4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

GMailTips08   4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail AccountsMany of us have to manage multiple Gmail accounts to separate private email from work and projects. However, life is rarely linear and we often find ourselves going back and forth between different accounts. How do you best do this without having to continuously log in and out? In this article, I will explore 4 ways to address this issue, moving from simple to more advanced solutions.

1. Run Multiple Browsers Simultaneously

To log into two or three different Gmail accounts, you could simply run two or three different browsers, each with a different user account logged in. This is the most simple and straightforward way to do it that doesn’t require a special setup, with the exception that you need to have multiple browsers installed on your computer.

Multiple Browsers   4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

2. Switch Between Accounts Using Gmail’s Multiple Sign-In Feature

Google supports multiple sign-ins, meaning you can sign into multiple Google accounts within a single browser. Varun has thoroughly explained this procedure in this article How To Enable & Use The New Google Multiple Sign-In Feature.

Here is a brief summary:

  • Go to your account settings.
  • Under the header Security, click Edit next to the multiple sign-in feature.
  • Select On and select each of the check boxes to confirm you understand how multiple sign-in works.
  • Click Save.

You have to do this for all the accounts that you want to switch back and forth between. Once that is done, you can use the feature like this:

  • Click the little arrow next to your Google profile picture in the top right and select Switch account.
  • Click Sign in to another account
  • A new window or tab will open where you can sign in.
  • Next time you want to open that same account, you can simply select it form the list of accounts that is shown after clicking Switch account (see screenshot below).

Gmail Multiple Sign In   4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

3. Set Up Different Users In Google Chrome

Gmail’s Multiple Sign-In feature works in any browser. If your favorite browser is Chrome, however, there is an even better alternative. Chrome allows you to set up different users, linked to different Google accounts.

  • Click the wrench icon and select Options.
  • To to Personal Stuff and under the header Users click Add new user.
  • This will open a new window with a Google account login.

An icon is assigned to each user, visible in the top left of the Chrome window. This is how you will be able to tell the different browser sessions and accounts apart. To customize the icon and the account name, you can go through Options and then edit the respective user.

Alternatively, you can click on the icon in the browser and select edit. This also allows you to switch between different users within one Chrome window.

Google Chrome Multiple Users   4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

This feature was in our news when it was first released in late December 2011 – Google Chrome Can Now Sync Multiple Browsing Profiles [News]

4. Add Email Accounts & Aliases To Your Main Gmail Account

The above solutions are really just a workaround to a complex challenge. The most thorough and advanced way of managing multiple email accounts, is to set them all up under a single account. Here is a brief overview of how it works:

  • In Gmail, go to Settings and open the Accounts tab.
  • Under Check mail using POP3 click Add a POP3 mail account you own.
  • During the setup process, also choose to use the respective email address as an alias.
  • You can add aliases manually: Under Send mail as click Add another email address you own.
  • Once you are checking mails from different accounts, create labels for these accounts and set up the Gmail Labs feature Multiple Inboxes.

Import POP3 Account in GMail   4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts

I recently wrote a thorough article on this topic: How To Import & Manage Multiple Email Accounts In Gmail. Another great article by Wendy is a few years old, but for the most part still up to date: How to Link Multiple Gmail Accounts Together in 4 Easy Steps. Here is another article on How To Set Up Email Filters In Gmail, Hotmail and Yahoo.

For a more current introduction to Gmail filters and labels, have a look at this article – 3 Ways To Free Up Storage Space In Your Gmail Account. Finally, this article wouldn’t be complete without recommending MakeUseOf’s Ultimate Guide To Gmail.

How do you manage multiple gmail accounts and what other options fail in your eyes?

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51 Comments -

0 votes

Kaggy

2 more ways
1. use IETab for firefox and Chrome to login
2. Use Pokki

0 votes

Tina

Thanks Kaggy! Never heard of Pokki, what is it?

0 votes

Istivan

Hi Tina,
Awesome article as always. I actually keep Google’s Chrome Canary installed alongside the standard chrome installation and keep both open side by side.

Pokki puts a set of icons in the taskbar, next to the start button, but it’s not quicklaunch or a toolbar. Rather you can install mini-apps within Pokki itself. Apparently most of the apps are akin to a browser’s tab frame. There are apps for twitter, facebook, etc, and recently a bucketload of games.

Pokki.com

0 votes

Nirin

Digsby does this well

0 votes

Jay Jani

Switching account feature by gmail is the best. Apart from that desktop client Digsby is wonderful tool for multiple accounts.

0 votes

Tina

Guess I should look into Digsby more. How does it work?

0 votes

Bill F

#5 is simply to use Mailplane. It’s not free, but it makes handling multiple Gmail accounts very easy.

