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Access Gmail

Work with Messages

Attach Files

Organize, archive, delete messages

          Contacts/Address Book/Groups


    Mobile Access


Access Gmail using the Web
You can access Gmail by logging into myTC and clicking on the Gmail icon in the upper right section of the portal.

Access Gmail using a Client (Outlook, Apple Mail, Thunderbird , etc)
We strongly recommend using the web interface to access all features of the new service.  The web interface does not require installation (as long as you have a web browser), works across platforms, allows you to take advantage of the collaborative aspects of the tool, and is easier to troubleshoot. In specific cases you may need to configure a client for functionality such as mail merges.  In most cases, connecting a client to Gmail involves configuring an IMAP connection to Google. 

  • The username for your client is the entire email address ( i.e.: abc1234@tc.columbia. edu) 
  • the password is your  Google Sync Code ( NOT YOUR UNI PASSWORD), available in myTC on the Search & Help tab
  • The incoming server address  is: imap.gmail.com
  • the outgoing server address  is: smtp.gmail.com. 

More on onfiguring your IMAP Client

Supported Browsers
Google recommends the following browsers:  Internet Explorer 7 or higher, Firefox 3 or higher, Safari 3 or higher, and Chrome.   If you do not have the latest browser on your system and need assistance with installing, please contact the Help Desk at helpdesk@tc.columbia.edu.  Below is a link to the official Google web site listing all recommended browsers.  http://mail.google.com/support/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=6557

Use the Spell Checker
There is no automatic spell checker. If you need to check the spelling of your message click Check Spelling at the top of the message. Misspelled words are highlighted in yellow. Click a misspelled word to see suggestions for similar words.  Some browsers such as Firefox and Chrome also offer spell check.  These browsers will underline misspelled words in red.

Spelling in a Foreign Language
The default language for your spell check is selected in your Settings. To check spelling in another language, click the down arrow next to Check Spelling and then select the language.

Reply to or Forward a Message
To reply to or forward a single message without including the entire thread, make sure that you open the window of that specific message.  On the upper right, click on the arrow next to Reply to see options including Reply All, Forward and more

Change Send As email account
By default, your email address in the From: field is automatically set to your "lastname"@exchange.tc.columbia.edu.  If you would like to change that to your UNI email address, while composing an email, click the down arrow next to your name, and select your UNI@tc.columbia.edu.  If you would like to change the default email address to another valid TC email alias, you can do so in the Settings section of your TCGmail account.  While logged into TCGmail, select "Settings" under the gear icon located in the upper right side of the screen.  Click the "accounts" tab and under the "Send Email As...." section, add your valid email address.  Once validated, you can change the default email Send As by choosing Default.

Disable WebClips within your Inbox View
By default, Google WebClips are enabled and viewable just above your inbox in TCApps in the blue status bar area.  You have the option to turn this off.  While in your Inbox, select Settings under the gear icon and click on the WebClips tab and deselecting the check box for Show my web clips above the Inbox.

Work with Distribution Lists
TC Email distribution groups are available utilizing our Listserv system.

Signature Options
Select Settings under the gear icon in the upper right corner of the page. Enter your signature text in the box next to the Signature option (typing text into that box will automatically turn on the signature option). Select Save Changes to confirm your signature. Gmail adds your signature at the end of every message you reply to or forward. You can write up to 2000 characters in your signature. Be aware that special formatting, graphics and html are not supported.

You can also make your signature appear in the appropriate place under your emails when you Reply or Forward (instead of at the very bottom of the message thread) as follows: select Labs under the gear icon on the upper right of the Gmail page. Scroll down to Signature Tweaks, click on Enable and then Save (at the very bottom or top).

Include file attachments in email messages
You can attach Word, PowerPoint, Excel, PDF, JPEG, HTML and any other file that is compatible with your email. If you are using Google Chrome 4.0 or Firefox 3.6 you can drag and drop a file from your desktop onto your Gmail message window and your file will automatically attach to your email message. You can also attach a file directly to your Gmail message. Internet Explorer is not supporting this function (yet).

Size or type limitation for file attachments
You can send and receive messages up to 25 megabytes (MB) in size. Also, as part of virus protection Gmail won't accept file attachments that are executable files.

Copy a file attachment from one message to another
Open the message or conversation that contains the file attachment. If the file is attached to a single message, click Forward (at the bottom of the message). Delete all the "forwarded" content from original messages, which appears at the bottom of your new message. Note that the file attachment remains with the forwarded message. Then compose your new message and send it. Alternatively, you can download the attachment and then upload it to another message.

