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Gmail is a fantastic email client. In fact, I will go as far to say that it’s the best. With that said, can it really get any better? With these Chrome extensions, it can. And not just “better”, but also fantastically improved. Through my experience of using Gmail, I have stumbled upon lots of extensions for it – many of which I try and then uninstall. There have been some, however, that have really impressed me. These range from contact management to visual adjustments to scheduling and email management tools.

Do note that not all of these can or should be used together. Some are “competitors” and others just have features that take the place of another extension. That said, I feel all of these are excellent in what they do and should be tried out – I guarantee you will like them.

Before we get started, my goal is to show you the options. My personal opinion will come out and I’ll do some slight comparisons between rival extensions, but the primary purpose is to show you what is available and allow you to make the decision for yourself depending on whichever works best for you.

Insert Text

Insert Text is a subtle addition within Gmail that allows you to easily… well… insert text. After adding your preferred text in the options, all you have to do is right click in a text box in Gmail, hover over “Insert Text” in the dropdown menu and choose your weapon.

Notice that I said “a text box” and not just the email text field. This means you could use it for adding certain canned recipients into the “To:” field. It also means you can insert specific text into the subject line. This is a huge time saver for people who you email constantly.

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The options include two different text views: plain text and rich text. You also have the ability to organize your different text files into folders, and import and export files.

Insert Text is the kind of tool that is either very useful or not useful at all, depending on how you integrate it into your workflow. In other words, it is very customizable and only as useful as you make it.

Right Inbox

Right Inbox is an essential to Gmail and fills several missing features, the biggest and most popular one being scheduling emails. But there are also other features that it provides, such as email reminders. These are reminders that you set to send an email back to you based on different criteria, like if your contact doesn’t respond within a specific time frame that you have set, or if you just want to be reminded about the email later either because you don’t have time now, or it’s more relevant some time in the future.

There is one other feature that puts Right Inbox above similar extensions and that is the ability to track the email you’re sending. You can now get an email whenever the recipient opens your email and also can be notified whenever a link in an email is clicked. The free version permits ten uses of each of these features per month.

Boomerang For Gmail

Boomerang is the more popular contender to Right Inbox. They share many of the same features, including only allowing 10 uses per feature per month in the free version. However, Boomerang differs in that the free version doesn’t support email tracking in the sense that you are notified if a recipient opens your email or clicks on a link. It does, however, offer more features in the premium version.

These include notes for email reminders so that you know why the email reappeared in your inbox a week later. Other premium features offered are mobile access and the ability to schedule recurring messages.

Both Boomerang and Right Inbox integrate very well in Gmail and while they have their slight differences, they are quite similar. I recommend you try both out to determine which fits you best.

Boomerang Calendar – Beta (And Invites!)

If you haven’t heard, the creators of Boomerang For Gmail have created likely the best tool to connect Gmail and Google Calendar. Honestly, it’s quite surprising that Google hasn’t already created something like this, but I’m sure glad there is something now.

No more bouncing back and forth between tabs, copying and pasting event information or accidentally scheduling something in the wrong place because you had the wrong week selected in Google Calendar. The video above does an excellent job with describing all of the functions that Boomerang Calendar can do for you.

One feature that blows my mind is the ability to detect times and dates in emails. It’s quite accurate and helpful.

As a bonus, we have got some invites! Just enter the codemakeuseof” to get it!

Note: there is a limited number of invites, so hurry!

Smartr Inbox for Gmail

Created by Xobni, Smartr Inbox for Gmail is like your personal emailing assistant. Once you log in and catalog all of your emails and contacts with Xobni, you can see contact information, statistics for which contacts are emailed the most, your most recent emails, etc. Smartr Inbox is always displayed on the right side of Gmail whether an email message is open or not. This is either a benefit or a nuisance, depending on how you like to view your inbox and also how big your screen is. Although, the sidebar is collapsible, which is a feature that I haven’t seen in other similar extensions to Smartr Inbox.

Smartr Inbox offers other features such as newsfeeds from your social networks directly within Gmail. I’m still deciding whether I like this or not. Email can be a place of productivity. “Can” being the key word. By bringing in the option to read and post tweets and statuses to social networks, productivity is threatened. Now, if reading and posting tweets and statuses is somehow a part of increasing productivity workflow, great, but this could likely be a distracting feature to the majority of Gmail users.

Rapportive

Rapportive is another contact management tool for Gmail. And actually, it came first before Smartr Inbox. It’s also been mentioned here and there How To Instantly Review Email Sender Reputation on Gmail How To Instantly Review Email Sender Reputation on Gmail Read More on MakeUseOf and is definitely a favorite of mine.

