9 Awesome Gmail Features You Probably Don’t Use

Mihir Patkar 20-11-2015

Everyone loves Gmail, right? It’s one of the best email services, it’s completely free, and it works like a dream. But you’ll be surprised how little of Gmail’s plethora of features you are actually using.


Good old Gmail got a few exciting new features recently What's New in Good Old Gmail? 5 Features You Should Check Out You might have missed out on a few new features Gmail has gradually added in the past year. So let's look at what deserves our attention. Read More , but that’s only the tip of the iceberg. Several cool things in Gmail have existed for a long time without anyone bothering to use them. Let’s change that today.

Mute Group Emails to Stop Distractions


We’ve all been there. A group-wide email goes out, and everyone keeps hitting “Reply All”, causing a constant ping in your inbox. You need to deal with notification-based tech distractions How To Turn Off Distracting Tech Notifications Almost Anywhere These days, we're constantly barraged with email updates, system alerts, and annoying texts from hypothetical neighbors named Brad about how he got his pet chinchilla stuck in the dryer vent again. But for some reason,... Read More , and Gmail has some help.

When you want to read these emails later but not be disturbed by the constant back-and-forth, you can mute an email thread. Just open the message, click the “More” button in the top bar, and choose “Mute“. It’s as simple as that.

Now you’ll get every message update in this conversation, but no notifications for it. Ah, peace of mind.


Right-click Emails to Archive, Delete, or Mark as Read


Your inbox can get overwhelming very quickly. Every productivity guru advises sorting your emails Here's the Most Decisive Email Sorting Solution You Will Ever Need One simple sorting solution will ensure you are always on top of your email messages. You need just four labels or folders to manage your inbox and reduce your email stress. Read More to manage them and reach the fabled inbox zero. When you’re sorting quickly, you need to be able to delete, archive or mark an unread email as read.

You’ll need to enable the “Mark as Read” button in Gmail Labs. Enable it by clicking Cog > Settings > Labs > Mark as Read Button > Enable > Save Changes.

In Gmail, it’s tedious to constantly select an email and then move your mouse to the buttons up top for these actions. But you don’t need to do that. The humble right-click has these three actions at the ready. Start getting used to this, you will sort your emails twice as fast as you used to do before!


Gmail Has a Preview Pane!


I’d be richer than Zuckerberg if I had a penny for every time someone said, “I like how Outlook shows the email list and opens the clicked email in a pane. I don’t like switching back and forth.” Yes, that reading pane makes it easy to blast through emails in Microsoft Outlook How to Blast Through Your Emails in Microsoft Outlook Don't let your emails monopolize your day, use these Outlook tips to take back control of your Inbox. Read More , but it’s in Gmail too!

Enable it through Gmail Labs by clicking Cog > Settings > Labs > Preview Pane > Enable > Save Changes.

In your main inbox view, you’ll find a four-line icon next to the Settings cog in the top-right corner. Click the drop-down arrow, and choose between “No Split” (no preview), “Vertical Split” (email list at the left, preview at the right), or “Horizontal Split” (email list above, preview at the bottom).


Bookmark Emails and Searches with Quick Links

I’ll never understand why Quick Links isn’t more popular. Saikat already talked about it in the 10 most underused Gmail features Save Your Time With 10 Underused Google Features Google's tools and services do everything for us. But there are a lot of features that go underused. Save a few seconds and get more done with the Google tools you use every day. Read More , but it bears mentioning again.


Enable it through Gmail Labs by clicking Cog > Settings > Labs > Quick Links > Enable > Save Changes. It is a simple Gmail Labs extension that sits in your sidebar. What does it do?

Well, for one, you can save any email with this. When you have an email open, just click the “Add Quick Link” button, give it a unique name, and save it. Next time you click that link, you’ll be transported back to that email.



Similarly, if you have searched for a particular query, you can bookmark that search results page through the same process.

Just note that you can’t add quick links if you have the Preview Pane on, so switch the pane off when you need to add a quick link.

URL Trick to Switch User Accounts


If you have more than one Gmail account, you can sign into multiple user accounts 4 Ways to Simultaneously Manage Multiple Gmail Accounts Many of us have 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... Read More now. Whenever you want to switch, click your avatar in the top-right corner and choose the other account. It’s simple, but if you love Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts The Most Useful Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts Everyone Should Know The easiest way to boost your Gmail productivity is to start using keyboard shortcuts for common tasks. Read More , then there’s a keyboard-friendly trick.

Go to the URL, and change between “0”, “1”, “2” to switch to the account you want. So for example:

Account 1:

Account 2:

Account 3:

Quick and easy, right?

Enable Personal Level Indicators


You can find anyone’s real email address with Gmail How To Find Someone's Real Email Address With Gmail Need to email someone but don't have their address? Here are some common sense to come up with solutions that will help you figure out most people's true email addresses. Read More , but that also leaves you open to getting unsolicited emails. Personal level indicators are a great way to find emails that deserve your attention. You can enable it in Cog > Settings > General > Show Personal Level Indicators.

With that, a double arrow (>>) indicates emails sent only to you, and a single arrow (>) indicates emails sent to your email address and not a mailing list. A nice way to differentiate, right?

