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5 Lesser Known Gmail Tips and Hacks

5 Lesser Known Gmail Tips and Hacks

Gmail has been through a lot of changes lately, and you may be left wondering how you can get back in control of your inbox. Here are some little-known Gmail tips and hacks to help you master your email workflow!

1. Create your own alias-based filtering

Gmail doesn’t technically provide aliases unless you’re using Gmail to view and respond to emails sent to your own registered domain email (for example, [email protected]). But it does allow you to set up aliases using plus signs or dots in your email address.

So “[email protected]” and “[email protected]” will both go to the same inbox, as will “[email protected]” and “[email protected]”.

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Once you’ve chosen a few aliases, set up filtering within Gmail by going to Settings > Filters.

You could create one that redirects all messages to “[email protected]” to the spam folder but stars all messages to “[email protected]”, for example. Or automatically label messages by choosing Settings > Labels and creating a few useful labels for different things, then using filters to label messages to “[email protected]” as “Family” and messages to “[email protected]” as “Business”.

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Using filters in Gmail

    Then all you need to do is give the appropriate version of your email address to different people and your messages will be filtered and labelled for you when they arrive.

    2. Save time with keyboard shortcuts

    If you access your Gmail via a laptop or desktop computer with a keyboard (rather than a touchscreen device) you can use keyboard shortcuts to navigate and manage your messages so that you don’t waste time moving your hands from keyboard to mouse to keyboard again. There’s a full list of the many shortcuts here, some of which you have to enable in Gmail’s settings before they’ll work, but the most useful ones to start with are:

    • n for next and p for previous, which will move you through a multi-message conversation in chronological or reverse chronological order.
    • Ctrl + Enter to send the message you’re composing.

    3. Get extra tools from Google Labs

    Within your Gmail settings, there’s a tab marked “Labs”. Click on that tab and you can add a range of tools people have built to work with Gmail.

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    Using Labs in Gmail

      There’s a tool called Canned Responses that lets you save messages you send often and insert them into your Gmail composition with just a couple of clicks. Another, Undo Send, gives you the ability to recall a message up to a few seconds after you hit Send—handy if you spotted a mistake just after sending. There’s even a tool that lets you set your own custom keyboard shortcuts in case the ones Google provides aren’t right for you.

      4. Use Labels in full color

      To speed up your brain’s ability to recognize and select the emails you need, create Labels for your Gmail messages and then set a different color for each label. Once your business emails are labelled in red, your friends and family’s messages in green and your financial transaction receipts in blue, for example, it’ll be much easier to scan your inbox visually and find what you’re looking for.

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      5. Use Tasks to connect your emails and to-do lists

      When you get an email that requires an action from you, and you don’t intend to act on it right away, look up at the menu bar above your emails. If you’re in the reading view, you’ll see a button marked “More”. If you’re in your inbox list view, you’ll need to check the box to the left of the relevant item to make the More button appear.

      Using Google Tasks in Gmail

        When you click that More button, you’ll be offered a drop-down list of options. Select “Add to Tasks” and a Google Tasks to-do list will pop up at the bottom of your screen with the subject line of the email added as a to-do list item. Edit the to-do text and add a due date if you like. The great thing about this way of adding to your to-do list is that each item in your list that’s related to an email in your Gmail will automatically include a link back to the email so that you can easily remind yourself of the task’s details.

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        Sophie Lizard

        A writer who shares about lifestyle and productivity tips on Lifehack.

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        Last Updated on May 14, 2019

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

        1. Zoho Notebook
          If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
        2. Evernote
          The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
        3. Net Notes
          If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
        4. i-Lighter
          You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
        5. Clipmarks
          For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
        6. UberNote
          If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
        7. iLeonardo
          iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
        8. Zotero
          Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

        I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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        In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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