We conclude our Gmail How-To Geek School series by revealing a few tips from power users and ending with Gmail Labs features.


  1. Getting to know Gmail
  2. Mobile application, mail composition and conversations
  3. Inbox management and shortcuts
  4. Mail filters and the Star system
  5. Attachments, signatures and security
  6. Invitations and Vacationers
  7. Use Gmail as a task list
  8. Multiple accounts, keyboard shortcuts, and remote sign out
  9. Use your Gmail account to access other accounts
  10. Power Tips and Gmail Labs

Download Gmail faster by switching to the basic version

If you’re using Gmail on a slow internet connection, it may take a few minutes to load. However, you can load Gmail faster by switching to the basic version of Gmail, which allows you to perform simple actions.

To access basic Gmail, simply add «? ui=html» to the standard Gmail URL. The URL should be:


Here’s what the basic interface of Gmail looks like. Shortcuts are available on the left side and actions are available via buttons at the top of the message list. You can apply labels to your messages in the base view, but you cannot move messages to labels such as folders.


Generate Instant Disposable Gmail Addresses Using Aliases

Let’s say you want to subscribe to a mailing list, but you’re afraid your email will be sent to other spam sites as well. You can easily use your Gmail address alias to track where emails are coming from.

For example, if you want to subscribe to a free ebooks newsletter, you can create your email alias «your.email+free.ebooks@gmail.com». All messages sent to the alias are delivered to your primary email address. , «Your.email@gmail.com». You will be able to find out where the emails are coming from and if your email address is being sold to other sites.


You can set up filters to automatically delete these messages, apply labels to them, skip the inbox and move them directly to labels, or forward them to another email account.

Gmail also allows you to create multiple versions of your email address. For example, if John Doe’s primary account is johndoe@gmail.com, emails sent to «john.doe@gmail.com» and «j.ohndoe@gmail.com» will also be received in the same account .

With this method, you can create other variations of your primary email address — a handy tool if you want to use multiple email aliases to subscribe to different web services or newsletters.

Don’t miss important emails with desktop notifications

You may have thought that the only way to know that you’ve received important messages in your Gmail account is to keep it open in your browser.

However, you can enable Desktop Notifications in Chrome and Gmail to automatically notify you when new messages arrive.

NOTE. To view notifications from Gmail, you must be logged into Gmail and open Gmail in your browser, which can be minimized.

Enable Desktop Notifications in Chrome

Websites and web applications may display notifications on your computer’s desktop. You can tell Chrome to automatically display notifications from all sites or notify you when a site wants to show you notifications, and of course you can disable notifications entirely.

Before you can receive notifications from Gmail, you must enable notifications in Chrome. To enable desktop notifications in Chrome, click the Chrome menu button and select Settings from the drop-down menu.


The Settings screen will appear in a new tab. Scroll down to the bottom of the «Settings» screen and click on the «Show advanced settings» link.


Additional options appear at the bottom of the Settings screen. In the Privacy section, click Content Settings.


The Content Settings dialog box opens. Scroll down to the Notifications section and select one of the first two options to enable notifications.

The second option «Ask me when the site wants to show desktop notifications» is recommended. This prevents you from receiving notifications from sites that are not important to you. If you want to receive notifications from every site that provides them, select Allow all sites to show desktop notifications.


Click «Done» in the lower right corner of the dialog box to accept the changes.


To close the Settings screen, click the close button («X») on the Settings tab.


Enable hidden notifications

The Windows notification area is used as a temporary notification source. Because some notifications are hidden by default, you may need to change your Chrome notification setting in the Windows notification area.

To show Chrome notifications, click the «Show hidden icons» up arrow on the taskbar and click «Customize» in the pop-up window.


In the Notification Area Icons dialog, scroll down to «Google Chrome». Select «Show Icon and Notifications» from the dropdown on the right.


You may see a pop-up window informing you that this notification is currently inactive. As soon as we enable notifications in Gmail and receive a new message, the notification will be displayed.

Click OK to accept the change and close the dialog box.


Enable Desktop Notifications in Gmail

To receive notifications from Gmail when new messages arrive in your inbox without a browser window always open, click the «Settings» button and select «Settings» from the drop-down menu.

Select New Mail Notifications to be notified when new emails arrive in your inbox. To receive notifications only when incoming messages are marked as important, select «Important Mail Notifications».

NOTE. For more information on how to mark an email as important, see the » Importance and rating» in Google Help.


Scroll down to the bottom of the Settings screen and click Save Changes.


Now, whenever you are working in another tab or your browser is minimized, you will get a separate toast notification in your system tray.


Set up input tools for international communication

In Lesson 1, we introduced you to the various input tools available in Gmail, such as virtual keyboards and IMEs (input method editors). This feature can be enabled or disabled, and options for the feature selected in the settings.


To access your Gmail settings, click on the gear settings button and select «Settings» from the drop-down menu. To enable Input Tools, select the Enable Input Tools checkbox in the Language section at the top of the General tab.


The Input Tools dialog box opens. Select the desired input tool from the All Input Tools list on the left and click the right arrow in the middle to move it to the Selected Input Tools list. These «Selected Input Tools» will appear in the «Input Tools». ” when you click the down arrow to open the drop-down menu.