Rapportive works by displaying your contacts’ information that they allow to be seen publicly on their social network profiles. This allows you to connect with people much easier and faster than before. Personally, I like the way that Rapportive integrates into Gmail better than Smartr Inbox. Xobni did a great job with their plugin, but in my opinion, I prefer Rapportive – it’s fast, lightweight and simple.

Attachments.me

I’ve actually already mentioned Attachments.me on MakeUseOf Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With Attachments.me Liberate Your Gmail Inbox Attachments With Attachments.me Have you ever received an email from your boss, family member, friend or some other connection with an attachment in it, then saved that email because you wanted to access the attachment later? You probably... Read More , but this article wouldn’t be complete without it. I won’t expand much on it – I’ll leave my other article to do that, but I will say that it is an excellent sidekick to Gmail and will transform the way that you access and manage your attachments.

Gmelius

Gmelius, also previously mentioned on MakeUseOf Customize Gmail's Online Interface With Gmelius [Firefox, Chrome & Opera] Customize Gmail's Online Interface With Gmelius [Firefox, Chrome & Opera] Remove features you don't like from Gmail, leaving behind only the things you do. Gmelius is a simple extension for Chrome, Firefox and Opera that lets you turn off parts of Gmail you're not interested... Read More , is a tool that allows you to clean up Gmail and customize it the way you want. Although some features that it provides may be controversial, such as removing ads AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil AdBlock, NoScript & Ghostery - The Trifecta Of Evil Over the past few months, I've been contacted by a good number of readers who have had problems downloading our guides, or why they can't see the login buttons or comments not loading; and in... Read More (but Rapportive does this too), many of its features can improve your productivity and your overall experience in Gmail.

I have taken a couple screenshots of my Gmail before Gmelius was enabled and then after. Some changes are subtle, while others are drastic. Each person’s preferences are different and Gmelius provides a lot to choose from.

Before:

After:

Minimalist for Everything

Minimalist for Everything has been included in our Best Chrome Extensions page 8 New Chrome Extensions Added to Our Best Chrome Extensions Page 8 New Chrome Extensions Added to Our Best Chrome Extensions Page There are so many extensions in the Chrome Web Store that it can be quite overwhelming to pick the right ones. Luckily, we did the work of sifting through the thousands of extensions for you,... Read More and is the updated version of Minimalist for Gmail, which was covered here previously on MakeUseOf. Minimalst for Everything is in beta and still growing, and currently only has two “modules” – Gmail and Google Reader, but more is promised to be coming in the future and I’m guessing you can expect there to be a module for pretty much… everything. When trying this extension out, I saw great potential, but personally I experienced some quirks. I wasn’t entirely sure if it was just my computer, or if there were some bugs to be worked out of it, but it was nothing major.

Personally, I feel Gmelius is the more stable option at the moment, but try out Minimalist for Everything and see how it compares! And if it doesn’t quite meet your expectations (although I bet it will), keep an eye on it because I predict there will be some excellent improvements and changes for it very soon.

Before:

After:

Conclusion

There are many other Gmail and Google Chrome extensions available that help with productivity, however, I feel that these are some of, if not the best. If you have one of your own, I would love to hear about it – and I’m sure all of the other readers would too!

Be sure to take a look at this other article 3 Chrome Extensions For Gmail That Help You Use Email Quickly 3 Chrome Extensions For Gmail That Help You Use Email Quickly It is sometimes a chore to open up Gmail and compose an email. What one needs is a productivity hack that could short circuit the process by a few seconds. Here are three Chrome extensions... Read More that features some excellent Gmail extensions. Looking to become even more productive within Gmail? Shortcuts are key. Also checkout the MakeUseOf Guide, The Ultimate Guide To Gmail The Beginner's Guide To Gmail The Beginner's Guide To Gmail Inside this 30+ page eBook you will find everything from Gmail's history to best ways to manage your emails to best Gmail hacks. Read More .

Which of these extensions do you use in Gmail? Remember to share the ones that you use that aren’t listed here!

  1. Mike Katz
    January 20, 2013 at 8:07 am

    Thank you for finding and sharing these!

