February 19, 2013, 1:38 PM — Gmail is the world's most popular email service, but some of its best features are hiding in plain sight, unknown to most users. Although Gmail provides unsurpassed search capabilities, great spam filtering, and loads of free storage (10GB at latest check), it also offers much more--and there's always room for improvement, too. With a little know-how and some key add-ons, you can make Google's webmail service jump through hoops in ways you never thought possible.
Tired of Gmail's threaded conversation view? Turn it off. Want to learn keyboard shortcuts? A pop-up cheat sheet is built right in. And wouldn't it be nice if you could save attachments straight to your Dropbox account? Easy enough--with the right tool.
This guide will help Gmail novices and experts alike squeeze more from the service. Most of the tips are based on using Gmail in a Web browser, but be sure to see the "Gmail from the outside in" section to learn how to make the most of Gmail even when you're not in your browser.
Work smarter, not harder
1. Search for big attachments
Gmail is known for its robust search capabilities, and now it supports another handy search parameter: message size. So if you want to find, say, all email messages that have attachments larger than 10MB, you'd simply search for size:10m. And you can pair that with the "older_than" modifier for searches like size:10m older_than:6m (to get all email larger than 10MB and older than six months).
2. Work offline
Working on an airplane without Wi-Fi? Live in an area where Internet access is slow or spotty? Either way, install Gmail Offline. With it you can read, respond to, compose, search, and archive messages, all of which will be automatically sent or synced the next time you're online. Just one catch: It requires Google Chrome. If you use another browser, you're out of luck.
3. Tame messy replies