Organize Messages with Labels
Instead of folders Gmail allows you to organize your folders with Labels. Labels are more powerful and flexible because you can use different labels for a message thus allowing for a better search.  You can create up to 1800 different labels and the name of a label can only be up to 40 characters long. When you migrate from Exchange, your folders will be converted to labels.  Nested folders will be named with a slash. For example, if you had a Reference folder with a Google folder inside it, the items in the Google folder would be labeled Reference/Google.

Instructions on how to apply labels to your messages

Move a Message to a Label
If you've already created the label, select the message in your Inbox or open it, and then select a label from the Move to drop-down list at the top of your Mail window. If you haven't yet created the label you want, select Create new instead. If you want to move a message to multiple labels at once, select the message in your Inbox or open it, and then select the labels in the Labels drop-down list at the top of your Mail window. Then click Archive.

Change a Label
To change a label on a single message, select the message and then, in Labels drop-down list at the top your Mail window, uncheck the label currently applied to it. Then select another label and click Apply.

To change a label on all messages that have that label, click the label in your Labels list at the left of the Mail window. At the top of the list that appears, click Select all. Then, in Labels drop-down list, uncheck the label you want to remove, and select the new label you want to apply. Click Apply

Simulate a Folder Tree with Labels
Use a character, such as a forward slash (/) to separate your top-level label from sub-labels. Create sub-labels by appending them to your top-level labels
using the separator. For example, with the top-level label "Projects," your sub-labels might be "Projects/Artwork" and "Projects/Brochures." Another option is to use a Labs feature for nesting labels. For more information please click here.  

Rename a Label
Click on the grey square to the left of the label.CLick on the little triangle that appears and a menu will show up with the option to rename the label

Use Stars
You use stars to highlight a message as a visual reminder to return to it later. To see all messages with a star, click Starred at the left of your Mail window.

Mark a Message as "unread"
Select the message. Then, in the More actions drop-down list, select Mark as unread.

Archive and Delete Messages
If you either delete or archive a message, it's removed from your inbox. If you delete a message, it's placed in the Trash and then removed from your Google Apps account after 30 days. On the other hand, if you archive a message, it's moved to All Mail (your archive), where you can easily find it in the future, using Google's powerful search feature. Messages remain in your archive forever unless you choose to delete them. Messages remain in the Trash for 30 days. After that, Gmail deletes them. If you need to move a message out of the trash, find the message in the Trash and select it. Then, in the Move to drop-down list at the top of the Mail window, select Inbox. All outgoing email from faculty and staff is archived at Postini for 10 years.

Search for Messages
To search for messages, type a word that the messages contain. Note, however, that Search matches "whole words" only --- that is, it doesn't recognize partial or similar matches. For example, if you search for benefits, Search won't find benefit or benef. Also, Search doesn't recognize special search characters, such as square brackets, parentheses, currency symbols, the ampersand, the pound sign or asterisks.

By default, Search doesn't look in your Trash or Spam folders. To search those folders also, click Show search options next to the Search field, and then, in the Search drop-down list, select Mail & Spam & Trash.

More info on searching for a message

Handling Spam
Messages remain in the Spam folder for 30 days. After that, Google Mail permanently deletes them.If you want some messages to be treated as non spam you need to create an email filter using the Never send it to Spam option:

  • In Google Mail, click Settings > Filters > Create a new filter.
  • Enter the person's address in the From field, and then click Next Step.
  • Select Never send it to spam, and then click Create Filter.

How to insert Image into email messages
Inserting an image to an email cannot be done by just selecting an image and copying and pasting in with Gmail.  Since Gmail is now accessed via a browser window, this option is not available.  An added step is required to be able to insert an image into a Gmail message utilizing Google Docs.

While logged into your TC Gmail account:

  • Open up Google Documents.
  • Create a new Document, by selecting the Create New button on the left pane of the window and choosing Document.
  • Select the image you want to copy and press CTRL-C
  • Go back to the new Google Document you created, click on an empty area within the document and press CTRL-V
  • The image should appear in the new document.
  • Click on the Image and press CTRL-C
  • Go create a new email and click in the body of the email press CTRL-V
  • This will insert the image into the email body and you can send it off.

Create mailing (distribution) lists
Distribution lists are called contact groups in Gmail. Create contact Group

Exporting Outlook Distribution Lists for import into Google Contacts

Import a distribution list from Outlook

Create a new Distribution list

  • Open Outlook and display the addresses in the mailing list.
  • In your Google contacts, click the New Group button.
  • In the Add to group field, start typing the email address of a contact in the Outlook mailing list (refer to the open Outlook mailing list for the addresses).
  • When the contact appears, select it. Google contact manager adds the contact to the new group.
  • Continue adding contacts to the group.


