top of the page. After unmute, it will appear at the top of the inbox the next time you receive a reply.
(2) Snooze so you don’t forget
Just like the “snooze” button on the alarm clock you use when you are not going to wake up, there is also a snooze button on Gmail to handle messages that you are not ready to respond but do not want to lose your inbox.
Hover your mouse over the message in your inbox, then click the small clock button on the right, and then select a later time and date-later today, tomorrow, next week, or a specific time you set-make It reappears in your top inbox.
(3) Reading pane for an Outlook-like look
If your monitor size is large, it is recommended that you use a luxurious screen space and use the Gmail reading pane. It makes Gmail look more like Outlook, where you can view and reply to messages without leaving your inbox.
Click the gear icon in the upper right corner to open the “Quick Settings” panel, scroll down to the “Reading” pane, and select “Right of the Inbox” or “Below the Inbox” to split the view horizontally or vertically.
(4) Choose your tabs
Gmail filters your inbox very well so that the emails you care about enter the inbox, and the rest are downgraded to the “social” or “promotion” label.
Click the gear icon, then click View all settings. On the “Settings” page, select “Inbox“, and then in the “Categories” section at the top, you can choose which labels you want at the top of your inbox.
Or, if you just ignore all tabs except the “Main” inbox, you can uncheck all tabs except “Main” to get a simplified, label-free Gmail experience. To save, scroll down, and click the “Save Changes” button.
(5) Enable auto-advance and thank me Later
At the beginning and end of each working day, I spend a lot of time deleting unwanted emails. I want to open each email before deleting it so that I can at least take a quick look and then discard it.
By default, when you delete an opened message, Gmail will send you the recycle inbox instead of the next message, which requires more clicks and time to clear the inbox.
However, you can change this behavior in the settings, so after deleting the open message, you can advance to the previous message.
In the settings, click Advanced, and then you will see auto-forward at the top. Click the radio dial on the right to enable it.
If you go back to “Settings”> “General” and scroll down to “Auto Forward”, you can choose to go to the next or previous (older) conversation. To save, scroll down, and click the “Save Changes” button.
(6) Email large attachments via Google Drive
There is a small Drive icon at the bottom of the Gmail compose window. It allows you to attach files stored in Drive or just send links. For Google Drive formats (documents, tables, slides, etc.), your only option is to send a link to the file.
For other file types (PDF, Word documents, images), you can choose to send them as attachments or Drive links, so that you can share attachments larger than Gmail’s 25MB size limit.
(7) Hiding in plain sight: Advanced Search
Putting Google behind Gmail, it’s no surprise that Gmail provides powerful search tools. You may have used the search bar at the top of your inbox to find old emails based on keywords or senders, but this is more useful.
Click the small down arrow button on the right side of the search bar to open Gmail’s advanced search panel, where you can search for subject areas, date ranges, and attachment sizes for other filters.