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7 useful Gmail settings you’ll wish to knew sooner

Date: 10 January 2019

A newer feature, Smart Compose will try and save time by predicting what you are going to write before you even start writing. It’s similar to auto-complete in text messages, but for your inbox.

To use it, you’ll need to activate the “new Gmail”:

1. Go to Settings (the gear in the top-right corner)

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

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

4. Once that’s been checked, scroll down and save changes. The page will refresh, and Smart Compose will automatically start.

5. You can check in the settings to make sure, but from here you should be able to see Google’s predictive text show up as you begin to write emails.

Another benefit of Smart Compose is the ability to create “canned responses.” These are particularly beneficial if you receive lots of messages from many different people covering the same question or topic. Instead of retyping, or forwarding, or copying and pasting, you can pre-draft a canned response and send it over and over.

Just check out the Advanced section in your new Gmail settings and enable them. Here’s how:

1. Open Settings.

2. At the top of the page, find several tabs, including “Advanced.”

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

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

Each time you start a new email, Gmail places that window in the lower-right corner. This is an improvement on the traditional format, which is to dedicate a whole page to the new message. However, what if you don’t want it there? Also, what if you want the box to be larger?

That’s no problem. Just click on the small diagonal arrow that is in the window’s upper-right corner. A larger window will instantly appear in the center on your screen.

Most of us know your standard keyboard shortcuts for things like copy, paste and delete. Gmail has its keyboard shortcuts, catering to email users. If you’re feeling ambitious, you can even create your keyboard shortcuts.

Here’s how to find them:

1. Go to Settings

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

3. Check the circle

4. Save

In classic Gmail, you will want to find the “Labs” tab, while in new Gmail you will seek the “Advanced” tab. Regardless, select whichever one you need and look down on the page until you find “Custom keyboard shortcuts.” Enable those, and then save the changes. The page will refresh, and when it’s done go back into your settings and find the new “Keyboard Shortcuts” tab on the far right of the top banner.

Click on that, and a window with numerous options will open. Choose a shortcut (or create a new one), then save the changes when done. From that moment on, you will be able to implement the shortcut whenever you need it.

There are a hundred reasons you may have sent an email before you were ready. Maybe you entered the wrong address. Maybe you wrote an angry email in haste. Perhaps you forgot that Amber’s birthday party was a surprise. Luckily, you can stop it from delivering – provided you act quickly.

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

There you will see a drop-down box that gives you choices of 5, 10, 20 and 30 seconds for your cancellation period. Just choose which one you want, scroll down and hit save. If you’re indecisive by nature, you could spend half a minute debating whether your sent message was a good idea.

Not everyone wants to read email in chronological order. There so many ways to organize your inbox: Maybe you want to read starred messages first, or unread messages, or “priority” messages. This standard feature is in the different email services, but Gmail makes the ordering exceptionally easy.

Just hover your mouse over the inbox tab on the left side of the screen. When a downward-facing triangle appears, click on it. You will see there are five different kinds of inboxes, with brief descriptions about what each provides.

You may have the right order for your inbox, but you can also manipulate how these messages are grouped. Gmail was a trailblazer for gathering “conversations” together so that users could quickly file through a single email strand and expand or collapse individual messages.

To decide how thoroughly these conversations are clumped, click on the Settings gear near the top right and choose “Density display.”

That will open up a new box with a few options. Click on each one and watch the light image above them change. Before you activate the original density, you can view an example of what each will look like.

Pick the one you like, and click on “OK” to change your inbox. If you decide you don’t like it, you can naturally change back or try the other one.

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