GMail FAQ

Updated: 10/27/06

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General Questions:

1. Do I need a Google Account?
2. How do I get an account?
3. Are there keyboard shortcuts?
4. Where do I go to suggest a feature?
5. Where is the official Google Help page?

How To Questions:

1. How do I organize my messages?
2. How do I delete a Label?
3. How do I clean up my Inbox?
4. How do I add a Contact?
5. How do I create a Contact Group?
6. How do I add a contact to a group I created?
7. How do I remove a contact from a group?
8. How do I delete a contact?
9. How do I add contacts to the email I am writing?
10. How do I add contacts to an email I am forwarding?
11. How do I set up automatic forwarding?
12. How do I create a filter?
13. How do I set up POP?
14. How do I set up IMAP?
15. How do I disable the chat module?
16. How do I change my password?
17. How do I get messages from another email account?
18. How do I send messages as another email address?
19. How do I delete a single message from a conversation?
20. How do I copy/cut and paste into an email I am composing?

Other Questions:

1. What are Labels?
2. I deleted an email, can I get it back?
3. I marked something as spam that really isn't, what do I do?
4. What is this conversation view?
5. Can I turn off conversations?
6. Can I add/remove a message from a conversation?
7. How many people can I send a single email to?
8. How many emails can I send each day?
9. I deleted/renamed a Label, what happens to the conversations in that Label?
10. Why can't I see the Google Talk box on the left side?
11. Why don't I have any of the cool new features I hear people talking about?

General Questions: [top]

1. Do I need a Google Account? [top]

No. When you sign up for a GMail account, you automatically get a Google Account. If you already have a Google Account with a non-GMail email address, you can still sign up and link the two accounts.

2. How do I get an account? [top]

In some countries, you can sign up by going to gmail.com and you can sign up. However, most of the world (including the US) has to be invited. To be invited to GMail, simply ask someone you know that has GMail to send you an invite. If you don't know anyone with a GMail account, then you can go to this Google Group. Alternatively, you can go here and see if your country is available for SMS sign up. If it is, then all you have to do is enter your cell phone number and Google will send you an invite code via SMS text message.

3. Are there keyboard shortcuts?[top]

Of course. There are lots of keyboard shortcuts that pretty much means you don't need a mouse :) So, here you go: *Note, this is from the official Google Gmail help site.
Also, this table is kinda big, so click here to show/hide the table.

Keyboard shortcuts help you save time since you never have to take your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse. You'll need a Standard 101/102-Key or Natural PS/2 Keyboard to use the shortcuts.

To turn these case-sensitive shortcuts on or off, click Settings, and then pick an option next to Keyboard shortcuts.

Shortcut Key












Definition












Action












c












Compose












Allows you to compose a new message. <Shift> + c allows you to compose a message in a new window.












/












Search












Puts your cursor in the search box.












k












Move to newer conversation












Opens or moves your cursor to a more recent conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.












j












Move to older conversation












Opens or moves your cursor to the next oldest conversation. You can hit <Enter> to expand a conversation.












n












Next message












Moves your cursor to the next message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')












p












Previous message












Moves your cursor to the previous message. You can hit <Enter> to expand or collapse a message. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')












o or <Enter>












Open












Opens your conversation. Also expands or collapses a message if you are in 'Conversation View.'












u












Return to conversation list












Refreshes your page and returns you to the inbox, or list of conversations.












y












Archive*
Remove from current view













Automatically removes the message or conversation from your current view.
  • From 'Inbox,' 'y' means Archive












  • From 'Starred,' 'y' means Unstar












  • From any label, 'y' means Remove the label












* 'y' has no effect if you're in 'Spam,' 'Sent,' or 'All Mail.'












x












Select conversation












Automatically checks and selects a conversation so that you can archive, apply a label, or choose an action from the drop-down menu to apply to that conversation.












s












Star a message or conversation












Adds or removes a star to a message or conversation. Stars allow you to give a message or conversation a special status.












!












Report spam












Marks a message as spam and removes it from your conversation list.












r












Reply












Reply to the message sender. <Shift> + r allows you to reply to a message in a new window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')












a












Reply all












Reply to all message recipients. <Shift> +a allows you to reply to all message recipients in a new window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')












f












Forward












Forward a message. <Shift> + f allows you to forward a message in a new window. (Only applicable in 'Conversation View.')