    Was all-ready familiar with several of them and use rapportive like it was a lifeline.

    have tried attachments.me and love the idea but the execution is not ideal as it takes over the attach file drop-in and converts to your cloud(s) I need the option for either/or/both not forced to the cloud because what I've found is recipients are not able to always open the attachments. (could use some help/advice with this as it seems like a great extention overall)

    RIGHT INBOX seems amazing and I installed immediately after watching the video, it appears to be up to date with gmail's new compose and integrates perfectly! Thank you for this find very happy to have it... had previously used boomerang (as an original registrant prior to the restrictions) boomerang tends to occasional glitch and NOT ACTUALLY SEND the message, and the limitations make it no longer as appealing... combining the two though offers 20 messages allowed per month ;)

    BOOMERANG FOR CALENADER [BETA] - seems GREAT! Thanks for this, installed it after watching the video and looks terrific :)

    SMARTR inbox is nice but doesn't hold a candle to RAPPORTIVE (personal opinion and preference) it;s one or the other and for me truly prefer rapportive and would honestly gladly pay for the service as it has become absolutly vital for me in staffing projects and being able to auto-connect their social media profiles.

    GMELIUS is also an AWESOME extension which lets you select which features to use and enable or disable.

    very glad I read this post, thank you for the article!

  2. Augustine Correa
    November 7, 2012 at 6:25 am

    With some more extensions ...I think that we can an entire GTD (Getting Thinsg Done) system centered around GMail

  3. Terafall
    November 6, 2012 at 3:41 am

    So many ways to customize Gmail

  4. Robert
    November 2, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    Thanks! Great article!

    I was considering Boomerang but the developer feels it's necessary to charge Google Apps users $14.99 per month because we, "use it more".

    Right Inbox is a good alternative. The negative reviews should be noted but I have used it and it works well. They fee is much much reasonable.

    I would add Yesware http://www.yesware.com and Notes For Gmail http://www.notesforgmail.com/ to this list. Both of these are powerful tools to track emails, create templates, and in Notes For Gmail's case to add notes to the top of emails (only you see them) to reference what activity is taking place within that email at a quick glance.

    I used to use Google tasks but now I use Notes For Gmail and Right Inbox and I don't have to use google tasks anymore which is pretty nice.

  5. mindcruise
    August 6, 2012 at 4:09 pm

    Am looking up the utilities mentioned in the excellent article. But more even than that found your follow up and responses terrific.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 7, 2012 at 1:07 am

      Great! Glad you found this article interesting and helpful!

  6. VS Vishnu
    August 6, 2012 at 2:46 pm

    never knew...

  7. Varun Nagwekar
    August 6, 2012 at 4:25 am

    Sexy article. Installed almost all the extensions. Well researched and written.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 6, 2012 at 5:02 am

      Sexy huh? :P Well thanks! Put a lot of work into it so I'm glad you got something out of it!

      Thanks for reading! Hope to hear from you in more comments soon.

  8. Marco
    August 5, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    Great article.

    Boomerang is fantastic, unfortunately far from being affordable. You should have mentioned that Boomerang is very expensive. E.g. Individual owns a domain, is using Google Apps free edition and needs to schedule 11 mails a month. They charge 15 bucks a *month* for that. 15 bucks means 3 months Google Apps *Business* or at least two domain name registrations for a whole year or the amount of money I need to pay some Indian to manually schedule messages.

    Attachments.me: Excellent service, unfortunately you didn't mention their TOS. They have a copy of all your attachments on Amazon's cloud storage. For business users and some? individuals not acceptable.

    Right Inbox: Great service, but too expensive. Scheduling eleven mails cost 5 bucks a month. That is the same price as a Google Apps Business account with 25 GB storage and Google support. It should be ad-supported for up to maybe 100 messages a month or so. Business users need to schedule more than 100 for sure ... so it shouldn't be a problem IF their target audience is business users.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 5, 2012 at 7:54 pm

      Marco,

      Thanks for pointing these things out. While I was aware of Boomerang and Right Inbox's payment models, I didn't really consider those using Google Apps — I apologize for that.

      As for Attachments.me's TOS in regards to their copy of a file, I will see if they can explain that. Unfortunately, the words to describe how that works legally have escaped me, but I know that argument has been defended in a logical explanation before. I simply don't have the memory or expertise to explain it to you.

      If I can find something on that though, I will let you know.

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

  9. Wesley Denison
    August 3, 2012 at 2:54 am

    Another awesome article thanks!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 3, 2012 at 11:00 pm

      Wesley,

      YOU'RE awesome. I should be thanking you.

      So... thanks for reading!

  10. Ali Lou
    August 2, 2012 at 9:34 am

    found this useful info. have added insert text to gmail and checking out boomerang calender.

    • Aaron Couch
      August 3, 2012 at 10:59 pm

      Ali,

      That's great that it was useful for you! If you care to, let me know what you think of them.

      Thanks for reading!

