5 secret tools for powering up Gmail

gmail secrets
Credit: Google

Want to take back messages after you've sent them, protect yourself against phishing attacks, and more in Gmail? I'll show you how how with 5 secret Gmail tools.

Every one of the tools are available via Mail Labs, experimental features that Google constantly fiddles with. Some features make their way into Gmail, some stay in the labs a long time, and some vanish. To get to all of the five tools I write about, run Gmail, click the Settings icon, then click Labs at the top of the screen. You'll see a list of all of the Labs' latest and greatest tools. To turn any feature on, scroll to it, select Enable, then scroll to the bottom of the page and click Save Changes.

Undo Send

We've all had that sinking feeling after sending an email and wishing we hadn't. With this tool, you can take back an email after you've sent it. When you turn this on, after you send the email an Undo link appears at the top of the screen. Click it to call the message back. You can control for how long the Undo link stays. To do it, click the Settings button and on the General tab, scroll to the Undo Send area and select the number of seconds you want the link to be visible --- between 5 and 30 seconds.

Mark as Read button

There are plenty of times you want to mark messages as read, even if you haven't yet read them. But it takes too many clicks -- you first have to get to the More Actions menu. Turn on Mark as Read, though, and a "Mark as read" button appears at the top of Gmail.

Authentication icon for verified senders

On the Internet know one knows you're a dog, went the old New Yorker cartoon. A corollary might be: On the Internet no one knows you're a scammer. Turn on "Authentication icon for verified senders," though, and it'll be a little bit easier to know when you're being scammed. It displays an icon of a key next to "verified senders" that guarantees the email is from them, not from a scammer. Verified senders include eBay, Google Wallet, and PayPal.

Google calendar gadget

Find yourself constantly switching between Gmail and Google Calendar to see what you have scheduled for the day? Switch no more. Turn this on and a small box appears on the left column which shows your day's calendar.

Preview Pane

Outlook and many tablet mail apps have preview panes which appear next to your inbox and other labels. As you highlight a message, you can read it, making it much faster to breeze through email. Enable Gmail's hidden preview pane and you'll be able to toggle the preview pane on and off.

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