0 votes

Tina

Why would you use an app that is not free if there are so many free alternatives around? What value does it add?

0 votes

Jay Logan

I don’t know of any alternatives (free or not) that work as well as MailPlane. Of course you could use an e-mail client that downloads all the messages to your computer but when you have several Gmail accounts it really slows your machine down. Better to piggyback off of Google servers. MailPlane is great. Currently looking for a PC alternative for my office computer.

0 votes

clyde

LOL – the best text editor, browser and email application are the ones you’re most familiar with – whatever *they* are. They all have problems, but better the devil you know than another one you don’t.

0 votes

Susendeep Dutta

Please hide the email address present at the last image of the article.

0 votes

Tina

Actually it’s fine, that email has not been used in over a decade and is a spam account anyhow. :)

0 votes

Chris Hoffman

Bonus method for Chrome users: open up an incognito window and log in to a different account. The incognito and normal Chrome windows are separate from each other.

0 votes

Tina

True, totally forgot about that method. I used it before they introduced multiple users. Thanks for adding, Chris!

0 votes

Karen

I use Multifox. I was using it before Google came out with the multiple sign in feature. Seems like I tried that when it first came out but liked Multifox better so I stuck with that.

0 votes

Tina

I vaguely remember Multifox. Thanks for adding it, completely forgot!

0 votes

TT

“saint86@hotmail.com” — you forgot to mark that on top.. delete this comment after that has been done… thank you.

0 votes

Soul

ThunderBird is one of my favorite programs. I even have it set up with an add-on that lets me use Google Voice, Google +, and all the other Google services.

0 votes

TxBlackLabelRx

For Firefox web browser I use Webmail notifier and can just select which account to look at. Yahoo, Gmail, AOL, Hotmail, POP3 are just the top selection, once you select the service and put in your credentials it is easy to keep them in check.

Having separate email accounts for online orders, family and friends, business email and website sign ups I know exactly which account needs attention and which ones can wait.

The plugin X-Notifier is for Chrome and Opera users.

0 votes

Bruce

We have enough email as it is. Why would you want to have more than one window on screen at a time.

0 votes

thinsmek

Great comment. Why did you then scroll through the article after understanding the headline?

0 votes

Mary

I use the multiple profiles on Chrome now, but i also have all the email accounts dumping into a main email account and just have different folders and an alias set up for each account… that helps me keep it all straight and still not miss anything when I’m on the go with just my phone or tablet. I used to do the whole thing of having multiple browsers open but so glad that Chrome fixed that issue :)

0 votes

Ann

I access all of my gmail accounts through Thunderbird – I don’t deal with gmail online unless I’m checking the spam folder or am away from my main computer. As for other uses of the google account (bookmarks, blog, etc) I use the CookieSwap add-on for Firefox to switch between profiles if I need to.

0 votes

Valerio

CookieSwap is optimal solution!

0 votes

Mark

The virtualization concept for multiple browsers is absolutely a interesting one

0 votes

kd

Awesome article very helpful.

0 votes

PS

No mention of EverDesk?

All the functionality of Google, including mail, calendar and docs, and allows working with multiple Google accounts simultaneously, alongside any other mail accounts you may have

Also lets you work with all of your Google accounts offline, and is a doddle to set-up.

In my opinion this is a much better solution than browser plug-ins and workarounds..

0 votes

Tina

Sounds great! Unfortunately, EverDesk isn’t free.

0 votes

77

You might want to actually know what your talking about as there is no double user entry in security settings. I am so tired of people who don’t know what they are talking about to post things that are wrong.

0 votes

Tina

77, my article was accurate at the time when it was published. Google has since changed the multiple sign-in feature, which is why the option to enable multiple sign-in was removed from account settings.
To see how you can now use the multiple sign-in feature, please have a look at these instructions from Google.

0 votes

Jamber

Either Google, or my work account manager made a change today where logging in to multiple accounts is no longer an option. I gave up on Chrome and went back to Firefox around the first of the year for other reasons. Is it time to return to Chrome? I hope not. If anyone else has worked through this particular problem, any help would be appreciated.

0 votes

Tina

Jamber,

Google did make some changes, but the multiple sign-in is still available. The instructions above are just outdated. See here for the new way to enable and use it.

