Gmail Auto Reply – Set Up An Out Of Office Message

As a part time pro-blogger it can feel like you are always connected to your work. Over the last year though I have taken periods from one to two weeks where I go completely off line. It is the best thing, but I couldn’t do it without a Gmail Auto Reply set up on my gmail account though!

Like many bloggers, I receive lots of emails from readers, PR firms and other bloggers on top of my personal emails and newsletters that I have subscribed to. To leave these unanswered for my time offline is not the professional message that I want to send. So when I take time off line I set up the following message in my Gmail Auto Reply:


Thanks for your email. I am currently on holidays. Over this time, I will not be accessing my emails. I love working online, but it is also lovely to take a break and disconnect and spend time solely with my family.

To make taking this break manageable, if you wish for me to respond to your email please resend it after Monday 18th April and I will respond as soon as I can after that date. Thank you very much for understanding!

Kind regards,

How To Set Up Your Gmail Auto Reply

Gmail Auto Reply Gmail Settings
Click the icon in the far right hand corner of your gmail account as highlighted by the green arrow. It will then give you a drop down menu. Select “Mail settings”.

Gmail Auto Reply Auto Reply On
Once in Mail settings, scroll to the bottom of the page until you find “Out of Office AutoReply:”. Click the radio button for the option Out of Office AutoReply On.

You then enter the subject of the Auto Reply, in the section highlighted by the yellow arrow. I simply call mine “On Holidays” but you can call it anything you like! Then select the time period that you will be away from your email account for. Then enter the message you would like people to receive when they email you.

Gmail Auto Reply Gmail Save Changes
For the auto reply to be activated you must click “Save changes” as highlighted by the green arrow.

Gmail Auto Reply Auto Reply Working
Return to your gmail inbox and you will see that it is working by the message at the top of your screen highlighted by the green arrow. This screen shot tells me that my “On Holidays” auto reply is now working on my gmail account.

I have multiple email addresses coming into my gmail account, but I only have to set up this one response in Gmail and it will send the auto reply to all my email addresses. If someone sends me emails each day, this automated reply will be sent at most once every 4 days.

Setting Up Google Calendar

It took me a couple of years after starting to use Gmail to start actually using Google Calendar and now that I have, I can highly recommend it. It is a fantastic online tool to help keep you organised. It is easy to set up and quite intuitive to use.

1. Setting Up Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar
Once in Gmail click on “Calendar” at the top, left hand side of the page, as indicated by the green arrow.

2. Add Your Personal Information

Setting Up Google Calendar
Complete the required information, making sure you choose the right time zone.

3. The Main Google Calendar Page

Setting Up Google Calendar
You will then be presented with the main Google Calendar page.

4. Changing Google Calendar Settings

Setting Up Google Calendar -settings
Before you started filling in dates and times, head to the settings option in Google Calendar, as highlighted by the green arrow.

5. Changing Google Calendar Date Format

Setting Up Google Calendar -general formats
Click over to the “General” tab. This will allow you to change the date format. Default is US style, so for Australians like myself to avoid confusion it is best to change the format straight away!

6. Changing Google Calendar Time Format

Setting Up Google Calendar -changed general formats
The green arrows highlight options worth changing, the date format as discussed above, I prefer to change the time to a 24 hour clock and to have my weeks starting from Monday. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure you save the new settings.

7. Creating Events in Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar -create event
This will then take you back to the main calendar page. To add your first event you have two choices:

  1. On the calendar at the time you want to create an event simply double click and it will open up an event details pop up box.
  2. Click on the create event tab has highlighted by the green arrow above.

8. Adding Event Details

Setting Up Google Calendar -create event
Once the event details box is open, add all the info about your event. Click save at the top of the box, to add the event to your calendar.

9. Set Up Google Calendar

Setting Up Google Calendar added event
You will then be returned to the main calendar page and your event will be on the allocated date. You will also have a message at the top, as highlighted by the green arrow, letting you know what action has just taken place.

How To Add A Signature In Gmail

Gmail for considerable time has had the ability to add a signature to your sent emails, but it was only in plain text format. Now Gmail will let you have a flashy rich text format and even an image or picture in your signature.

This tutorial will show you how to add a signature added at the end of all the outgoing messages for that email address. If you are like me and have more than one email address, you can even have different signatures for each email address you have.

How To Add A Signature In Gmail

Signatures In Gmail

In Gmail click on the settings tab located in the top right hand corner, as highlighted by the red arrow.

Signatures In Gmail

On the settings page scroll down to the signature section and click on the radio button next to your email address as highlighted by the red arrow. If you have more than one email address like I do, you will need to use the drop down menu to choose which email address you want to add the signature to.

Signature in Gmail

You simply then type in the information that you want as your signature.

  • To create a hyperlink, so people can click through to you blog or website, highlight the text you want the link to be attached to and then click on the link button as highlighted by the blue arrow.
  • If you want to insert an image like I have, have the cursor where you want the image to be then click on the button which has a picture of hills, as highlighted by the green arrow.

