For a while now Gmail has been one of the best email services available. Free and with virtually unlimited storage, it boasts more than 1 billion active users.
It is available in 74 different languages and offers plenty of features that are meant to give you plenty of control over what you read and how you read it. But as is often the case, with more features comes more clutter and with more clutter, more confusion.
The nice thing is Google offers us so much flexibility with how we want to see Gmail. Yet, just because it’s there for us does not mean we know how to utilize it.
These 10 settings will help make your Gmail experience better
There are many things you can do to improve your Gmail experience, and no doubt not all will be for you. But chances are at least a few of them will be, which is why we’ve tried to find 10 of the very best.
1. Let Gmail type your emails for you
A newer feature, Smart Compose will try and save time by predicting what you are going to write before you even start writing. It’s similar to auto-complete in text messages, only is for your inbox.
To use it, you will need to first try out the new Gmail, which you can access by going into your settings via the gear in the top-right corner. Once you do that you will go back into settings and click the box to “Enable experimental access.”
Once checked, scroll down and save changes. The page will refresh, at which point Smart Compose will be activated.
You can check in the settings to make sure, but from here you should be able to see Google’s predictive text show up as you begin to write emails.
2. Enjoy that? Add some canned responses to save even more time
Another benefit of Smart Compose is the ability to create canned responses. Just check out the Advanced section in your new Gmail settings and enable them.
To find that, open up your settings and then see at the top of the page there will be many tabs, one of which is “Advanced.” Click on that and then find the line for “Canned responses (Templates).” Enable that.
To create a canned response, click as if you are creating a new message and then find the message settings icon (three vertical buttons in the lower-right). Click there and you will see how to find any previously saved responses as well as the route with which to create them.
3. Don’t like the composition box in the lower corner? Move it to the middle
Gmail defaults to making you look to the lower-right corner when writing an email. But what if you don’t want it there? What if you’d like the box to be larger?
That’s no problem. Just click on the small diagonal arrow that is in the window’s upper-right corner. The message window will instantly become larger and more center to the screen.
4. Give yourself some keyboard shortcuts
Most of us know your standard keyboard shortcuts for things like copy, paste and delete. Gmail has its own keyboard shortcuts, too, while also giving you the chance to create some of your own.
Just go into your Settings and under the General tab, scroll down until you find “Keyboard shortcuts.” Check the circle for them to be on, then save. In classic Gmail you will want to find the “Labs” tab, while in new Gmail you will seek the “Advanced” one.
Regardless, select whichever one you need and look down on the page until you find “Custom keyboard shortcuts.” Enable those and then save the changes. The page will refresh, and when it’s done go back into your settings and find the new “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab on the far right of the top banner.
Click on that and a window with all sorts of options will open. Choose and/or to create what you want, then save the changes when done.
5. Accidentally hit send? Take that email back before it’s too late
We’re not going to ask why you might want to unsend an email. We’re just here to let you know it’s possible — provided you make the decision quickly.
Gmail defaults to it needing to be done within five seconds of the message being sent. However, you can increase that number by going into the your Gmail settings and finding the line for “Undo Send.”
There you will see a dropdown box that gives you choices of 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds for your cancellation period. Just choose which one you want, scroll down and hit save.
6. Give your inbox a different order
Maybe you are the kind of person who sees the Gmail inbox and figured that’s what it is, so might as well get used to it. But there are a few different styles you can work with, giving you some options to choose from.
To see what else is there, hover your mouse over the inbox tab on the left side of the screen and when a down triangle appears, click on it. You will see there are five different kinds of inboxes, with brief descriptions about what each provides.
7. Got the right inbox? Adjust its density
You may have the right order for your inbox, but how the emails are grouped may not be to your liking. To see what else you can do, click on the settings gear near the top right and choose “Density display.”
That will open up a new box with a few options. Click on each one and watch the light image above them change, giving you an idea of what each will look like.
Pick the one you like and then click on “OK” to change your inbox. Of course if you decide you don’t like it, you can always change back or try the other one.
8. Limit the number of pages you have to sift through
Some people are really good about deleting emails once they’ve been read. Many of us are not. For the second group, it can be frustrating flipping through page after page of messages.
Fortunately all we need to do is go into the Settings and under the “General” tab find the line for “Maximum page size.” There we will find some drop down boxes that allow us to change how many conversations and contacts we will see per page, with the highest being 100 for the former and 250 for the latter.
9. Clear out the inbox clutter
At some point our inbox may get overcrowded, which makes organizing messages all the more important. In the “Labels” section of the settings you can find ways to hide any label or category you don’t normally grab from the label list.
You will probably notice the categories from seeing them on the left side of your inbox. You can easily shrink the number you see by hiding the categories you don’t need.
10. Tired of receiving emails from someone? Permanently block them
Gmail has its built-in spam filters and those do a good job, but sometimes there is a friend or family member who you are just tired of getting messages from. Hey, there are only so many cat photos one can receive before enough is enough!
The problem can be solved by a setting that can be found inside every message. Just open one up and find the three vertical dots inside the email near the top-right.
Click on that and find “Block _____.” Click on that to add the sender to the list of people whose messages you will no longer have to suffer through.