Browsers Internet

How to Turn Your Gmail Inbox Into a Reading To-Do List

Ann Smarty 30-07-2011

gmail to do listIf you are often on Gmail, you most likely know how many things you can actually do with it (apart from readings and sending mail). We have already shared quite a few tips on how Gmail can be turned into a multitasking tool How To Turn Gmail Into A Multitasking Machine (Part 1) Read More but it is still amazing how this great free email service can come in handy for various purposes.


This post covers another fun way to use your Gmail account – collecting and organizing your daily reading list using your Gmail inbox.

Easily Email Any Article To Yourself

Google Chrome : “Email This Page”

Email this page lets you quickly compose an email by grabbing the page title and the text you have selected on the page. You can therefore highlight the main idea of the page and then easily remember why you decided to send this one to your reading list.

It can also be set up to always use the Gmail interface to compose a new message – even if you have another mail client by default.

gmail to do list

It’s an official extension by Google but it did seem to have some bugs. On some pages it refused to send me to the “compose mail” screen and just did nothing. I hope that’s just a temporal glitch.


FireFox : Email Yourself! [No Longer Available]

This is an excellent addon just for these purposes. Unlike the Google Chrome extension, it won’t make you type in your own email address each time.

It allows you to email yourself the link, title, and selected text of the page you are viewing using Gmail. After having it installed, just click a toolbar icon or use the keyboard shortcut and a new Gmail message will be created with the page details.

gmail todo list

Keyboard Shortcuts

  • For Windows and Linux Users: ALT+Windows+Tilde (~)
  • For Mac Users: Options+Command+Tilde (~)

Before using the extension, you’ll need to edit the two preferences:

  • Enter your gmail address.
  • Enter a personal identification message (used as a suffix for your email subject). By default it’s set to “-Sent via Email Yourself!”. In our case, this might be “TO READ LATER” or something similar.

Alternative FireFox Addon: Mozilla F1 (with Gmail support).

Any Browser : Notes For Later

Notes For Later sends the highlighted text, link, and time you accessed the page to your email. It works via browser bookmarklet. Each bookmarklet is unique and can be generated for your browser separately after you register.

Once you click a bookmarklet, it will let you enter a short note or just send the article right away:

gmail todo list


The app will send you the link together with details as well as the PDF of the page content (for offline reading How to Download a Complete Webpage for Offline Reading Use these methods to save webpages for offline reading and keep your favorite webpages at hand for when you need them most. Read More ).

Alternative App For Various Browsers (Including Mobile Browsers): JoliPrint

Organize Your Gmail Reading List

We receive lots of email messages daily, so how do you effectively organize your Gmail reading list? Gmail filters 3 Great Examples of Using Gmail Filters for Productivity Read More work best for this!

First, create a new label called “READING LIST” and filter your emailed links to get labeled automatically (and probably skip the inbox to avoid any clutter).


For “Email this Page“- and “Email Yourself“-type of extensions (that let you email links to yourself), you’ll need to set up a filter for all mail coming from yourself to yourself:

gmail todo list

For “Notes For Later“-types of tools (that email you from their official email accounts), filter all mail by their email address:

Gmail reading list

Now just let all the filtered mail go to your new label while skipping the inbox:

gmail to do list

Once you have read an item in your list, you can unstar the email to mark it as done.

Have you ever used your email as a reading list organizer? Please share your tips in the comments!


Related topics: Bookmarklets, Email Tips, Gmail, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Reading, To-Do List.

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  1. FishAndChips
    January 24, 2020 at 3:35 pm

    Cool. But I need to do the same thing with my IPhone, and I don't know how

  2. Jessica Cam W.
    August 2, 2011 at 9:42 pm

    Good article! I also recommend, which is a very helpful tool/bookmarklet that sends you the whole article instantly. There are two versions, one of which allows you to write notes on the email before sending it out.

  3. angrykeyboarder
    August 2, 2011 at 12:11 am

    No thanks. I've got enough to deal with when it comes to email. There are better options out there (Read It Later, Instapaper, Diigo, Delicious....).

  4. Aaron Couch
    July 31, 2011 at 3:35 am

    This is a good idea, but I am actually trying to thin out my Gmail from getting notifications from different sites ect. and keep it more basic. Also, I have found that Evernote works best for storing articles I would like to read. One though is that if you want to use Evernote to store the majority of emails you can email them from Evernote into Gmail when you want to read them.

    Another thing that could have been mentioned to this is maybe you want to read an article but not today, you could email it to yourself and then use the Boomerang for Chrome— (and I believe Firefox) add-on to schedule it to come back in X many of days. The Gmail blog also shared a script that can do this too—

    • Saipreethgk
      August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm

      test msg