6 Little Known, Yet Useful Gmail Tips

Ellie Harrison 08-06-2008

Gmail Are you a power Gmail user? If not, these 6 little known, yet useful Gmail tips can get you on the road to being a power Gmail user today!

  1. Import your contacts from Outlook, Thunderbird or Yahoo! Mail to Gmail. Don’t spend your entire weekend trying to copy your contacts over from another program or service! Just export your contacts as a .csv file and upload to Gmail. You can upload up to 3,000 contacts at a time. Here’s a detailed how-to on importing contacts using this method.
  2. Import Contacts to Gmail

  3. Use the vacation responder to automatically send messages to contacts. You do not have to be on vacation in order to use the vacation responder. If I am facing a deadline and too busy to talk, I will set up my vacation responder to let people know that I appreciate their email and I will get back to them within a certain timeframe. This sets the expectation for them that I am not ignoring them and I will get back to them soon. My co-workers, family and friends appreciate it. You could also use the vacation responder to send “update” messages while you are away on vacation – change the message and let people know how much fun you are having!
  4. Gmail Vacation Responder

  5. Save time when sending messages to groups by creating groups in your contacts list. Stop typing in the first few letters of the name or email address of 20 different people that you send those neat and crazy forwards to every day! Just create a group called “Forwards” and add them to the group. Now, you can just type “Forwards” and Gmail will do the rest. Check out the details for specific instructions on how to create groups within Gmail contacts.
  6. Create Gmail Groups

  7. Mute conversations that are either out of hand or you aren’t interested in. My family and friends “group email” each other all day, every day. Sometimes, the topic is nothing I want to talk about or have an interest in, so pressing “m” on my keyboard allows me to mute the conversation. All subsequent emails are automatically archived, and search-able by searching for “is:muted”. Filters still apply and you can unmute a conversation if you want to join in later.

    Gmail  Conversation Mute Functionality

  8. Update your Web Clips to show your favorite RSS feeds and news clips right above your Gmail inbox. Gmail has many options available under the Settings menu, but you can add your own urls, too. The clips are shown randomly, and they are also clickable, so you can visit a blog directly from your email inbox or read up on some interesting news without typing in the URL everytime.

    6 Little Known, Yet Useful Gmail Tips clips prefs

  9. Create filters with multiple actions, to save time and keep your inbox clear. You have several options available to you, so use them! Coupled with the label system, you can create all types of filters that will make it easier to manage your incoming and existing mail. And you can also modify Gmail filters if you find it necessary.
  10. Gmail Filters

  11. Download Gmail Cheat Sheet to learn and master keyboard shortcuts. You might be surprised how much faster you can get while working on Gmail if you use shorcuts. You can download printable one page long Gmail cheat sheet from here. 10 Essential Cheat Sheets To Download Read More .

    Gmail Shortcuts

If you’re looking for more, check out our massive Gmail Tips article Ultimate GMail Collection: over 80 Tools and Tips Read More here. Do you have any other tips? Let’s hear it in the comments!

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. Jon Moss
    June 11, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Many thanks for the tips Ellie :-)

  2. Aibek
    June 10, 2008 at 3:58 am

    Ellie, thanks for these great tips. I had no idea about 'mute' functionaloty, it's awesome.

    • Ellie
      June 11, 2008 at 6:53 pm

      Mute is one of my favorite features because I have a large family and they tend to get off topic after 3 or 4 email exchanges. The best part is that you can "unmute" a conversation and catch up, just in case someone sends something interesting!

  3. Bachelor Design Guy
    June 9, 2008 at 8:11 am

    Thanks. This motivated me to finally import my contacts in Gmail.

  4. Mackenzie
    June 8, 2008 at 11:25 pm

    Vacation responders are obnoxious when it comes to mailing lists. Is it possible to make it respond only to messages that don't have a List: header?

    • Ellie
      June 11, 2008 at 6:52 pm

      At this time, it looks like you can only set up the responses to go to everyone who sends you mail or just people in your email contacts list. Perhaps you can temporarily delete the group's email address from your contacts list while you are gone then set the vacation filter to only use the "in contacts list" option?

  5. Travis Quinnelly
    June 8, 2008 at 10:53 pm

    Glad you included the filters.

    I use the heck out of the Gmail filter feature. This is perfect for anyone who subscribes to email lists or who just wants to automagically label certain type of emails with certain tags...even auto archiving them based of other criteria.

    Those guys behind Gmail are awesome.

  6. JK
    June 8, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    I think the last one sounds good. This useful feature, as I suppose, is not available in Hotmail.

  7. Jacky Supit
    June 8, 2008 at 1:57 pm

    ah thanks for the tips. i need this :)

    • kirk
      August 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm

      Does anyone advice on how to create differet versions of a google mail account. For example, if I have kirk@google..., wher in my account can i create kirk1, and Kirk2@google.. etc etc