Change the colors of the Mail window
Click on Settings in the upper-right corner of your Mail window. Then select Themes.

Migrate Email and Data
All on-line Exchange email data has been migrated by the CIS department (inbox emails, calendar and contacts). You have the option to migrate any additional archived Personal Folders within Outlook/Entourage by following the links below. Please be aware that running the tool multiple times may result in duplicate calendar and contact entries.

Migrate using a PC

The following links apply to Outlook 2003/2007


Migrate using a MAC

Other Platforms / Clients
The following link applies to Eudora, Outlook Express, Thunderbird for PC, Windows Mail (Vista/7) 

Out of Office
You can set up your "Vacation responder" which is similar to the Exchange "Out of Office".

Email rules
You may create your message handling rules using the Filters  feature.

Keyboard shortcuts

  • In the upper-right corner of the Mail window, select Settings under the gear icon.
  • Under Keyboard shortcuts select Keyboard shortcuts on.
  • Click Save Settings.
  • Then, to see the shortcuts press SHIFT+? while viewing your list of messages in the main Mail window.

Contacts/Address Book

Access Contacts
In your Google Apps Mail window, click Contacts on the left.

Find contacts when composing an email message
You can cut and paste email addresses from various locations. Once you add an email address to Gmail, it will always remember it.
You can find current email addresses from TC’s web page People Search function. Within the portal, the myTC photo directory on the Search and Help tab has very good search options. Click on "more options." For any field, you can enter parial strings if you don't know the full spelling, and you doin't need to start with the first letter.
You can cut and paste email addresses from your old Outlook/Entourage contacts/address book into a new Gmail To: field

Add Contacts
Whenever you send an email message to someone, the Google Apps contacts manager adds that person's email address to your Suggested Contacts list. You can then select the addresses you want to add to your personal contacts, as follows: On the left of your Mail window, click Contacts, and then click Suggested Contacts. Select the addresses you want to add, and then click Move to Contacts.

  • Open your Contacts list, and in the Search contacts field, start entering the contact's name or email address.
  • When the contact appears, select it, and then click Move to My Contacts (above the contact's details on the right).

If you haven't yet sent email to a contact or group, you'll need to create a new contact and manually enter all the contact's information, including the email address.

Transfer your personal contacts from a mail client to Gmail
Download your contacts to a file, and then upload them to Gmail

Creating Contact Groups
Access your Gmail contacts picker and create a new contact group. Your contact group will appear in your personal contacts manager in Google Apps. To access the contacts picker:

  • When composing an email message: Click the To: link.
  • When creating a meeting invitation: In the event details window, click Choose from contacts under Add Guests.

See Creating Contact Groups


Setting up the Time Zone

  • Access Google Calendar.
  • In the upper right of the page, select Settings under the gear icon. 
  • On the General page, in the Language section, select a language. 
  • In the Country and Your current time zone sections, select the appropriate options.
  • In the Date format section, select an option.
  • In the Time format section, select an option.
  • Click Save at the bottom of the page.

You can view two time zones in Google Calendar. To add another time zone to your calendar view, click Settings. On the General tab, under Your current time zone select another time zone in the Additional time zone list.

Event reminders
Google Calendar displays a pop-up reminder 10 minutes before an event by default. You can change the reminder time by editing the settings for your calendar. To receive event reminders, make sure your Calendar window is open.

Schedule Meetings

You can send meeting invitations to any email address. The maximum number of invitees per meeting is 500. 
To set up a recurring meeting, select an option in the Repeats drop-down list in your meeting invitation.

Propose a new time to the meeting host

  • To propose a new time to the host only, enter your proposal in the Add a Note field.
  • To propose a new time to all the attendees, click the Email guests link in the upper-right corner to send your new proposal in an email message to one or more attendees.

Invite a group to a meeting

You need to add each attendee individually to your invitation. Or, you can create your own "contact groups" using your Google Apps contacts picker, as follows:

  • In your invitation, under Add Guests, click Choose from contacts
  • In the contacts picker that appears, start typing the name of one of the people you want to invite. 
  • When the name appears, click it to add it to the list below. 
  • Repeat these steps for each person you want to invite. 
  • Then select Save As Group to create a contacts group in your personal contacts. 
  • Enter a name for the group and then click OK.
  • Click Done to invite the group to your meeting.