0 votes

jamster

Yeh, I had read this. Just didn’t want to associate my work account with my, personal one, but our administrator said it would not be a problem. I am still having random log out issues, but part of the problem is a double check security feature that they added. My personal gmail account did get hacked around the first of the year, but I only had seven contacts, so it wasn’t catastrophic. You really seem to be on top of things here. I’ll try to keep checking back. Kudos

0 votes

Jessica

I have tried the multiple sign in, but when I try to use Blogger, it makes me sign out of the one I don’t use w/ it. ANNOYING. I’ve also set up account b to get pushed to account a, but I have yet to have mail actually forwarded. Also annoying. Haven’t tried the multiple users in Chrome, though. I’ll have to do that…

0 votes

Microsoft Office Professional 2010 Product Key

Very nice post. I simply stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have truly loved surfing around your weblog posts. After all I will be subscribing on your rss feed and I’m hoping you write again very soon!

0 votes

Zitoun

Still haven’t found something better than Firefox + Gmail manager…
- checks mail regularly for every account, display mail with a blue icon instead of read + nb of unread mails for each account
- one click on the icon corresponding to an account logs you automatically to gmail with this account.

You can’t have two simultaneous sessions with different accounts, as gmail won’t allow this. But this behavior is all I need.

0 votes

GR

just use thunderbird :P

0 votes

Max

Great article; however, I still cannot find a way to send a message without being on first account’s behalf. For example, I have 2 Gmail accounts connected together and when I want to send a message using second email while being logged on to the first one, it will send it on the first account’s behalf. Is there a work around that? If not, then it is really pointless syncing two emails together…

0 votes

Tina

May,

Have you added the second account’s email address under > Settings > Accounts and Import > Send mail as?

If it was added there, you can send email as if it was sent from the second account, even if you are logged in with the first. You can even set custom signatures.

0 votes

phani

fantastic concept

0 votes

iyanu

any time i try 2 check my gmail on a computer ,it do say incorrect password or username.pls wat can i do?

0 votes

Tina

Have you tried to recover your account? Unless you forgot your password, it sounds like someone hacked your account and changed our password.

Try this link or to recover your Google account.

0 votes

zmtiger

I may be taking this in a different direction than intended, but here goes…

I opted to try solution 4. Add Email Accounts & Aliases To Your Main Gmail Account. This seems to work fine for sending mail as an alias (me at work.com) instead of my personal account (me at gmail.com). I have heard others speak at length about the benefits of getting through email using gmail’s web interface and keyboard shortcuts (Merlin Mann).

My problem arises when meeting requests are received and sent. When using the Google Calendar interface I can see no way to use an alias address (me at work.com) to send the meeting request. If I attach a meeting request to an email (using gmail) selecting the alias ‘from’ account. Replies accepting the meeting are sent to the main gmail (me at gmail.com) account.

I have looked at some of the boards to no avail. Google suggests separating email accounts to make the calendaring feature work.

https://support.google.com/calendar/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=74783

http://productforums.google.com/forum/#!category-topic/calendar/sharing-and-inviting/NZKP-Toxz-U%5B1-25%5D

0 votes

Tina

Thanks for the input and research effort! I haven’t come across this issue myself as I’m not using meeting invitations/requests via Google Calendar.

0 votes

linus christopherson

I’m not sure I understand all the work being put into managing multiple accounts- simply get a free program (like ccleaner from piriform,) and with two clicks all of your temporary data (cookies included) are cleared. Then, reopen your browser, and log into your other google account. You could even use Ctrl+Shift+Del in Chrome, clear your cookies from there, and log into your new account without the use of any additional programs.

0 votes

Tina

Linus,

Some people don’t want to clean all of their cookies because they want login information for other sites, e.g. Facebook or Twitter, to be stored. Besides, restarting the browser simply is a hassle!

You can, however, use browser addons to switch between different sets of cookies. This will also work for other sites where you have multiple accounts. I actually wrote another article on that: 5 Ways To Switch Between Multiple User Accounts In Firefox & Chrome

0 votes

Amit Shaw

Just Awesome. Currently i am using almost 8+ GMail Account. Now Its just awesome for me.
Thanks.

0 votes

Tina

Thanks for the feedback, Amit. Glad this article could help you!

0 votes

Bradley

If I want put my separate gmail.com email address under my Apple Mail application, it seems to allow me to access all my gmail accounts
from my desktop and iphone. Do you see any downside to
me doing this?

0 votes

Tina

In that case, you would employ IMAP or POP to view your email using a third party application, instead of viewing it online. There are some drawbacks.

First, you are also leaving the webmail interface and are hence giving up native Gmail features.
Second, you have to set up the third party application.
Third, your new interface and setup are not automatically accessible anywhere, but only on the device/s where you set it up.

So it’s just a little more complicated than keeping everything online. Personally, I found that no third party application can rival Gmail’s native features. For me it’s just move convenient to use Gmail’s webmail client, rather than a desktop client.

0 votes

Pete

thanks tina! your article really helps. i had been using multiple browsers for multiple gmail accounts. don’t have to do that anymore!!