<Esc>












Escape from input field












Removes the cursor from your current input field.












<Ctrl> + s














Save draft












Holding the <Ctrl> key while pressing s when composing a message will save the current text as a draft. Make sure your cursor is in one of the text fields -- either the composition pane, or any of the To, CC, BCC, or Subject fields -- when using this shortcut.

Macintosh users should use <Cmd> + s.














Combo-keys - Use the following combinations of keys to navigate through Gmail.

Shortcut Key












Definition












Action












<tab> then <Enter>












Send message












After composing your message, use this combination to send it automatically. (Supported in Internet Explorer and Firefox, on Windows.)












y then o












Archive and next












Archive your conversation and move to the next one.












g then a












Go to 'All Mail'












Takes you to 'All Mail,' the storage site for all mail you've ever sent or received (and have not deleted).












g then s












Go to 'Starred'












Takes you to all conversations you have starred.












g then c












Go to 'Contacts'












Takes you to your Contacts list.












g then d












Go to 'Drafts'












Takes you to all drafts you have saved.












g then i












Go to 'Inbox'












Returns you to the inbox.













4. Where do I go to suggest a feature? [top]

Right here.

5. Where is the official Google Help page? [top]

Right here.

How To Questions: [top]

1. How do I organize my messages? [top]

In GMail, you will see things called labels. Labels are just like folders in other mail providers, only they are a lot more flexible. When you organize mail with folders, you can put each message in only one folder, unless you make a copy. However, that is not the case with labels. You can apply as many labels as you want to a single message with out copying it. You can think of labels as Post-It notes. you can put as many Post-It notes on a single document. However, remember that there is only ever ONE copy of each of your messages, no matter how many labels you apply to it. If you delete it while viewing any label applied to it, it will be deleted from every label.

2. How do I delete a Label? [top]

Simply go into your Settings and click the Labels tab. Once there, find the label you don't want anymore and click delete next to it. Remember, if you delete a label, you do NOT delete the messages that had that label applied to them.

3. How do I clean up my Inbox? [top]

Many people get annoyed because all of their messages are in the inbox and it becomes very cluttered. However, it is very easy to "declutter" your inbox. All you have to do is select the message(s) that you want removed from your inbox and click the Archive button. This will remove the selected messages from the Inbox view. The messages will still be in your account. You can apply any number of labels to them before you archive. You will be able to view these messages by either clicking the "All Mail" link on the left side or by clicking the green label link you applied to it. Remember though, you do not have to apply a label to every message.

4. How do I add a Contact? [top]

Click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, click Create Contact, fill in any details you have and click Save.

5. How do I create a Contact Group? [top]

Click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, select the contacts you want to put in this group. Next, look for the drop down menu next to the Delete button. Click that and select New Group.

-OR-

Once in the contacts section, click the Groups tab. Once there, click the Create Group link next to the drop down menu.

6. How do I add a contact to a group I created? [top]

Click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, select the contacts you want to add to the group. Click the drop down menu and select the group you want to add them to.

-OR-

Once in the contacts section, click the Groups tab. Once there, click the group you want to add a contact to. The Group details will open up and you will see a box to put more contacts in.

7. How do I remove a contact from a group? [top]

Click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, click the Groups tab. Click on the group name that you want to remove a contact from. When the Group details open, select the contact(s) you want to remove from the group. At the top, you will see a button, "Remove from group". Click that and the contact(s) you selected will be removed from the group. Note: If you click the Delete button instead, you will get a confirm dialog box. If you get this box, you are about to delete the ENTIRE group, not a member of it.

8. How do I delete a contact? [top]

Click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, click the All Contacts tab. Select the contact(s) you want to delete and click the Delete button at the top.

9. How do I add contacts to the email I am writing? [top]

In GMail, there are two ways to add contacts to an email you are writing. The first way is to click the Contacts link on the left side. Once there, click the All Contacts tab. Select the contact(s) you want to write the email to and click the compose button.