Now you can invite the same group to any meetings you schedule in the future, by clicking Choose from contacts and selecting the group in the drop-down list in the contacts picker and schoosing  Select all.

Forward an invitation to another employee
If the meeting host selected the option to allow guests to invite others:

  • Click Add guests in your meeting invitation
  • Type the address to which you want to forward the invitation.
  • Click Save.

Google Calendar will ask you if you want to send an invitation to the new guest. The new guest will then always receive updates to the meeting from the host. Note that the meeting host is notified by email that you invited another attendee.

Meeting Notification

By default, notifications are turned off. But you can turn reminders on and choose whether to receive notifications as pop-ups, audio signals or email messages. You can also get them on your smartphone. To turn on reminders: 

  • Go to your Google Calendar via myTC.
  • In the upper-right corner of the page, click Settings under the gear icon. 
  • Click the Calendars tab.
  • Under My Calendars, click the Notifications link for your calendar. 
  • Choose the settings you want.
  • Click Save.
  • For audio notifications, select Labs under the gear icon and enable Gentle Reminders or set up desktop notifications for use with the Chrome browser.

To see a list of those who have accepted your invitation, open the event details.

Changing appointments or meetings in a calendar
Drag the appointment or a meeting to another time. If you are a meeting host Google Calendar will ask you if you want to notify your guests.

Past events
Your past events remain on your calendar forever, unless you delete them. If you want to view past events, make sure you wait a few seconds for Google Calendar to retrieve them for the date you select.

Add a URL to an event
To create a link to a website in the event description, simply type the URL, such as http://www.google.com. You can also create linked text by using HTML tags. For example, to create the link Product Info, you would use HTML code in the format <a href="www.some-url.com">Product Info</a>. If the HTML code is valid, Google Calendar hides the HTML when you save the event (but shows the text "Product Info"). It then creates the link in the invitation that attendees receive.

Private meetings
In the event details select Private so only others with Make changes to events privileges (or higher) for your calendar can see the event and its details.

File Attachments

Google Calendar does not support file attachments. To provide a file to meeting invitees, you can use any of the following methods:

Method 1: Schedule the meeting, and then send the attachment in a separate email message. 

Method 2: Post the document on the intranet and add a link to the document in your meeting invitation

Method 3: Create the document in Google Docs and add the URL to the document in your meeting invitation.

Method 4: Schedule the meeting through Google Mail: Compose a new email message addressed to your attendees, add the attachment, and then click Add event invitation. Enter details about your meeting, and then send the message. (If you want to check attendees' and resource availability first, create a new event in Google Calendar, but don't send the invitations. After you send the invitation in the email message, make sure you edit the event details to book the resource you want to use.)

Calendar Sharing
You may share your calendar with your co-workers. Review the current Google video.

Mobile Access to Gmail and Calendar
You need to retrieve a Google Sync Code to enter the password appropriately on your smartphone. The Google Sync Code is available on the myTC portal site under the Search & Help tab, located in the "Google Sync Code" window. For more information please see Mobile Setup.

You can also see the information on the Google Mobile Home Page:


Get SMS alerts for my Google calendar on my mobile device

BlackBerry Sync Utility for Contacts and Calendar
BlackBerry users can download the BlackBerry sync tool from the Google Mobile Support site. iPhone or Windows Mobile users can use the ActiveSync facility following the instructions.

Shortcut Keys
If you want to use shortcut keys you will have to enable them in "Settings", then refresh your mail window before the change takes effect. Here are some commonly used keys:

  • Type 'u' to go to inbox while in a message or after a search
  • Type '!' to label a message as spam while viewing it.
  • Type 'r' to Reply ('R' to Reply in a new window) while reading a message.
  • Type 'a' to Reply All ('A' to Reply All in a new window) while reading a message.
Send messages with different return address
If you are an Exchange user (full time Faculty and Staff)  by default, your email address in the From: field is automatically set to your "lastname"@exchange.tc.columbia.edu. If you would like to change that to your UNI@tc.columbia.edu email address, while composing an email, click the down arrow next to your name, and select your UNI@tc.columbia.edu. You may add other TC email alias such as lastname@tc.edu or lastname@tc.columbia.edu by clicking on "Settings"   in the upper right side of your TCGmail account. Click the "accounts" tab and under the "Send Email As...." section, add your valid email address. Once validated, you can change the default email Send As by choosing Default. 
All TC Gmail users have firstname.lastname@tc.columbia.edu as an alternate email address (provided that it is unique). If you wish your outgoing email to be sent with this address you need to click on Settings> Accounts> add