Become a Gmail Power User 10 Minutes

1.  Learn The 5 Essential Keyboard Shortcuts

Locate the Gmail “Settings” section at the Top Right

Enable keyboard shortcuts in the Gmail Settings section

  • Tab+Enter – Send e-mail.
  • C” – Compose
  • E” – Archive message
  • “#” – Delete message (Shift+3)
  • SHIFT‘- Open email in a new window when combined with any other action.  (Shift+C will open a new compose message in a new window)
  • “?” Access the shortcuts cheat sheet (Shift + / )

2.  Explore Gmail Labs Features

Visit Settings > Labs to view the optional labs settings

Recommended Labs Features to Turn On:

  • Background Send – Helps avoid the 1-2 second delay each time you send an e-mail.
  • Undo-send – Gives you an extra 5 seconds to recall an e-mail if you hit send too quickly.
  • Signature Tweaks – Places your e-mail signature directly after your reply message, and removes the pesky “–” symbols.

3.  Understand the “Archive” Function

The “archive” button

  • In Gmail, you generally always “archive” instead of “delete”
  • When you “archive” something, you are simply removing it from the inbox.
  • You can always view your archived mail by either using the “search” or clicking “All Mail” on the left navigation

4.  Gmail Search is Crucial – Learn The 10 second rule

Why is Gmail better than Outlook, even on day one?  The search function is incredibly powerful, and saves time.

10 Second Rule: If you can’t find an e-mail after 10 seconds of browsing, search for it.

Search is not the slow, useless process you became accustomed to in Outlook.  In Gmail search, simply recall one unique keyword that might have been mentioned in an e-mail, and you instantly filter the number of e-mails you have to sift through to find your result.

Learn a few of the helpful shorthand codes you can enter in the search box to save time and narrow your results

 

 

  • from:
    • Narrow search to e-mails send from a specific e-mail address
  • to:
    • Narrow search to e-mails that has a specific e-mail address in the “TO” box
  • has:attachment
    • Includes only e-mails with an attachment
  • is:starred
    • Includes only starred e-mails (useful if you have certain emails you reference often)
  • in:sent
    • Equivalent of searching your sent mail folder.

5.  Inbox Zero

If you are properly using the “Archive” functionality, your ultimate goal is to get your inbox down to as few e-mails as possible
Have any other essential Gmail tips?

How To Backup and Export Google Docs

Google recently changed the layout of the Google Docs interface, and made it a little difficult to figure out how to export and backup your documents.  It is always recommended to have a backup of anything you store in the cloud, so here is a quick tutorial on how to download and backup your Google docs.

Step 1 – Right click on any file in your Google Docs list, and select “Download”
Step 2 – Click on the “All Items” tab, and press the “Download” button

Step 3 – Select “Email when ready”
Step 4 – Wait until you receive the e-mail, then click download link.

After the file is downloaded, you are still not done.  It is necessary to extract the zip file, and open a few of the documents to make sure they are readable.  In my experience, the export has always worked very well, but it is imperative to check for yourself each time you save the backup.

Sort Gmail By Attachment Size

gmail-size

Update 3/19/2013 

You can now actually run a search for attachments based on size!  Approved operators:

  • size:5m – Find emails with attachments of 5M
  • larger:5m – Find e-mails with attachments larger than 5M

Suggested query: larger:5m older_than:2y

^ Will find all e-mails larger than 5MB and older than 2 years.


gmailattach

Gmail inbox getting full?  Mine was too.  For some inexplicable reason, Google does not allow you to run a simple search of your inbox where you can sort by attachment size.  There are some options to get your Gmail account under control, most useful of which is searching for particular file types.   Run a search for the most commonly large file types, and optionally add a date modifier so you only look at mail older than a certain date.

Enter this into the search box:
filename:(mpg OR mpeg OR avi OR wmv OR zip OR bmp OR mp3 OR wma OR mov) before:2010/12/31

Note: Change the “before” date to whatever date you want.  It can even be today’s date.

I did not exclude JPG or JPEG because pictures are often a useful thing to save.  I still recommend going through each e-mail before doing a mass-delete with the above search query, but this will at least give you a useful workaround while Google works on a sortable attachment filter.

Google is well aware of the need for this feature, but feel free to cast your vote on their suggestion page, like I did.

gmailsize2
Make sure to vote for Google to add this as an official function.

Introduction to Google Forms

More Google-related posts?  See how to become a Gmail Power User in 10 Minutes.

Google recently released a revolutionary gem into its increasingly robust Google Docs platform.  Meet Google Forms: a flexible form and survey development interface with built-in reporting.  Why is this significant?  Well to start, it means the days of SurveyMonkey are numbered.  While still in its infancy, Google Forms is the start of an incredibly versatile data collection framework. How long did SurveyMonkey really think people were going to pay monthly fees to store infinitesimal tidbits of survey response data?  Survey data is far from being difficult, nor costly, to store. How to create your first Google Form:

1.  Navigate your browser to docs.google.com and log-in 2.  Go to the menu labeled “New” at the left and select “Form”

Select "Form"
Select “Form”

Continue reading “Introduction to Google Forms”