-OR-

I think that this is the easier way. Click the Compose Mail link, or just type "c". Your cursor will go in the To: box by default. Now, just start typing the name OR email address of who you want to send the message to. After the first letter, GMail'sauto complete will kick in and give you a list of your contacts based on what you typed. The more you type, the less choices you will get. You can either select the contact you want via mouse or by using the down arrow key, or you can continue typing until there is only one choice, and hit enter. This will add that contact to the To: box. You can do this for however many contacts you want. Just start typing details of a different contact.

10. How do I add contacts to an email I am forwarding? [top]

This is done the same way as with a normal message you are composing. However, this is the only method that will work. Your cursor will go in the To: box by default. Now, just start typing the name OR email address of who you want to send the message to. After the first letter, GMail's auto complete will kick in and give you a list of your contacts based on what you typed. The more you type, the less choices you will get. You can either select the contact you want via mouse or by using the down arrow key, or you can continue typing until there is only one choice, and hit enter. This will add that contact to the To: box. You can do this for however many contacts you want. Just start typing details of a different contact.

11. How do I set up automatic forwarding? [top]

Click on the Settings link in the top right corner. Once your settings load, you want to click the Forwarding and POP tab. In that tab, you will see this:


All you have to do is click the radio button next to Forward a copy of incoming mail to. Enter an email address in the next text box, and select what you want happen to GMail's copy from the drop down menu. Note:This will forward ALL incoming messages. If you want to forward messages that match a certain criteria, then first you have to make a filter. (See next question)
12. How do I create a filter? [top]

Next to the search box, you will see the link to Create a new filter. Click it. A new set of text boxes will now show up asking you for search criteria that the filter will search for. Enter as much as you want. Use a minus sign for "not" eg. If I put -gmail.com in the From text box, this filter will do whatever I tell it to do to any incoming message not from a GMail email address. Once you enter all the search criteria you want, click Next. GMail will now run the search to see if any message you have meets these requirements. If any do, they will show up under the Create Filter box. The next part is where you tell GMail what to do with the messages it finds. You may also chose to have GMail do the selected action(s) to any message you currently have that match what you are setting the filter up for (any message(s) that appear under the Filter box). To do this, simply check to box Also apply filter to # of conversations below. Once you have made all the selections you want, click Create Filter and your filter will be all set and you will be returned to where you where in GMail before you clicked the Create Filter link.

13. How do I set up POP? [top]

Click on the Settings link in the top right corner. Once your settings load, you want to click the Forwarding and POP tab. In that tab, you will see this:


  • Disable POP - POP will be disabled and you will not be able to download any messages.
  • Enable POP for all mail - This will allow you to download EVERY message that you have stored on GMail, whether you have previously downloaded it or not.
  • Enable POP for only for mail that arrives from now on - Just like it sounds. The messages you have stored on GMail will NOT be downloaded. The only ones that will are any new messages.
Once you select what POP option you want, you have to tell GMail what to do with it's copy of the message once it's downloaded via the dropdown menu. You MUST click Save Changes before you do anything else, or you will not be able to download any messages. Once you save the changes, you have to set up a mail handling program such as Microsoft Outlook, or Mozilla Thunderbird. GMail has information on how to set up programs here.
14. How do I set up IMAP? [top]

As of right now, GMail does not support IMAP. However, many people seem to want it, so if you go here, you can suggest it to GMail.

15. How do I disable the chat module? [top]

If you don't like the Quick Contacts box on the right side of the screen, all you have to do is click the Standard without Chat link at the very bottom of the inbox.

16. How do I change my password? [top]

The only way to change your password is to change the password to your Google Account. To do that, click here and follow the directions.

17. How do I get messages from another email account? [top]

As of right now, GMail can NOT POP to another mail server to download your messages. However, if you want to receive all of your email from one central location, then you will have to set up each of your other email addresses to forward their messages to your GMail address. Since there are probably an infinite amount of email providers out there, I can not go about telling you how to do that for each one. I can tell you though, it will probably be similar to GMail's process.

