How to Get the Most Out of Gmail: 7 Expert Tips

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Gmail dropped the holy grail of all email functions this week when it announced the “Undo Send” feature, effectively saving thousands of people from sending ill-advised, spontaneous emails that were probably horrible ideas in the first place.

Users can activate the feature by selecting “Settings” from the settings wheel, finding the “Undo Send” feature under the “General” tab, and checking the “Enable Undo Send” box. Select 5, 10, 20, or 30, depending on how long of a grace period you want to be able to take back your message after sending it. Here, we put together the following list of seven other Gmail functions that can transform your inbox, and streamline your email with a simple click.

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1. Take advantage of aliases.
One helpful, lesser-known trick for Gmail users is the ability to create aliases separate from your primary email address by using dots and plus signs; email addresses can be altered by adding these symbols to essentially create new identities linked to the same address. Mail sent to specific aliases can be assigned to certain folders, so if you give the right aliases to the right people, your mail will sort and filter itself.

For example: Emails sent to could also go to (by placing the dot symbol or multiple dots anywhere in the address), even or (just make sure, if you use a plus symbol, to include it after your main address). If each variation of the email address is assigned its own folder, then incoming mail will file into each folder accordingly. 

2. Use shortcuts.
Shortcuts save serious time. To enable them, click the settings wheel, then “Settings”, and select “Keyboard shortcuts on”). There’s a full list here, but these are a few every Gmail user should know:

c – compose
r – reply
b – reply all
f – forward
# – delete
Tab + Enter – send
s – star a conversation
k and j – move up and down between emails

3. Consider the Boomerang feature.
Maybe you’re finally getting around to writing that reply to your boss, but you don’t want to send it because it’s the middle of the night. Or, maybe you’re just proactive and have a pitch ready to go, but you want send it at the perfect moment. Enter Boomerang. It’s a plug-in that schedules outgoing messages. It’s compatible with most browsers, although the number of emails that can be Boomerang-ed a month is limited to non-premium users.

4. Create labels.
Assign colors, or labels, to specific contacts to make your inbox more navigable. You’ll be able to identify new mail with a simple glance, instead of having to open it or even having to read the subject line. For example: Mark all friends’ addresses with blue tags, all newsletters with green tags, and all business contacts with red tags.

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5. Find attachments faster.
Locate email with attachments by typing “has:attachment” in the search bar. If you’ve spent way too long combing through your inbox to find a specific email with an attachment, then this will be a godsend.

6. Turn on verified senders.
This handy little feature separates the hackers from the real thing. Emails from companies such as Pay Pal or eBay, which hackers and spam accounts often try to emulate, are marked with golden keys to show legitimacy. To turn on this feature, select “Settings”, then “Labs”, and then “Enable” next to “Authentication icon for verified senders”.

7. Switch to HTML.
Slow internet connection and still need to send a note? Jump to an HTML version of your inbox by erasing everything after from the URL and pasting this after it:


You might lose some basic functions you regularly use at the time, but there won’t be as much of a lag.

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