GMAIL CHEAT SHEET – Increase your productivity – part 2


If you’ve just decided to move from Zimbra or  outlook to Gmail, there are few things you will need to do in order to avoid frustration.

Standard Gmail comes without any bells or whistles, making it ideal for personal business, but extremely unfit for a corporate environment.

But with just a few clicks, you can change all that. Follow these few instructions to optimize your Gmail experience.

Create Labels, Archive Messages

Perhaps the first thing that you’ll notice is that Gmail does not have folders – it has labels. So you need to start thinking of folders as labels.

When you add a “label” to a message, the message does not disappear from your inbox until you archive it. (Archive is a very important function to move emails from inbox to their “labels.”) I’d recommend that you enable the display of the archive button on the Gmail menu bar, so that you can archive messages in one click. Here’s how to activate the archive button:


Resize Side Panel

One Gmail limitation is that the left side banner is fixed, meaning that long labels will get cut off. If you’re the type of person who uses long labels, you might want to install the “Gmail label column resizer” chrome extension. After installing the extension you will be able to resize your sidebar, allowing you to see your complete labels. Warning: You might need to install then de-install several times before it works.

Creating a Full Width Composition Box

When you try to compose an email via native Gmail you will be offered a small space in the lower right corner of your browser. To overcome this limitation install the “Full Width Gmail preview pane” chrome extension. This will allow you to create new emails in a popup window that extends the full width of your browser window.

To install a chrome extension, follow these steps:


Enabling Undo Send

We’ve all sent messages before and then realized that we forgot some important information, sent it to the wrong person, or made some mistakes. Thankfully, Gmail allows you to “unsend” your email. Go into Gmail Setting/General Tab and then choose Enable Undo Send. Now you can recall a message that you sent by mistake within 30 seconds.


Customize Your Email View:

Want to see unread messages first? Or does seeing your important messages first work best for you? Choose your preferred display setting by visiting Setting/inbox tab/ Inbox type in your Gmail account. Whatever you choose, your email will be sorted into two categories: “Unread message” followed by “everything else” or “important” followed by “everything else”.


Adding a Reading Pane

To add a preview pane, allowing you to read your emails while also scrolling down your email list, select Setting/Labs/Enable Preview Pane.


 Adding A Photo For Your Contact

Like to see the faces of the people you’re emailing? To add a preview image of the person emailing you, see the picture above – go to Setting/Labs/Enable Picture in Chat. Now you’ll always see their smiling face as you exchange messages!

Hyperlinking a image in your email signature

This was a challenge but my colleague Vlado showed me the trick.

Grab the image and wiggle it for few seconds, then the image will be highlighted . At this point click the link button in the menu bar, this will give you a sub-menu “Go to link: with two selections: change or remove. Just click the change then add your hot URL.


 Viewing Your Google Calendar In Gmail

In order to preview your calendar while in Gmail, just go to Setting/Labs, then enable “Google Calendar Gadget”. You will find the previewer of the calendar at the bottom of the left side label panel.


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Increase Your Productivity With These 8 GMAIL Tricks



Why work harder, when you can work smarter?

We heard it first in a 2009 Apple commercial and it still holds true today – if you need your device to do anything, there’s an app for that.

Apps and extensions are always in development, and constantly evolving in functionality and usability, to enhance our productivity. In the world of email we see this same drive to improvement, with endless additions and alterations, all promising to make our lives easier.

But how do we know which ones to choose?

As someone who is always on Gmail for both business and personal communication, I’ve found that these eight extensions and set-up options have really helped me to maximize my efficiency and minimize hassle.


OK, so I’ll admit that this may seem like “Professional Email 101,” but honestly, a good, clean, professional email signature takes you from looking like a newbie to an established businessperson. Beginners can do well with simply filling in the signature information within the “settings” tab, and turning the signature on to ensure that it is attached to every email. But those who want to up their game and add social media links, icons, and other accoutrements, Wisestamp is a great cost-effective choice that adds a professional touch without breaking the bank at only $4/month.


It’s summer, and for many of us that means going off to the cottage or some other off-the-beaten-path area that is enriching and calm…and without Internet *gasp!*. But now, not having a connection doesn’t mean that you can’t get your work done. With Gmail Offline, you can access your email and complete your work anywhere, any time, regardless of whether or not you have a live connection. Take that, Mother Nature (and subway tunnels)!


Some days I feel like I’m lost in a sea of tabs, desperately staring at my screen to find Gmail because I just want to send one. little. email! Thankfully, I’ve been thrown a lifejacket by the name of Open Compose Window for Gmail – an extension that allows you to send an email faster than you can say “Open Compose Window for Gmail” thanks to its addition of a small Gmail icon to your navigation bar. Opening a new message window with one click? Yes please!


One of the easiest ways to navigate your Gmail account is by using tried and true shortcuts. As someone who is always looking to improve my efficiency, I’m forever learning new shortcuts for my programs and applications. KeyRocket, a Gmail extension, offers users a crash course in shortcuts, teaching you how to use them quickly and effectively. Or, if you’re looking to improve your Gmail performance without having to download anything, just turn on the shortcuts in Gmail itself, which will allow you to use a variety of keys to perform various functionalities, like using “has: attachment” to find emails with attachments, or even using “!” to report spam.


Now that’s got me thinking – I can’t be the only person who remembers that amazing Spam skit by Monty Python ( As much as Monty Python’s spam is great, inbox spam is the worst! All of that clutter from websites and organizations really cuts into my productivity as I wade through all of the useless emails to get to what I need. So, I’ve enabled Block Sender for Gmail – a free extension that allows you to block all emails from a specific address or website. Want even more than these basic features? Check out one of their paid plans.


Sometimes messages show up in my inbox and I’m not convinced they’re spam, but I don’t really know who they’re from. Thankfully, Rapportive knows. This app discretely offers you all of the information that can be found about the sender’s email, allowing you to decide whether it’s worth opening their message, or moving on.


So I don’t know about you, but when waiting for an important email I used to end up stuck in front of Gmail, frantically refreshing the page until it arrived (at which point I breathed a sigh of relief and carried on with my day). It was a HUGE drain on my productivity, wasting not only my time but my mental energy. But then I discovered the email desktop notification tab under my Gmail settings, and now I get an instant alert on my desktop whenever an email comes in. Productivity win!


Now the flip side of this situation is one where you send of an important email and spend the rest of your day checking your inbox, waiting for a reply, and thinking “Did they get it? Did they get it? DID THEY GET IT???” If you need something to help ease your mind, enable – an email checking app that not only confirms that your email was sent, but whether and when it was opened by the recipient (AND what device they used to open it!). You can’t put a price on this kind of peace of mind – so, naturally, it’s free!

Do you have any of your own tried-and-true Gmail solutions that you find really work? Tell me in the comments below!

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