To the left of the various input tools, there are different icons to indicate the types. When you see an icon next to an input tool that is a symbol for that language, that means that input tool is an IME.

Handwriting input tools are indicated by a pencil icon. The keyboard icon denotes input tools, which are virtual keyboards.

NOTE. You can also double-click an input tool in the All Input Tools list to add it to the Selected Input Tools list.

Click OK to accept your changes and close the dialog box.


Access to Gmail Labs features

Gmail Labs is a way to use experimental tools for Gmail. Some Labs features may seem more useful than others. Each feature has a «Submit Feedback» link, so you can let Google know what you think of each feature after you try it out. Please note that these features are not always prime time ready, so use them with caution.

Below is a link you can use if you’re having trouble accessing your mailbox after trying out some Gmail Lab features.


To add Gmail Labs features, sign in to your Gmail account in a browser. Click the gear settings button and select «Settings» from the drop-down menu. At the top of the Settings screen, click the Labs link.


Select the «Enable» option next to each feature you want to try out, and then click «Save Changes» above or below the «Available Labs» list. For example, we have enabled the Canned Responses feature.


If you have any labs enabled, they appear above the Available Labs list in the Enabled Labs section.


Use the Lab Answers feature to quickly insert general text

In Lesson 5, we talked about setting up a signature in Gmail. Since you are only allowed to set one signature, you can use the Canned Responses feature in Labs to set up additional signatures that you can easily and quickly insert into your posts. We will set the signature as a permanent response in our example.

Create a permanent reply from a message in Gmail

Once you’ve enabled Canned Replies, you’ll need to set up a template for your permanent reply to be used in your posts and replies. To do this, compose a message in Gmail (see Lesson 2), leaving the «To» and «Subject» fields blank. They are not included in the template.

You can use links, images, and text formatting in your completed response. In our example, we’ve added a «How-To Geek» link that opens the website.

Click the down arrow button in the lower right corner of the Compose window and select Canned Responses and then New Prepared Response from the pop-up menu.


Enter a name in the «Please enter a new name for the prepared response» dialog box that appears and click OK.


You can opt out of the current email after you have created your permanent reply. To do this, click the Cancel Draft (trash can) button at the bottom of the Create window.


NOTE. If you decide you don’t want to delete the message, you can revert it back by clicking «Undelete» on the message that appears at the top of the screen. This message is only displayed for a short time, so be sure to keep an eye on it if you change your mind.


Insert a permanent reply in a new message, reply or forward

To insert a standard reply in a new message, reply, or forward, click New to start a new message, or click Reply or Forward in a message. Click the down arrow button in the lower right corner of the Compose window and select Canned Responses, then select the permanent response you want in the Insert section.


The text/images from the selected canned response are inserted into your email. Fill in the «To» and «Subject» fields, write your email and send it.


Change message template in Gmail

If you want to change a permanent response, you don’t need to recreate it. Just paste it into a new message as described above. Edit the answer and then highlight what you want to include in the permanent answer. Click the down arrow button in the lower right corner of the Compose window and select Canned Answers, then select the prepared answer you want to replace from the Save section.

NOTE. To delete a permanent reply, select the permanent reply you want to delete from the Delete section. A dialog box will pop up to make sure you want to delete the permanent reply, then click OK to do so.


Try more Gmail Labs features

There are many other Gmail Labs features you can try out, such as Quote Selected Text. The «Quote Selected Text» feature allows you to select the specific content you want to quote when replying to an email. With the «Quote Selected Text» feature enabled, simply highlight the text to quote in the post and press ‘r’.

NOTE: Pressing «Reply» will not work, so you must use a keyboard shortcut.


Cancel Send

Gmail Labs’ Undo Send feature allows you to stop sending messages within seconds of hitting the send button. With the «Undo Send» feature enabled, specify the number of seconds for the «undo period» in the «General» tab in «Settings».

To «cancel» an email, click «Cancel Send» when the message appears, or press «z» for the number of seconds you’ve specified in settings.


You can also send emails if you’re using Gmail offline, as discussed at the beginning of this tutorial. You can make any changes to a message in your Outbox before connecting to the Internet to send it.

Smart Shortcuts

We talked about labels and filters in Lesson 3 and Lesson 4 respectively. You can extend this capability by using the «Smartlabels» feature in Gmail Labs. With a little tweaking, Smartlabels can automatically categorize your email by applying labels and removing certain types of email from your inbox.


Custom keyboard shortcuts

Keyboard shortcuts can save you time when creating and managing email messages. There are some standard keyboard shortcuts that we discussed in Lesson 2. However, Gmail Labs’ Custom Keyboard Shortcuts feature allows you to customize keyboard shortcut mappings in Settings.


Try Gmail Labs at your own risk!

Please be aware that Gmail Labs features may change, break or disappear at any time. Again, use the following link if you find that you cannot access your mailbox because one of the Labs features is broken.



This concludes our How-To Geek School series on using Gmail like a pro. If you missed any part, you can easily go back and catch up. We hope you have learned a lot as we know what we have done. Please check back next week for the new How-To Geek School series!

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