10 useful Gmail settings you wish you knew earlier

File photo – The Google-based e-mail website seen in a Firefox web browser (iStock)


More than a billion people use Gmail. That is about one in seven people on Earth, active use of this free e-mail platform in 74 different languages.

Recently, the Wall Street Journal reported a few third-party developers were gathering data on users of Gmail. If you are concerned about this practice, I have your back. Tap or click here to stop it and terminate the connection of third-party apps from your Gmail account.

That is not all bad news for Gmail users.

Google has recently added a new feature to its Gmail redesign. The feature is called “Protected Mode” and the Ministry of Interior says it could be a significant threat to the safety of the users. Tap or click here to learn how this feature can be used against you.

A lot of the default settings of Gmail may not appeal to you; you want specific options on or off if you only knew that they existed. Gmail shortcuts, but they can’t speed up your work, if you don’t know what they are.

Here are 10 settings for improving your Gmail experience. As with everything, the best way to learn Gmail is to practice and experiment, but these options will help you get started.

1. Let Gmail type in your e-mails for you

A newer feature, Smart Drafting to try and save time by predicting what you’re going to write, before you even begin to write. It is similar with auto-complete in text messages, but for your inbox.

To use it, you must activate the “new Gmail”:

1. Go to Settings (the gear icon in the upper right corner)

2. Find the option that says “Try the new Gmail.”

3. Once this is triggered, go back to Settings and click on the check box “Enable experimental access.”

4. Once that is checked, scroll down and save the changes. The page is refreshed, and Smart Drafting will start automatically.

5. You can in the settings and make sure, but you should be able to see Google’s predictive text is displayed as soon as you start writing e-mails.

2. Try canned responses to save even more time

Another advantage of the Smart Drafting is the ability to create “canned responses.” These are particularly useful if you have many messages from many different people concerning the same question or topic. Instead of retyping, or the forwarding or copy and paste, you can pre-prepare a canned response and send it over and over.

Just check out the Advanced section in your Gmail settings and activate it. Here is how:

1. Open Settings.

2. On the top of the page, you will find several tabs, including “Advanced.”

3. Locate the line for “Canned responses (Templates)”

4. To a canned response, click if you create a new message and then find the message settings icon (three vertical buttons in the lower-right corner).

3. Center of the composition box

Each time you create a new e-mail, Gmail, places the window in the lower right corner. This is an improvement compared to the traditional format, which is to dedicate an entire page to the new message. But what if you don’t want it there? Also, if you want the window bigger?

That is not a problem. Click on the small diagonal arrow in the upper right window. A larger window will appear directly in the middle on your screen.

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4. Give yourself a number of keyboard shortcuts

Most of us know what your standard keyboard shortcuts for things like copy, paste, and delete. Gmail has keyboard shortcuts, catering for e-mail users. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even customize your keyboard shortcuts.

Here is how to find them:

1. To get to Settings

2. Under the General tab, scroll down until you see “keyboard shortcuts”

3. Check the circle

4. Save

In the classic Gmail, you’ll want to find the “Labs” tab, while in new Gmail-you will strive for the “Advanced” tab. Regardless, you select which of the two you need and look down on the page until you find “Custom shortcuts.” Turn this in, and save the changes. The page is refreshed, and when it is finished, go back to your settings and go to the new “Shortcuts” tab to the right of the top banner.

Click on that, and a window with many options opens. Choose a shortcut (or create a new one), then save the changes when you are finished. From that moment on, you will be able to support the implementation of the shortcut, when you need it.

5. Again a sent e-mail

There are a hundred reasons why you may be sent an e-mail before you are ready. Maybe you entered the wrong address. Maybe you wrote an angry e-mail in a hurry. Maybe you have forgotten that Amber’s birthday was a surprise. Fortunately, you can stop the deliver – provided you act quickly.

When you first start with your Gmail account, you have five seconds to get a message from the moment you click “Send”. However, you can increase that number by going to your Settings and find the line for “Undo Send”.

There you will see a drop-down list gives you the choices of 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds for your notice period. Just choose which one you want, scroll down and click on save. If you’re indecisive by nature, you could spend a half a minute to discuss the question of whether your sent message was a good idea.

By the way, have you ever wanted to draw a text message? You can! Tap or click here for the secret of unsending a text message.

6. Your inbox the way you want it

Not everyone wants to read e-mail in chronological order. There are so many ways to organize your inbox: you might want to read the messages with a star first or unread messages, or “priority” messages. This default function is in the different e-mail services, but Gmail makes ordering extremely easy.

Move your mouse over the inbox tab on the left side of the screen. When a downward-facing triangle appears, click it. You see there are five different kinds of mailboxes, with a short description about what each offers.

7. Choose your conversation style

You have the right to your inbox, but you can also manipulate how these messages are grouped together. Gmail was a pioneer for the collection of “conversations” with each other, so that users could quickly file via one e-mail beach, and expand or collapse individual messages.

To determine how thoroughly these calls are clumped, click on the settings gear in the top right corner, and choose “Density of the screen.”

That opens up a new window with a few options. Click on each other and look to the light of the image above them change. Before you activate the original density, you can preview what each will look like.

Choose the one you want and click “OK” to change your inbox. If you decide you don’t like it, you can of course change back or try the other one.

8. Limit the number of pages you have to sift through

Some people are great about deleting e-mails after you have read. Many of us are not. For the second group, it can be frustrating scrolling through page after page of messages.

The number of visible messages, Settings and under the “General” tab you will find the line for “Maximum paper size.” There you will find a number of drop-down boxes that allow us to change how many conversations and contacts that you will see per page, with the top 100 for the first and 250 for the latter.

9. Clear out the inbox for the junk

“Labels” are designed to be a file of messages in a crowded inbox quickly. In the Labels section of your Settings, you can find ways to hide a label or category you don’t usually grab from the labels list.

You’ll probably find the categories to see them on the left side of your inbox. You can quickly shrink the number you see by hiding categories that you do not need.

10. Block annoying senders

Gmail has an advanced spam filter, which should protect your inbox from most of the junk e-mail. However, there are many reasons to block a legitimate sender, especially if the sender is become obnoxious or insulting.

On the top of each message you receive, you can find the three vertical dots near the top-right. Open it and click on “Block ____.” Click on this option to divert all the messages sent by this sender.

What the digital lifestyle, if you have any questions? Call my radio show and click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen to the Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet or computer. Of the buy of an opinion to the digital world problems, click here for my free podcasts.

Copyright 2018, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved.

Learn about the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and provides advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, newsletters and more, visit her website at


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