8 Gmail tips for Mac users

Tips to improve your Gmail Mac browser experience

Apple, Mac, MacOS, OS X, Safari, Gmail
Daniel Masaoka / IDG

I think many Mac users continue using Google’s free Gmail service.

Here are some tips that may improve your experience when using the ad company’s free email service through a browser on your Mac.

You can use drag-&-drop

Gmail on the web works like most apps on your Mac, which means you can drag-&-drop almost anything into the composition window and it will be attached to the message you are writing.

You can do this using Finder if you like, but you can also drag directly using the application icon at the top left of the item name.

You will be able to track the upload of the item using a small progress bar.

How to create a signature

You can create a signature in Gmail online.

To do so, tap the Gear icon at the top right of the window to access Settings, open General and scroll down the page to find Signature.

Here you can set your sign-off, and make a few minor adjustments, such as having it appear above the quoted text in replies. You must then scroll down the page to tap Save Changes.

Yes, you can use shortcuts with Gmail

If you use Gmail through the browser you can enable keyboard shortcuts in Settings>General>check Keyboard shortcuts on. Now you can use the following keys to get things done:

  • C: Compose email
  • /: Place cursor in the Gmail search box
  • R: Reply
  • A: Reply All
  • F: Forward
  • Shift+U: Mark as unread

There are lots of other shortcuts to learn.

Make a smarter search

Gmail understands boolian search queries, here are four that may come in useful:

  • from:steve@gone.com: Find any email sent from that address.
  • Is:unread: All your uread emails
  • Larger:15M: All the mails you have that are larger than 15MB.
  • After:2017/01/01: Find messages after that date.

There are dozens of these, take a look at them here.

Filter your email for better management

You can filter your incoming emails using Gmail’s built-in tools -- useful when you like the messages you get from a mailing list but find that they are too frequent which means they are getting in the way of the other items you receive.

Here’s what to do:

  • Open a mail from the list
  • Tap the three dots icon you see just above the message window
  • Select ‘Filter messages like these’
  • You can then enter a range of paramaters, such as who the mail comes from, subject, size – whatever is appropriate.
  • Tap Create filter, then in the next window choose Skip the Inbox and Apply the label – you may want to choose and name a new label at this point.
  • When you are done tap Create Filter. Now all the items from that mailing list will be held inside a separate box you can access in your Gmail account.

You can create filters for anything that you can create a search for, which makes these a truly useful way to manage project-related correspondence.

Aliases the easy way

Gmail has a smart way to create an email alias. It lets you take your regular email address and add a word or phrase to it in order to create a functional alias address. If you are john@gmail.com, you might use one of these combinations.

  • John+newsletter@gmail.com
  • John+bankcorrespondence@gmail.com
  • John+deepproject@gmail.com

You can then create a filter to take messages to these accounts out of your main mail box and file them in a relevant project file, as described above.

It really is as simple as adding something appropriate to the name you use. You can even set up a filter to automatically chuck messages sent to that address to Trash.

How to get back to a message later

Received an email but can’t deal with it immediately? Gmail’s main Inbox has a feature that will snooze your email until you get the chance to do something.

To use it:

  • Hover your cursor above the item you wish to snooze
  • You should see a set of four small tools appear to the right of the email title, these are: Archive, Delete, Mark as read and Snooze.
  • Tap Snooze and you’ll be able to choose when you want the email to appear in your in-box again.

This is a useful way to stay on top of an email conversation.

(You can also mute annoying email threads when you open the message, tap the triple-dot icon above it and then tap Mute. The thread will be shifted into your Archive section.)

How to Undo bad decisions

You can give yourself a little breathing space for reflection when sending an email because Gmail offers an Undo function.

Set this up in Settings>General>Undo where you can also set the delay you want to put in place until messages are sent (or deleted). Tap Save Changes and in future when you send or delete a message you’ll see a contextual gray bar appear at the bottom of your browser that contains an Undo button. Tap this during the delay period and the email won’t be sent or deleted, giving you a chance to make a better decision.

There are lots of other features to using Gmail through a browser on your Mac. Hopefully these small tips will help you save a little time to find out more.

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Copyright © 2018 IDG Communications, Inc.

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