  11. Fayz
    August 1, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Forget about Gmail turning into a productivity beast, these extensions will turn mine into productivity God! :p

    • Aaron Couch
      August 2, 2012 at 3:48 am

      Nice!

      Glad they're so significant for you! Let me know how it all goes and if you have any questions.

      Thanks for reading Fayz.

  12. Muhannad Agha
    August 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm

    Did I just heard the guy with the golden voice in the right box video?

    • Aaron Couch
      August 2, 2012 at 3:49 am

      It does catch your eye... er... ear... doesn't it? I wasn't sure where I'd heard his voice before though.

  13. Janice Burgess
    August 1, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    Always looking for new excitement!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 2, 2012 at 3:49 am

      Glad to provide some! :P

      Thanks for reading Janice!

  14. Laxminarain Ragunathan
    August 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

    Nice article. Tried most of these extensions in firefox. However, chrome crashes when I try installing Insert Text. Any thoughts?
    Thanks!

    • Aaron Couch
      August 2, 2012 at 3:47 am

      What I do whenever this happens is trying to run the extension by itself by clicking the option to run it in Incognito Mode, without any other extensions running in that mode.

      If it works, then you know that it's probably clashing with another extension and causing your browser to crash.

      If you are still having problems and you've figured that it's not another extension instigating the issue, it may be time to contact the developer to see if they have any thoughts.

      Personally, I never had any problems with Insert Text in my Chrome browser.

      Let me know if this helps. If you want more advice as far as narrowing down the problem between extensions (if that is the case), I'm more than happy to help.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Laxminarain Ragunathan
        August 3, 2012 at 7:08 pm

        I tried removing the existing extensions but Incognito won't work for any extension I tried to install.

        • Aaron Couch
          August 3, 2012 at 9:47 pm

          I just want to clarify something. Are you clicking the "Allow in incognito" check box?

          If you are and the extensions still aren't working in incognito, this might be a question to ask over on MakeUseOf Answers to see what any other readers and authors have to say.

  15. Rohitmittal3003
    August 1, 2012 at 6:50 am

    Awesome

    • Aaron Couch
      August 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

      I thought so as well!

  16. Rigoberto Garcia
    July 31, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Excellent article Aaron and agree with you test them to select the one that best suits your working conditions. Particularly I used Boomerang and I liked some things and prove Right Inbox now, for what you mention in your article seems to fill my expectations (appears to be more simple and functional)

    • Aaron Couch
      August 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

      Rigoberto,

      Thanks! Personally, I've used both Boomerang and Right Inbox and although I really like Boomerang Calendar, I prefer Right Inbox over Boomerang for Gmail.

      It really is all about user preference, but definitely give Right Inbox a try and see what you think! I'd love to hear your opinion of it once you start using it.

      Thanks for reading.

  17. Joe Johaneman
    July 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm

    I use some of these. I'd never heard of Right Inbox, so I'm going to give it a try. Thanks for the great article.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm

      Thanks for reading Joe! Let me know what you think about Right Inbox. It's pretty nice.

  18. ksavai
    July 31, 2012 at 5:55 pm

    Great list. Bookmarked.

    One thing I often miss is exp. date. I want some extension mark some type of expiry date and delete/archive that mail automatically so I dont have to do manually.

    Just saw outlook.com, Some sort of feature is there still have to dig in and I hope gmail will give that option in future

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 8:00 pm

      That's an interesting feature request. I might do some searching and see what I can dig up! Thanks for reading!

      • ksavai
        August 1, 2012 at 5:09 am

        I will be waiting if you can find that out. I miss that the most as lots of mails are useless after sometime like travel flight confirmation, amazon purchase etc etc

        • Aaron Couch
          August 1, 2012 at 7:07 am

          Found it! The best part is you don't even need an extension :)

          According to Internet Tip Of The Week:

          "For Gmail users, here’s a filter that will move all messages older than a certain date to your archive. Click “Create a Filter” and in “Has the words” enter “before:2009/07/01?. Now choose “Next.” Check “Skip the Inbox” and the box that says “Also apply this to the conversations below.” Now click “Create Filter.” Of course, you can change the filter to use any date of your choice, in the format “before:YYYY/MM/DD”."

          Here's the link to the post: http://www.internettipoftheweek.com/427/how-to-automatically-archive-old-messages-from-your-gmail-inbox/

          Hope this helps. Let me know!