Signatures in Gmail

So the signature will be added to your outgoing messages, you must then scroll down to the bottom of the setting page that you are on and click save changes as highlighted by the red arrow.

If you have another email address you want to add a different or the same signature to, repeat the process and make sure you choose the specific email address (as highlighted by the red arrow in the screen shot two above.)

Do you use a signature to end your emails?

How To Use Gmail Tasks

I have recently discovered Gmail Tasks and think that it is fabulous application! This video below goes for a minute and is a perfect introduction to the usefulness of this application. After the video I will then take you through a step by step tutorial on how to add your emails to your task list and your calendar at the same time.

1. Gmail Tasks Location

Tasks works in with your email beautifully. If action a task in an email needs to be added to you task list, you can easily add that email to your task list. Open the email, then click on Tasks. The Tasks tab can be found on the left hand side underneath your labels, as highlighted by the red arrow below.
Gmail Tasks Location

2. Add Email To Task List

To add the email to your task list, click on more actions as highlighted by the arrow. Choose “Add to Tasks”.
Gmail Tasks Set Up

3. Task List

The email will now be added to your task list and the task list will automatically appear on screen in the bottom right hand corner. Click on the arrow at the end of the email title to open up the task.
Gmail Tasks How To Use

4. Task List Details

This box allows you to add notes and dates to your task that you have added from email. When you have added the details that you want, scroll down to the end of the box and click on “Back to list”.
Gmail Tasks Dates

5. Tasks Added To Your Calendar

If you have added a date like I have in this example, then the task will not only appear in your task list, but also your Calendar. Click on Calendar as highlighted by the arrow.
[Read more...]

How To Insert Picture Into Email

I recently wanted to send an email to a friend with a picture actually in the email and not sent as an attachment in Gmail. I tried all sorts of copy and past techniques to try and do this, but was not successful. With a little bit of research I found that to insert a picture into email when using Gmail, you need to enable a the “Inserting Images” feature.

I will take you through the steps required to enable the function that allows you to insert a picture into your emails:

1. Settings

Insert picture into email - settings

Go to your settings menu by clicking on the settings tab as highlighted by the red arrow.

2. Settings Menu

Insert picture into email  - settings menu

You should then come through to a screen which looks like this. Click on the Labs tab as highlighted by the red arrow.

3. Labs Menu

Insert picture into email - labs menu

The Labs Menu will look like this. It contains many options and you will need to scroll down towards the end to find the option for inserting images.

4. Insert Images Option

Insert picture into email - insert images option disabled

As you can see by the above picture, the insert images option is disabled. Click on enable to activate this functionality in your Gmail account.

5. Save Changes

Insert picture into email - save changes

It is important that you then scroll to the end of the Labs Menu and click on save changes as highlighted by the red arrow. If you don’t do this, your settings will not change.

6. Insert Images Icon

Insert picture into email - insert images option icon

If you click on compose and start to write and email, you should now see a new icon as highlighted by the red arrow. Click on this to insert an image directly into your email.

7. Insert Images Into Email

Insert picture into email - add an image option box

Once you have clicked on the insert image icon, the above box should appear on your screen. You then click on the option to upload an image from your computer or if you know the images URL you simply enter that.

You can now add images directly to all future emails that you send from your set up Gmail account.

Google Reader – Mark As Read By Time Line

I have been away a lot the last couple of weeks. Firstly I went to Singapore for the Nuffnang Asia Pacific Blog Awards. My other blog Planning With Kids was judged as being in the top 5 parenting blogs for the Asia Pacific Region! We were only back for two days, when we then headed to Mildura to see my sister’s new baby girl. As a consequence of this busyness my Google Reader is at exploding point!!!

Previously when this has happened, I have had to declare “Reader Bankruptcy” where I click on “Mark As Read” for all items. I find this incredibly disappointing as I know that I have lost out on reading some fantastic blog posts. There is however a new function on Google Reader that prevents you from having to clear all items in your reader, you can choose to mark as read either all items, items older than a day, items older than a week or items older than two weeks.

For me this a nice middle ground, I can delete everything over two weeks old, then start making my way through the most recent posts. The below screen shots, show how easy it is to do:

Google Reader - Mark all as read by date 1

In this screen shot the red arrow highlights that I have 1000+ items in my reader. The blue arrow highlights that in this blog feed alone I have 60 new items.

Google Reader - mark all as read 2

By clicking on the “Mark As Read” drop down menu, I then have a choice to mark items as read by the following time lines:

  • All items
  • Items older than a day
  • Items older than a week
  • Items older than two weeks.

I have chosen the “Items older than two weeks” option in this example.

Google Reader - mark all as read 3

Google Reader then asks me if I am sure that I want to do this. It only asks this question when you are marking as read numerous items. I then click on “Mark as Read” to confirm that I want to do this.

Google Reader - mark all as read by date 4

The red arrow now highlights that I have only 16 items unread for this blog feed – much more manageable than 60. Of course you can do this for all items at once , by simply clicking on “All Items” on the left hand side of your reader and then following these same steps. Happy Reading!

