Secret Gmail Tips
Get more from your Gmail by taking advantage of some of these insider secrets!
Favorite Gmail Apps
Looking for a combination email and calendar management solution? An active iOS user, I’m often on the lookout for apps that combine a variety of tools into one multi-purpose approach. Outlook blends a simple interface for email and calendars and provides support for Microsoft OneDrive. But you don’t need to be a Microsoft enthusiast to enjoy Outlook (free) on your Android or iOS device.
With a unified inbox and swipe to archive or delete feature, this makes Outlook one of your best choices. It is a solid choice for those who may not want to deviate from traditional email clients and desire a simple interface.
Spark‘s interface takes email management to the next level above tools like Google’s Inbox and Outlook, automatically sorting your inbox into various categories. “All new emails are smartly categorized into Personal, Notifications, and Newsletters,” reports its website. The app even includes a built-in calendar, and quick responses (e.g. “Thanks!”) for when on the go.
It also has Apple Watch integration, which means you will receive updates on your Watch. Give it a try. It is one of my favorite apps.
A relative newcomer to email, Astro features a Mac OS and iOS app. It enjoys an artificial intelligence (AI) that can help you manage your email (with Slack and Alexa support, scheduled emails, snooze emails). After using it for a week, I must confess that it works quite well. With it, I’ve managed to maintain inbox zero for my priority emails.
You can add very important people (VIPs) so that they end up in your priority inbox. All others, such as newsletters, are shuttled to the “Other” category. I find the Slack integration, which allows you to read your email in an Astrobot channel, to be a time-saver.
Reading my email in Slack, I’m able to archive, delete, or otherwise dispose of it from my Slack client, whether on my mobile or laptop. Astro also support multiple account types, such as Gmail, Microsoft Outlook/Office365, and others.
Google’s Inbox offers many of the same features as Spark, as well as a few more. Still, I find the lack of a universal inbox to be a bit of a bother. The process to switch between multiple inboxes is problematic.
It also lacks support for Microsoft accounts, which could be an impediment for those of us straddling two worlds at work, home, or both.
Email Management Tools
SortD provides some amazing tools for organizing and managing your email. Some of its primary features include a multi-column layout for your Gmail (as shown above), adjust list names, and drag-and-drop to reorder the content of each column or across columns. There are many other features, but you may want to try it out.
Looking for a quick way to organize your email into columns, as shown above? Check out the Drag add-on. The add-on works quite well and does not take over your screen like SortD does. Unlike SortD, Drag lacks a mobile interface. It works strictly in the Chrome browser, so you will have to make do with that (which is fine for Chrome users). Watch video.
Use Period and Plus Symbols to Manage eMail
Tip #1: Add Dots to Your Email
Insert one or several dots (".") anywhere in your email address. Gmail doesn't recognize periods as characters in addresses -- Gmail just ignores them.
For example, you could tell people your address was firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tip #2: Create Unique Email Address with a Plus Symbol
Append a plus ("+") sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address. For example, if your name was email@example.com, you could send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
In the To: box above, put your modified email and then filter it to a specific folder.
Setup Multiple Gmail Profiles in Chrome
Did you know you can setup different Gmail accounts, one per profile? This is great if you Windows/Mac computer and you have a work/personal account you have to deal with.
When done, you will have one Chrome browser shortcut on your desktop that will open up a different gmail account. What a time-saver!
Hack Your Inbox...Try Inbox Zero
- Sort all your email in your inbox into Action, Follow-Up, and Someday.
- Anything else, including emails you deal with, go into Gmail’s built-in archive (a.k.a. All Email).
- Use Gmail’s search tools to quickly find emails in your archive or elsewhere. It’s worth looking at this chart of Gmail search operators. My favorites include:
- after:, before:, newer: with each colon followed by the date in question
- subject: to find words in the subject line
Encrypted Emails and Email Click Tracking Tips
Protect Yourself Against Click-Tracking Tools
- Pixelblock - Block others from seeing if you've read their messages.
- Uglymail - Works similarly to Pixelblock. "Ugly Email is a Gmail extension that allows you to see if the email is being tracked before opening it. It seamlessly integrates with Gmail."
Click-Tracking Tools (only first two are free)
- Sidekick Email Tracking - A free tracking tool for your email, as well as scheduling when emails are sent. 200 emails for free.
- GetNotify.com - Add .getnotify.com to the end of email addresses your writing to (e.g. firstname.lastname@example.org) and this will track emails sent. You'll need to get a free account. Has a different approach but works! And, no cost!
- MxHero - This was my favorite for a long time, but the time came to pay for it, and I wasn't willing to do that."features include open and URL click tracking, attachment tracking, self-destructing emails, email read receipts and the ability to schedule an email for later"
- MixMax - Another nice tool that allows you to embed polls as well as do all sorts of neat stuff.
- Boomerang Read Receipts for Gmail - Just like the other services, you can take advantage of a free feature.
- Bananatag - Another click-tracker. "It's free for 5 messages a day, but $5 a month gives you unlimited tracking" viaLifeHacker
- ContactMonkey - Free version includes 100 emails a month.
- Bananatag - An aggressively priced email tracking tool. Check their pricing!
- Yesware Email tracking - A Chrome add-on, includes free two month trial with limited features afterwards at no cost or at great cost otherwise! (smile)
- MailTrack for Chrome - This is another alternative. It didn't work all that well for me, but I had several others going at the same time.
- Gmail Offline - Read Gmail offline.
- Gmail Sync - Syncs all your gmail for offline use.
- Actions for Gmail - Adds buttons for archiving, mark as read, delete, and more to each message to make it easier to take those actions.
- Cloudy for Gmail - Enables you to add attachments from any cloud drive.
- Dropbox for Gmail - Make it easy to save attachments to Dropbox.
- Rapportive - Get information about who you are in contact with.
- Todoist: Manage your tasks with Gmail. Create tasks easily.
- Unroll.me - Unsubscribe from email lists.