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Gmail and Outlook are two different beasts. Compared to the industry standard, Gmail is missing features and the look you may be used to.
What you may not know is there are several ways in which you can make Gmail mirror Outlook in its appearance, function, and operation.
In addition to various official features that you can enable through Gmail, you can also install browser extensions to change things up a bit. Here are eight Chrome extensions to help you make Gmail more like Outlook.
Note: If you want to completely switch from Gmail to Microsoft Outlook and currently use Office 365, you can import all Gmail content into Outlook.
If Outlook is your default email app, Windows will automatically open it when you click on a “mailto:” link. In fact, Outlook usually opens the “compose mail” window and offers you a blank slate to start with.
Without Outlook, Windows will usually ask you to define what application you’d like to open “mailto:” links with. But you can use the Send From Gmail extension, developed by Google, to ensure that any and all “mailto:” links open that “compose” window in Gmail, instead of another app.
This saves a ton of time and makes things much easier when working with Gmail. It also adds a button to your browser toolbar that allows you to forward web content through a Gmail message. You could, for instance, send an article you found to yourself to read later or recommend it to a colleague. You could say that this extension offers a two-for-one benefit with the features it adds.
Download: Send From Gmail (by Google) (Free)
In Gmail, when you open a correspondence with someone, you’ll notice there’s a unique sidebar that includes more detailed contact information. This sidebar is only populated if the necessary information is available through Google’s services. If the contact email of the person reaching out is not connected to any extra details, the sidebar will simply be useless.
Rapportive lets you populate that sidebar when using Gmail, which will help you manage details relating to your contacts. This is similar to Outlook’s contact management, but with a much smoother integration.
Owned by Microsoft and LinkedIn, Rapportive includes a ton of useful information such as your contact’s LinkedIn profile, social connections, Skype name, personal website and brand affiliations, and even recent status updates from social networks.
But the extension takes it a step further, allowing you to add personal notes and reminders to yourself that only you can see. This allows you to organize and keep track of detailed info that may help you during communication. Marketers, for instance, can make a note why they reached out to a particular contact and what company they are associated with.
Download: Rapportive (Free)
One of the most productive features of Outlook is that you can learn keyboard hotkeys and shortcuts to do things quickly. Once you learn the hotkeys, you can call up any action or function without messing with added menus.
Gmail has similar features, but some of the hotkeys are tough to discern, and the documentation for the platform can be extensive and complicated. That’s where KeyRocket for Gmail comes into play. As you use your email to do things, the extension will show suggestions. These recommendations include keyboard shortcuts and hotkeys.
Say, for instance, that you’re always opening a new compose window. The extension would tell you how to do this with just a couple keystrokes. In time, you learn the suggested shortcuts and become a Gmail pro, just as you were with Outlook.
The extension is free for Chrome, but there is a premium version that makes the tool available for other programs, like Microsoft Office.
Download: KeyRocket (Free)
One of the many benefits of using a third-party software is that you can leave the app open in the background and you’ll still receive notifications when a new message arrives in your inbox. With the Checker Plus extension for Gmail, you can see notifications no matter what you’re doing, and you don’t even have to leave Gmail open in a window or tab.
It will tell you when new content is available, offer brief details like the sender and subject, and you can even mark content as read, archive it or delete it.
Of course, the newest versions of Chrome have notifications enabled for various apps and services, so you can go that route as an alternative.
Download: Checker Plus for Gmail (Free)
5. Blade Signatures
In Gmail, as with the original Outlook, you can set up and designate signatures for each of your email accounts. The problem is, they look rather boring unless you’re handy with web design.
The Blade Signatures extension allows you to set up attractive and colorful email signatures that look much more professional than a stock signature. You can add a personal photo or avatar, website, social profile, and personal contact info.
With the free version of the extension, you can set up a total of two signatures and switch between them seamlessly. If you need more, you can purchase a premium subscription or setup custom signatures in Google Drive.
Download: Blade Signatures for Gmail (Free) [No Longer Available]
This tool isn’t exactly a browser extension or add-on for Gmail. But it is a desktop application that you can use to install and access Gmail content offline, just like you can do with Outlook.
Here are some of the things you can do with GMVault:
- Back up emails locally to access offline.
- Encrypt saved emails for added security.
- Restore emails to any Gmail account.
- Access open-source community and support.
- Customize the interface and platform.
As with most open-source projects, you do have an option to donate to the community to support its future development, but it’s not required to download, install, or use the app.
Gmvault is available on all platforms including Mac, Windows, Linux, and more.
Download: GMVault (Free)
Gmelius is a premium, all-in-one solution for Gmail that converts the look and functionality of the service. It overrides updates to Gmail, like the new sorting feature that sends emails to various labels such as promotions, updates, social, and primary.
It adds so many features that we don’t have room to explain them all here, so we’ll touch on the most useful ones. With this extension you can:
- Schedule emails to be sent later.
- Set up reminders for yourself.
- Apply email templates.
- Leave personal notes on emails.
- Integrate your email with a to-do list and task manager toolset.
- Personalize the interface colors and theme.
- Utilize full GIF support.
- Use markdown in your emails to customize content.
That’s just a portion of what this tool offers. You can see why we don’t have time to explain everything!
Pricing varies from $0 to $10 per month (billed annually) depending on the features you need. The extension is always free to install, however.
Download: Gmelius (Free, $5/mo Premium, $10/mo Business)
8. Chrome Like Outlook 2016
This Chrome browser extension is the most direct way to make Gmail more like Outlook. It changes the entire Gmail experience to be more like Microsoft’s email service.
What is it exactly? It’s a browser theme, which you can use to convert the colors and style of the window and various elements onscreen. Sadly, it doesn’t add any functionality to the browser. It does, however, make the transition much easier if you’re used to the visual theme, style, and colors of Outlook and would like to see that used for Google Chrome and Gmail.
Note: While this extension received its last update back in November 2016, it functions great as-is.
Download: Chrome Like Outlook 2016 Theme [No Longer Available] ($0.99)
What Outlook Features Will You Add to Gmail?
Now that you know some ways you can make Gmail more like Outlook, what aspect of your Gmail inbox would you change? Tell us in the comments!
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