Sign Out Remotely to Stay Safe


Are you sure that you remembered to log out of Gmail from your office computer today? Could your friend still access your Gmail when you borrowed his laptop? The easy way to stay safe is to log out of other sessions remotely—after all, where you are using it matters, right?

Scroll to the end of your inbox and you will find Last Account Activity: x minutes ago. Click Details under it.


A pop-up window will show you all the other computers and places you are logged in to Gmail with. With one click, you can sign out of all of them. The next time anyone wants to use your email there, the user will be asked for a password.

Verify Emails from Big Services

You’re often warned of PayPal and other scammers targetting your inbox How Scammers Target Your PayPal Account & How To Never Fall For It PayPal is one of the most important accounts you have online. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a huge PayPal fan, but when it comes to your money, you don’t want to play around. While... Read More , but you also use those services regularly. So how do you know an email is authentic? Another Labs classic, Verified Senders will ensure you’re getting emails from the proper services and not scammers.


Enable it through Gmail Labs by clicking Cog > Settings > Labs > Authentication icon for verified senders > Enable > Save Changes.

Now, whenever you get an email from a proper service, you’ll see a little key icon to indicate it’s authentic. This way, you’re protected; if you don’t see that icon, play it safe and don’t download anything from that email or reply with any important or secure information.

Change What You See in the Sidebar

You want to see “Inbox” and “Important”, but don’t want to see “Chats” or “Sent Mails” in Gmail’s left-hand sidebar? Yup, that’s quite doable!


Go to Settings > Labels and you will see a list of System Labels. Click “show” or “hide” on any option depending on what you want to see and what you want to hide! It’s simple and it reduces the clutter in your sidebar.

You can also do that with Categories, Circles, and general Gmail Labels!

How Many Do You Use?

So, that’s our list of nine cool Gmail features that most people don’t know about. How many of these do you use regularly?

And yes, help us fill number 10 in this list with an unused feature not noted here, but one that you swear by!

Related topics: Email Tips, Gmail.

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  1. prasad todkar
    April 14, 2016 at 12:56 pm

    can we put different signature for "new mail" and "forward/reply mail".

  2. DudeFromPlace
    December 28, 2015 at 6:23 am

    Great article! The Gmail app on my Kindle Fire HD has become "split screen" with an inbox pane on the right and message content on the left. It's really difficult to use this way because of the screen's small size, but I've looked in every nook and cranny in the settings and can't find a way to get it back to full screen (which it was until today). Any ideas? Thanks, and keep up the good work!

    • Mihir Patkar
      December 28, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Hmmm I don't have that on my tablet, not sure how it's in yours. Maybe someone else can help, sorry!

  3. Anonymous
    November 27, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    I saw many advice about Gmail from you. Can you help me in Android version? I can't mark any message as unread on my mobile device but it's working on PC (either with Linux and Windows OS). I can do this on my old phone (Android 2.3.x) but I can't on my newer phone (Android 4.2.x) and tablet (Android 4.2.x). I don't like this type of downgrade. Do you have any idea what can I do? Thanks.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:38 pm

      In the gmail app on Android, long-press any message to select it. The three options in the menu bar on top are "Archive" (folder with a down arrow), "Delete" (Trash can icon), "Mark as read/unread" (Envelope icon, either open or shut). You need to tap the third icon. Hope that helps!

      • Anonymous
        November 30, 2015 at 8:32 pm

        Thank you very much.

  4. Anonymous
    November 23, 2015 at 1:00 am

    Shades of The Purloined Letter! That split window selector has been in my Gmail window forever, and I never dug in to see what it was! And all along I was probably griping about not having the Outlook layout while idly rolling the mouse around and muttering, "I wish Gmail had a split window!"...while I stared at the silly thing.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      See Kelsey, I do write useful stuff... sometimes.

      • Anonymous
        November 30, 2015 at 7:11 pm

        You sure do! And I've saved all four of those articles for future reference.

        • Anonymous
          November 30, 2015 at 7:13 pm

          Just kidding! You do very good work lol. There's your grin for the day. :D

  5. wendy brandt
    November 22, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Great info here. I can't wait to try some of these things. Thanks for putting this together.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:39 pm

      You're welcome, Wendy, glad you liked it :)

  6. Uffe
    November 22, 2015 at 4:13 pm

    You can't use Preview Pane and quick links together, Quick Links don't work when you have horisontal or vertical view

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Yes Uffe, we noted that in the article already :)

  7. Farha
    November 22, 2015 at 11:41 am

    Cool! I'd use them now.. Here I come Gmail.. Thanks for the post.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:40 pm

      Glad you liked it, Farha!

  8. Rockaman
    November 21, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Precisely exactly so much time wasted surely this can be rectified

  9. GIgi
    November 21, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Still can't sort alphabetically though? The one thing SO MANY WANT - PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE... set it up in "All Mail" - I'd be thrilled! then I could find, sort, spam, delete without all the "bells and whistles". PLLLLLEEEEEAAASSSSEEEEEEE??????????????? (Yes, I know how to hover over email and get all msgs. from someone, but when getting tons of emails everyday, it would be great to view them alphabetically, because then I don't have to spend hours sorting, looking for "where" my emails were put.... Thanks.

    • Mihir Patkar
      November 30, 2015 at 1:41 pm

      Oooh that's a good one! I've never felt the need to do that, but you're right, it would be really useful.