Since we’ve proclaimed our dying love for Gmail either as a standalone personal or corporate mail server, we might as well share some of our favorite tips.
We’ve noticed that even long time users of Gmail leave it “as-is” or “stock” and haven’t applied a lot of these settings to make Gmail even better to use.
Most of these settings need to be activated in the so-called “Labs” portion under “Settings” on the top right. Labs is the tab closer to the right hand side of the screen. Note Google considers these as beta quality features but solid enough that Google would let users try them out. Make sure you save your Labs settings at the bottom of the page other wise you won’t see them.
Near the top of the Labs page is “Google Calendar gadget” so you can quickly see your upcoming events. It also allows you to type in natural language events like “have lunch with bob tomorrow at 11 am” and the system will magically create an event for you with precisely that information. It’s auto-magical.
Our favorite is “Right-side Chat” (a few items down the calendar setting) which moves the chat window to the top right corner. Normally, chat is usually hidden away at the bottom left. With this one, you’ll expand the number of columns in Gmail from two to three so the chat module isn’t hidden away at the bottom.
Be sure to also give “Tasks” a try, it doesn’t need to be activated but when you’re looking at an email, click on “More Actions” at the top and select “Add to tasks” to quickly add the message title into your Tasks list. Then click on “Tasks” right below “Contacts” under the “Mail” (below the Gmail logo) to activate the Tasks list which will appear on the bottom right of the window.
And finally if you haven’t clicked on “Priority Inbox” on the main page yet you should give it a try. It will add three levels of email sorting/ visual stacking: Priority, stars, and normal email. The only draw back that we see is there is no pagination to look at older emails unless you click on the “inbox” link for the regular view. More about Priority Inbox at Gmail blog.
And as of today, Google just announced desktop OS notifications of new incoming mail for Google Chrome users. Just go to Settings and jump to the “Desktop Notifications” area.
So there you have it, a whole slew of possibly new things to try out in Gmail and make email writing more fun and productive!