18. How do I send messages as another email address? [top]

This is a very cool feature that GMail has. It allows you to change the From: field of messages you send to any other email address you own. This is useful if you want to use GMail as your central email server, but still want to have different email addresses. To do this, click Settings and then the Accounts tab, and you will see this:


All you have to do is click the Add another account link. When you click the link, another window will open up asking for the email address you want to be able to send from. After you put the email address in, click Next Step and then Send Verification. This will have GMail send an email to the address you entered so you can prove that you own that account. Once you receive the verification email and click the link provided, you will be able to send messages from that email address.
Once you have set up the email address, you have to select it to send from when you are composing a message. When you compose a message, you will now see a drop down menu right above the To: box. In this menu will be every email address that you have verified. Just pick the one you want and you're all set!
19. How do I delete a single message from a conversation? [top]

Open up the entire conversation and click More Options in the top right corner of the message you want to delete. Simply click Delete this message, and that message will be removed from the conversation and sent to the trash.

20. How do I copy/cut and paste into an email I am composing? [top]

The easiest way is to just use the keyboard. A lot of people seem to complain that when GMail is set in the Rich Text Formatting (the one with all the cool format buttons), they are unable to right-click to cut/copy and paste. However, if you just use your keyboard, you will be able to cut/copy and paste no matter what.


WindowsMac
CopyCtrl+CCommand+C
CutCtrl+XCommand+X
Paste
Ctrl+VCommand+V

Other Questions: [top]

1. What are Labels? [top]

Labels are just like folders in other mail providers, only they are a lot more flexible. When you organize mail with folders, you can put each message in only one folder, unless you make a copy. However, that is not the case with labels. You can apply as many labels as you want to a single message with out copying it. You can think of labels as Post-It notes. you can put as many Post-It notes on a single document. However, remember that there is only ever ONE copy of each of your messages, no matter how many labels you apply to it. If you delete it while viewing any label applied to it, it will be deleted from every label.

2. I deleted an email, can I get it back? [top]

Of course you can. When you delete a message, it is simply moved to the trash. All you have to do is click the Trash link and select the message you want to recover and click the Move to Inbox button.

3. I marked something as spam that really isn't, what do I do? [top]

If you realize what you did as soon as you did it, you can click the Undo link and it will be unmarked spam. However, if you did something else after wards, all you have to do is click the Spam link and select the message and click the Not Spam button.

4. What is this conversation view? [top]

GMail organized messages you receive into conversations. These conversations group together messages that are part of the same thread. When you reply to an email, or forward it to someone, you will add a new message to the conversation. Conversations can be very helpful if you send the same email to many people, and require a response from them. Instead of having a separate message for each reply, they will all be grouped together for easy access.

5. Can I turn off conversations? [top]

Although most people like conversations, there are some that want to get rid of them. However, at this time, it is not possible to do so. Since many people ask about this, Google has added it to the suggestion page. Feel free to suggest it :)

6. Can I add/remove a message from a conversation? [top]

The only way to remove a message from a conversation is to delete it. At this time, you can not add a message to a conversation, or remove one without deleting it. However, this too is a common suggestion that has been added to the suggestion page.

7. How many people can I send a single email to? [top]

The limit GMail has set up is 500. This is a total. The 500 people can be spread out between To: CC: and BCC:, but you can not send a single email to more than 500 people. However, I would suggest creating a Google Group if you want to send an email to say, more than 10 people.

8. How many emails can I send each day? [top]

Courtesy of choon[remove]@cognilearn.com:
The limit GMail has set up is 500.

9. I deleted/renamed a Label, what happens to the conversations in that Label? [top]

In short, nothing. If you delete a label, then the conversations simply get the label removed from them. If you rename one, then the label applied to the conversations will be changed.

10. Why can't I see the Google Talk box on the left side? [top]

Look under all of your messages in the middle of the screen. Make sure that you click the Standard with chat link. If you don't have that link, then you may not be using a supported browser. Right now, only Internet Explorer and Firefox are able to use the chat module. Another possibility is explained here.

11. Why don't I have any of the cool new features I hear people talking about? [top]

Make sure that your language setting is English (US). When GMail gets new features, they are rolled out first by users, meaning users will get the feature(s) in clumps, so some will have it, but others won't. The feature(s) are also first rolled out in the English (US) language first. This helps GMail get all the bugs out of the feature(s) before they waste time translating a feature that doesn't work.