Five top tips for Gmail

Here's how to get more out of the Web's best email service.

gmail offline

Want to get more out of Gmail? I've got five great tips for you, including how to undo sent mail, work with Gmail even when not connected to the Internet, and more.

Turn on keyboard shortcuts

Tired of fiddling with the mouse to do things like reply to email, archive messages, and see your newest messages? Then make sure your keyboard shortcuts are turned on and use them. To turn them on, click the gear icon on the upper right of the screen, select Settings, then go to the General tab. Scroll down and select "Keyboard shortcuts on." Now that they're on, start using them. Here are good ones to get familiar with:

  • c Creates a new email. If you press Shift-c you'll create the email in a new windows. If you instead press d, you'll create it in a new tab.
  • / Puts your cursor in the search box.
  • k Move to a newer conversation.
  • j Move to an older conversation.
  • r Replies to a message.

Undo send

We've all done it --- sent an email in the heat of the moment that we wished we hadn't. Well, here's a chance for you to take back an email that you've sent, with Gmail's Undo Send feature. To turn it on, click the gear icon on the upper right of the screen, select Settings, then go to the Labs tab. Scroll down and click "Enable" next to Undo send. When you do this, a Cancel link shows up for a few seconds after you've sent an email. Click the link and you'll stop the email from being sent.

Work with Gmail offline

Gmail may be Web-based mail, but there's a way for you to read mail, respond to mail, search through mail and archive mail even when you're not connected to the Internet, as long as you're using Chrome. Download the Gmail Offline extension. When you do that, Gmail will sync online and offline when you're connected, and then let you work even when you don't have an Internet connection.

Show only unread messages

Want to see only your unread messages? It should be simple to figure out, but it's not. You think you should be able to do it by clicking the down arrow in the box at the upper left of the screen and selecting Unread, but that won't do the trick. Instead, doing that just puts a checkbox next to your unread messages --- you'll still see all the messages in your inbox. So instead go to the search box, and type in is:unread. Then press Enter. You'll see only your unread messages.

Drag your labels onto messages and threads

Gmail's label feature is a great way to organize your email. But adding a label to a message or a thread is a multi-step process after putting a checkbox next to the message: You need to click the label tab, select the label you want to use, and then click Apply. Instead, after selecting the message, just drag the label onto the message.

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