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How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

How to Use Gmail Search to Clean up Your Email Archive

Clean up Gmail

    I am not a fan of deleting emails from my Gmail.

    The reason is simple: I love Gmail search and I often use it to find past conversations and bring up old contacts. I receive and read my email using Thunderbird, but I use the Gmail web interface to find all the past correspondence (which can be accessed from any computer — provided I remember my login details).

    However, in some cases there’s absolutely no point in saving some of your emails — you’ll never get back to them. So why clutter your email archive?

    The Basics: Deleting Emails in Gmail

    In case you don’t know how to delete all emails filtered by your search, here’s a quick how-to:

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    1. Select “All”
    2. Then click “Select all XXXX conversations in Search results
    3. Delete

    Delete all emails

      Tip #1: Delete Automated Updates

      Search: [from:noreply* OR from:do-not-reply* OR from:donotreply* OR from:notification*]

      This way you’ll filter out all the automated updates that come from bots (such as social media friend requests ([email protected]), calendar reminders ([email protected]), etc.). Chances are, you’ll need those updates only once in a lifetime.

      Automated emails

        Bonus Tip: Don’t create a filter to delete those emails, as this will delete all the future updates as well. Instead, create a calendar reminder to do the regular clean up at least quarterly.

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        Tip #2: Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

        Search: [from:wordpress* OR from:disqus]

        If you are a blogger who hasn’t disabled comments, you’re probably getting email notifications each time a comment is pending approval or waiting for your reply. While these are probably useful for a “one-time notification”, there’s no reason to keep them in your inbox/archive.

        Delete All Blog Comment Notifications

          Tip #3: Clean Up Email Subscriptions

          Search option one: [unsubscribe]

          Search option two: [from:news* OR from:digest* OR from:auto* OR from:reports* OR from:*mailer*]

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          Not all emails here are likely to be worth deleting (I usually refer back to my most important email subscriptions if I forget a link or need a citation for a blog post, for example). But this search is a great starting point. Now you can go through search results and check any email you don’t think you need to keep. Simply click on “Filter messages like this” and create a filter to delete all of them.

          Filter messages like this

            You can also unsubscribe while you are there to prevent future emails. I mean, it’s a good thing to clean up your email subscriptions as well while you are there…right?

            Bonus Tip: And there’s an app for that! Unroll.me is a great online tool that lets you sign in (using Gmail authentication) and then scans your email inbox for possible subscriptions. You can unsubscribe from any of the emails right from within the tool interface:

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            unroll.me

              Emails I Never Delete

              Like I said, I love my Gmail inbox for archiving all of my correspondence for me and keeping it in “the cloud”. No matter how often I move from computer to computer or change email clients, I can always rest assured that my email archive is intact.

              As a result, I don’t like deleting too much of my email — especially the following types:

              • Personal correspondence with my contacts (obviously);
              • Invoices and payment confirmations;
              • Brand-name tracking updates (from Google Alerts, for example). These could be turned into the great source of brand-growth analysis. Besides, they can be used to later bring up your brand promoters.

              To make sure I never accidentally delete important emails when doing regular clean up, I create a “Always mark it as important” filter.

              Filter important emails

                Do you have any tips for cleaning up your email inbox? Please let me know in the comments!

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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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