The Internet provides people with the tools to be more productive, but what do you do when the number of those tools actually start making things more complicated? The answer is to integrate them.
Case in point, Google tools. Google provides you with so many free resources and apps that it’s hard to understand how they stay in business. Yet, a countless number of people these days rely on services like Gmail and Google Drive to support their business, their studies or any other Google Drive powered productivity need you can think of.
The problem is that when you have so many places to store things, it can be overwhelming to try to remember where you stored certain information. It can be confusing to figure out which tool to use for different needs.
Thankfully, there are a number of ways that you can integrate Gmail and Google Drive so that in a way, they act as one single tool that you won’t be able to live without.
Searching For Information
One of the first things people usually run into when they start using a lot of different online services is keeping track of where things are. One easy way to fix that is to connect your Gmail search to include both Gmail and GDrive. To enable this feature, just go to your Gmail settings, click on the “Labs” menu link, and enable the “Apps Search” feature.
Once you’ve enabled this feature, performing a search in the Gmail search field will return results from your Google Drive account at the bottom of the search dropdown list.
Once you run the search, the results for Google Drive are segregated into a section just below the Gmail search results.
As you can imagine, being able to search for your stuff from a single search field greatly simplifies the process of finding your important information.
One-Click Send to Google Drive
Another way to save clicks when you’re in a hurry is to send any important attachments in Gmail directly to your Google Drive. Who wants to download, save, log into GDrive, and then upload the file? What a pain, right?
Do it in one click. Scroll to the bottom of the email where the attachment is displayed, and then move the mouse over the attachment icon.
You’ll see the little white Google Drive icon next to the download icon. Click on that icon and Gmail will automatically transfer the attachment to your Google Drive account.
Then a dropdown list lets you move the file instantly to one of your sub-directories inside Google Drive.
Attach Google Drive Files
What about the other way around? What if you’d like to attach one of your Google Drive files to an email? Well, you’ll be glad to know that’s just as easy. When you’re composing a new email in Gmail, just hover over the Google Drive icon near the blue “Send” button.
This will pop-up a window where you can select one or multiple files from your Google Drive account to attach to your email.
Just one or two clicks and the file is transferred directly to the email you’re composing. Easy right?
Get Notified of Google Drive Changes
Stay in the know when collaborating with a team using Google Drive. For instance, while working on shared spreadsheets it is important to be alerted when other people modify the sheets. You can set up those notifications on the Google Drive spreadsheet itself.
Open the spreadsheet, and click on “Tools” in the menu, then select “Notification rules…”
You can set up the notification rules to issue an email when any changes are made to any part of the spreadsheet, individual sheets, individual cells are modified, the sheet is shared with anyone, or someone submits data from a form.
Set this up as a way for your staff to fill out information or provide some form of feedback, and then you don’t have to worry about remembering to check that document every now and then to find updates. Instead, you’ll get automatically notified every time someone updates it – less worries and it frees up your mind so that you can get more work done.
Schedule Emails With Google Sheet
If you have weekly or monthly emails that you send out to your team or to your manager, why not build a collection of those messages in a Google Sheet and have those emails go out right on schedule without having to remember to send it? I know, borderline science fiction, right? It’s actually not that hard to schedule your emails this way.
A pre-made Gmail Scheduler sheet comes courtesy of Amit Agarwal of Digital Inspiration. You can access his free Gmail Scheduler sheet and make a copy in your own GDrive account. The first thing you’ll need to do is go into the Gmail Scheduler menu and authorize the sheet to access your Gmail account.
Next, you’ll need to create a draft of the message you want to schedule inside Gmail (just start writing an email and when you’re done, close the email without sending). Once you choose the “Fetch Messages” option from the Gmail Scheduler menu, it’ll import all of your new draft emails into this spreadsheet. Next, all you have to do is select a date when you want the email to be sent in the “Scheduled Time” column.
Once you choose “Schedule Messages” from the Gmail Scheduler menu, you’ll see the “Scheduled” status show up in the Status column.
One small flaw in this tool that you should keep in mind is that if you already have Scheduled emails that haven’t gone out yet and you choose to import new drafts, it’ll remove the scheduled dates of the existing scheduled emails, and you’ll need to reschedule those along with the newly imported emails. Not a huge deal, but something to keep in mind.
Gmail Mail Merge
Speaking of cool scripts from Amit, another notable one is the Gmail Mail Merge tool which he also offers for free.
Just like the scheduler sheet, you need to copy the mail merge sheet to your Google Drive account and authorize it to access your Gmail account under the Mail Merge menu. Just click on the Step 1 (Reset) option. Then, Step 2 gives you the option to import a list of email addresses from any of your existing groups in your Google Contacts.
The email addresses will show up under the “Recipient’s Name” and the “Recipient’s Email Address” columns. Or, instead of importing groups, you could always just fill out these columns manually. Either way works!
You can then fill out the remaining fields to put together your group email. Notable fields here include the message body, which allows you to write up rich text HTML emails in this field. Use whatever WYSIWYG tool to produce the HTML for your email (or write it up manually if you’re just skilled like that). Include attachments by adding the document ID (from the Google Drive URL when you’re viewing the document).
Finally, click “Start Mail Merge” from the Mail Merge menu, and your rich text mass email is sent, with attachments included.
Host Your Gmail Signature on Google Drive
Ever see anyone with those cool logo images in their email signature? Well, you can do it too if you integrate an image stored in a public folder on your Google Drive account into your Gmail signature. It’s a lot easier than it sounds.
First, create a new folder in your GDrive account called “Public”, and set it visible to the Public and access to “Anyone can view”.
Next, upload the logo image file to that shared directory. The image will take on the same share settings as the folder itself. Finally, get the public URL of your image by noting the ID string for the folder in the shared view. Then, insert the ID and the image name into the following URL string:
When you’ve got the string right, you should be able to paste the URL into a browser and see the image in your browser.
Type up your signature, and then place the cursor where you want to embed the image, and click on the image icon. Then, paste the URL you built above into the image URL field. Viola – your signature image will now show with every email signature.
Things get pretty useful and seamless when you start connecting Google services like Gmail and Google Drive, don’t they? It almost makes one wonder how many other productive things you can do when you start integrating apps with Google Drive.
Do you know of any other cool things you can do with Gmail and Google Drive? Please share your own creative ideas in the comments section below. Let’s get crazy with Google Drive and Gmail, shall we?