Creating Filters In Gmail

Recently I have found my inbox growing to quickly each day. Many of the emails that I receive are updates of some form and not emails that I need to see straight away. To make my inbox less cluttered I have set up a number of new filters, so that these types of emails skip the inbox and are archived straight to their label.

I will show you the easiest way to do this!

Step 1 – Select Emails To Filter

Creating Filters In Gmail - Select Email
From the main screen of your gmail account, open the email that you would like to filter.

Step 2 – Choose Filter Message Option

Creating Filters In Gmail - Filter Messages
As highlighted by the red arrow, choose the Filter Messages Like This option from the drop down menu.

Step 3 – Creating Filter

Creating Filters In Gmail - Next Step Button
The base details of your email chosen will be filled in for you. If you wish to make the filter any more specific, fill in the details and then click Next Step.

Step 4 – Choose Filter Options

Creating Filters In Gmail - Filter Options
To have emails archived straight to their labels you need to tick the three boxes highlighted by the arrows:

  • Skip Inbox
  • Apply and choose label
  • Apply to conversations below (other emails like this that are currently in your inbox)

Once these have been checked, then click on Create Filter.

Step 5 – Filter Created

Creating Filters In Gmail - Filter Created
You should then see a message like the one highlighted by the arrow above, to advise that your filter has been successfully created. All emails that fit this description will then go directly to their label and will not clog up your inbox!

Solution To Gmail On Behalf Of Issue

Sometime ago I wrote about the Gmail on behalf of issue. In that post I stated that:

It does appear to be an issue that cannot be changed within Gmail. In summary it appears to be an issue with the way Microsoft Outlook displays the “from” field.

And at the time of writing that was the correct answer. Things have changed however. Yesterday Google announced that they could solve this problem for some users.

The issue stems with Google ensuring that they comply with mail delivery protocols and showing exactly where the email has come from. That is, that the email was sent from your Gmail account not directly from the server of your actual email address.

“Instead of using Gmail’s servers to send the message, we’ll use the servers where your other email address lives. Since Gmail isn’t the originating domain, we don’t have to include “Sender” info in the header. No more “on behalf of.” From Gmail Blog

That’s great you say, but what do I do to my gmail account to fix it. Follow the steps below, but do note that this may not work in 100% of cases:

“for example, if you use a forwarding alias rather than an actual mailbox, or if your other email provider doesn’t support authenticated SMTP, or restricts access to specific IP ranges.” Source: Gmail Blog

Unfortunately my email provider does restrict access to specific IP ranges, so it hasn’t solved this issue for me, but thought I would share it with you, in case in could help you!

Step 1 – Settings Menu

Gmail Settings

Click on the settings menu as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 2 – Accounts Menu

Gmail Accounts Menu
Click on the accounts menu as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 3 – Edit Info

Gmail On Behalf Of
You should now have a list of all the accounts that Gmail fetches emails from. Click edit info on the account that you would like to remove the “on behalf of” from, as highlighted by the red arrow. It will then take you to the screen below. Simply click on next step.

Gmail Accounts Edit Info

Step 4 – Send mail through your SMTP server

Gmail Send Email Through smtp
Click the radio button to send through your email providers SMTP servers and save changes.

Now when you send email from this account, it will not be labeled as being sent on behalf of!

New Label Functionality In Gmail

By now you would have noticed the changes the label set up in Gmail. If you were like me then one day when you entered Gmail a couple of weeks ago, you would have noticed that the majority of your labels had disappeared. It once looked like this:

Labels list in Gmail

And now it looks like:

New Gmail Labels Set Up

So where have the rest of your labels gone? Near the red arrow is an option saying xx more. By clicking on this you will be able to access the rest of your labels. But what if you want to have more labels easily accessible in the left side bar? Simple, follow these instructions and you can change what labels appear in your Gmail account.

1. Settings Menu

New Labels Set Up In Gmail Main Menu
From the main page of your set up gmail account, click on the settings tab, as highlighted by the red arrow.

2. Label’s Menu

New Labels Set Up In Gmail Settings Menu
From the Settings Option, click on the Label’s Menu as highlighted by the red arrow.

3. Organising Labels

New Labels In Gmail - Organising Labels
As illustrated above, you will now see all your labels listed in this tab. Next to each label is the word show and hide.

4. Hidden Labels

New Labels In Gmail - Hidden Labels
As highlighted by the red arrow, you can see that the label for football has “hide” in bold. This means that it is hidden. If you wish to have this label appear directly in your left hand side bar, click on “show” and it will appear.

5. Show Labels

New Gmail Labels Set Up Organised Labels

The alternative way to organise your labels is to use the drag and drop functionality that Gmail now offers. However, when wanting to organise multiple labels, using the Label’s menu is a much quicker and easier way to arrange the labels that you want shown.

Simply go through you list of labels and click “show”on the ones you want to be seen and then hide any you don’t need to see, bu clicking on “hide”.