If you use Gmail’s Web-based user interface, you know its power and versatility. But you might not know some of its less obvious nuances.
Here are eight Gmail tips that could make your e-mail chores easier.
Some new features from Google’s public workshop
Most of these Gmail enhancements come from Google Labs, a place where new, experimental features are poked, prodded, and tweaked for a while. Some of these experiments eventually become official Gmail features; others might simply disappear.
I’ll tag these Labs features so you’ll know where to look for them. Almost all of the tweaks discussed are enabled via Gmail’s Settings menus. So I’ll start by reminding you how to get there:
- Step 1. Click the gear-shaped Tools icon near the upper-right corner of the Gmail window (just below your personal photo) and select Settings from the drop-down list.
- Step 2. For the tricks tagged “Labs,” click Labs in the tabs bar. That page will list experimental features currently available. The Labs page does warn that these features might “change, break, or disappear at any time.” In other words, you use them at your own risk.
If you want to try something in Labs, click the Enable button. The Labs page lists features in alphabetical order and conveniently keeps all enabled features at the top of the list.
- Step 3. After you’ve made your tweaks to Gmail, always scroll down to the bottom of the settings page and select Save Changes.
Read a message before officially opening it
Labs: Working through newly arrived messages, opening and closing each one, can be a nuisance. And marking a message as “unread” after reading it is yet another nuisance. Message Sneak Peek lets you read new messages without formally opening them. If a message was “unread,” it remains officially “unread.”
Once Message Sneak Peek is enabled, you simply right-click any message and it’s immediately displayed in a popup box. (Click the View entire thread link, however, and the message becomes “read.”)