December 14, 2011

Using Gmail

I personally do not understand how anyone that receives more than five emails per day can use any email service other than GMail.  Especially if you are a member of any email based groups that produces email from several people, filtered through the group and into your email inbox.

This post is just a quick overview of GMail and is in no way intended to cover every function and/or feature.

First let’s take a look at’s free...NEXT!  Because it is free and takes only a few minutes to set, I encourage everyone to start a gmail account and play with the different settings and features.  If you end up not liking it then delete it.
The one thing I love about gmail is the way it threads messages.  No more flat inbox.  If you and someone else are having a back and forth conversation via email all of those messages with the same subject line are together in your inbox, not scattered all over the place based on the time they were sent.  This feature is extremely helpful for group emails where several people may respond to the same email.  There will be one line in your inbox (or folder you filter messages into) with the subject line for that conversation, when you click that you will then see all the responses and replies stacked together in chronological order.

The filtering and folders play an important role in saving time checking email.  I am a member of several Yahoo Groups and have all messages from all those groups sent to my inbox...what a nightmare.  I set up folders for each group and filtered the messages into the corresponding folders.  Now when I am rushed for time I can scan my inbox for new email without wading through all the group emails that may or may not actually apply to me.  I can save those for later when I have time.

I suggest that you set filters into folders to skip the Inbox and go only to the designated folder.  When there is a new message sent to that folder there will be a number beside the folder name indicating there are new messages and how many that are still unread.  This will keep your actual Inbox from becoming cluttered.  I filter everything, newsletters, email from friends and family, special interest emails, etc etc; not just group emails.

Not only does filtering keep my Inbox uncluttered it also makes searching for information I need a whole lot easier for me.

The next thing I think you should look at and set up is the Priority Inbox.  This is a somewhat new feature.  Read a How-To on this feature.  I can say that so far, I love it!

The next thing you should look at is the Labs section in the Settings.  There are tons of ways to customize GMail, so that it works for you the way that you want it to.  Just because one person may think certain things are useful, another may not; so play with this stuff, try it out, see what actually works for you. 
With GMail you can IM, Voice and Video Chat and now send SMS text messages and make phone calls all from inside your GMail tab.  Gotta love that.
The overall reason I use GMail is that once I got it configured the way that works for me, have my filters set and all that... I can go through 100’s of emails in less than an hour.  Not every email that I get requires an answer from me, so I can sort those out quickly; delete what needs to go, file those that may need attention later into a folder and then just move on.
If you have any questions please feel free to ask, I have been using GMail for several years and know my way around and if I don’t know the answer to your specific question right away I will find it for you.

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