        • ksavai
          August 1, 2012 at 9:53 am

          Yes it is helpful only if I want all my mails to archive it after certain period of time. This wont allow me to cherry pick.
          Still great suggestion. Thanks

        • Aaron Couch
          August 1, 2012 at 12:10 pm

          I believe if you said in the from field "Amazon AND [fill in date]" that it could work. I'll keep looking to see if I can come across something.

          By the way, you could add more than one sender to the filter too, so say you wanted to do this with PayPal and Newegg too, you could just put "PayPal OR Newegg OR Amazon AND [fill in date]"

  19. Aaron Couch
    July 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

    You're welcome! Thanks for reading!

  20. H G
    July 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

    Gmail for me as well is the best email client and now with these features is even better.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      My thoughts exactly H G! Thanks for reading!

  21. Vampie C.
    July 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

    Nice tools in there.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 5:41 pm

      Thanks! And thanks for taking the time to read the article!

  22. Salman Abdullah
    July 31, 2012 at 2:31 pm

    I don't like third party apps running on gmail.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 3:34 pm

      Salman,

      That's fine! Is it for privacy reasons? Or what are your opinions of them exactly?

  23. Jack Caine
    July 31, 2012 at 1:35 pm

    Streak (www.streak.com) is excellent...

    * Email scheduling
    * CRM
    * To Do Lists

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 3:32 pm

      Hey Jack thanks for pointing this out! I kind of wish I would have had you by my side while writing this to tell me about it so I could have included it in my article.

      I did find that we've covered it here on MUO (http://www.makeuseof.com/dir/streak-add-crm-gmail-inbox-chrome/), but it would have been a nice addition nonetheless.

      Thanks for sharing and reading!

  24. _giohappy_
    July 31, 2012 at 8:10 am

    I use groups in the Gmail To: field. Why do you say it doesn't work?

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 3:29 pm

      Sorry about this. Will in the comments above pointed this out. I'm not sure exactly why I said what I said to be honest. I may have tried to say one thing and it came out another way than I intended.

      But you're right, groups in Gmail works for me as well. I will have the editors make a change so that this is correct.

      Thanks for reading!

  25. Va Du
    July 31, 2012 at 6:45 am

    All I really need at the moment is email tracking built in to GMail but I know the reason why they don't do it.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 7:05 am

      I don't know if I know the particular reason why. Is it just for privacy reasons? Or is there a different reason?

      • Va Du
        July 31, 2012 at 7:15 am

        Privacy and Spam issues are likely the answer. That's why Google Apps only allows it for Business, Education, And Government customers.

        You guys also wrote an article about it at http://www.makeuseof.com/tag/how-to-track-your-emails-in-gmail-find-out-if-the-recipient-has-read-it/
        which I remember reading about.

        • Aaron Couch
          July 31, 2012 at 3:25 pm

          Thanks for the info! It certainly makes sense, but I wasn't even aware that Google has that feature at all for select groups. That's interesting.

  26. Phúc Ng?c
    July 31, 2012 at 4:34 am

    Awesome :x

    • Aaron Couch
      August 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

      Thanks! I thought the same thing :P

  27. Will_N_KC-MO-USA
    July 31, 2012 at 3:01 am

    "Unfortunately Gmail doesn’t have the ability to add a group of contacts to the “To:”

    In my Gmail contacts I have 3 groups set up. In the Groups I have list of 10 to 12 contact names per group. When I want to send to that group I just type in the group name in the TO: field and it will load all the names listed in my group contact. Works everytime.

    That said, THANK YOU" for your article. I 'm testing out some of the extensions as we speak. Peace my brother. Looking forward to more articles from you.

    Will in Kansas City MO - USA

    • Daniel Escasa
      July 31, 2012 at 3:12 am

      While it's useful, I wish that it wouldn't "expose" the email addresses of the people in the Group. That is, if I type in the Group name in the To: field, I'd rather that the Group name show up -- maybe as @gmail.com -- instead of the individual email addresses. But I guess that's asking for too much :). Hmm, maybe I'll try typing in the Group name in the BCC: field next time -- that ought'a do it.

      • Aaron Couch
        July 31, 2012 at 3:55 am

        Yeah I was going to suggest typing the name in the Bcc: field.

        Thanks for reading Daniel!

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 3:54 am

      That's true Will. What was I thinking when I wrote that? Haha I even use that feature! *looks at self strangely*

      Anyways, thanks for the compliment and you are welcome. Nice to hear from a fellow Midwesterner on MakeUseOf — I live in Omaha.

  28. Muhammad Ahmad
    July 31, 2012 at 2:38 am

    Very informative article for me.

    • Aaron Couch
      July 31, 2012 at 2:52 am

      Awesome! Thanks for reading.

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