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”.

Backing Up Gmail

When you set up email address with Gmail, you effectively have your email in the “cloud”. Being able to access your email anywhere, anytime is fantastic, but what if the cloud disappeared???

I am not at all thinking that this will happen with Gmail, but I do keep lots of precious information in Gmail. I would hate to lose this information, so to take the right precautions, I really need to be backing up my Gmail.

If like me, you set up a email address with gmail after already having another established email address, you will already have a mail client that you use. For example Apple Mail 3.0, Outlook, Thunderbird 2.0 or Windows Mail.

To start the process of backing up Gmail, you will need to configure another email client (as listed above) to receive your Gmail account. Then just follow these steps:

1. Adjusting Settings

Backing Up Gmail

Once in your Gmail account go to settings at the top right hand corner, as illustrated by the red arrow.

2. Forwarding and POP/IMAP

Backing Up Gmail - Forwarding and Pop/IMAP
Click on to the Forwarding and POP/IMAP tab as highlighted by the red arrow.

3. Enable POP

Backing Up Gmail  - Enable Pop Button
Click on the option to enable POP for all mail. This will even include even mail that’s already been downloaded online in your Gmail account.

4. Save Changes

Backing Up Gmail - Save Changes -tab
Make sure that you scroll to the bottom of the page and click on save changes.

5. Go To Email Client

All you need to do then is open the mail client that you have configured for Gmail, and check for new messages. It may take some time for your messages from Gmail to be downloaded if you have not done this in a while. But be patient and you will soon have all your emails down from the cloud and a back up copy if you wish!

Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts

In a previous post I showed how to enable keyboard shortcuts in Gmail. In this post, I will take you through how a keyboard shortcut works and list the ones which I find most useful.

The below example uses my favourite shortcut “Move to”.

Step 1. Checking Message Box

Gmail Message Check Box
You need to check the box of which email message you wish to use the “Move To” shortcut on. There are two ways to do this:

  • Use the mouse and click the box as highlighted by the red arrow; or
  • If the message is highlighted by the black small arrow in Gmail (which I have highlighted with a large blue arrow), you can simply use the Gmail Keyboard Shortcut ‘x’.

Step 2. Enacting the Gmail Keyboard Shortcut

Move To Gmail Keyboard Shortcut
The Gmail Keyboard Shortcut for “Move to” is ‘V’. Once the relevant message has been checked, simply hit the ‘V’ key on your keyboard.

Step 3. Gmail Message Moved

Gmail Move To Keyboard Shortcut
The red arrow highlights the confirmation, which tells you that the message has been moved to the appropriate Label.

Essential Gmail Keyboard Shortcuts:

  • C‘ – Allows you to compose a new message.
  • X‘ – Checks the message that is highlighted in Gmail.
  • V‘ – Moves your message to the chosen Label.
  • /‘ – Moves the cursor to the search box on Gmail.
  • R‘ – Replies to message to the sender.
  • A‘ – Replies message to all recipients.
  • F‘ – Forwards a message.
  • #‘ – Deletes a message.

More People Setting Up Email Address With Gmail

On April 1, 2004, the first release of Gmail was rolled out. The instant attraction for many users way the free storage that it offered: 1000 MB of storage, compared to only 4MB which other free email services were offering.

But Gmail’s popularity has been on the rise along with its storage allocation which is now over 7000MB. But its storage is only one of the benefits that is attracting users to Gmail. For the key benefits of Gmail check out my earlier post on the 4 Benefits of Gmail.

In addition to these benefits, SmartCompany notes that:

The popularity is being attributed to Gmail’s fondness for free features, including several gigabytes of free storage, chat and video messaging services, and access to applications such as Google Docs in their email services.

Google’s free email service Gmail is growing in popularity and may soon overtake Microsoft’s Windows Live Hotmail by the end of the year. Between December 2007 and December 2008, Gmail’s unique monthly visitors in the United States grew 43% from 20.8 million to 29.6 million, according to ComScore. Hotmail lost 5% of unique monthly visitors during the same period, falling from 45.7 million to 43.5 million.

From personal experience, I have been incredibly happy with my switch to Gmail. The key advnatages for me are the online access, massive storage allocation and having many applications linked together, for example my Google Reader, Google Docs, Feedburner Account etc.

Have you tried setting up an email address with Gmail yet?

How To Enable Keyboard Shortcuts In Gmail

Gmail allows you to work through your emails more efficiently, by the use of keyboard shortcuts. By using the keyboard shortcuts you do not have to take your hands off the keyboard to use the mouse.

To use keyboard shortcuts in Gmail you need to make sure that you have them enabled. To check the status of your keyboard shortcuts, you can follow these simple steps.

Step 1

From the inbox page of your Gmail account, click on Settings as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 2

On the settings page, you will find radio button options for keyboard shortcuts, as highlighted by the red arrow. Click on keyboard shortcuts on if it is not already selected.

Step 3

Scroll to the bottom of the Settings page and click on the save button, as highlighted by the red arrow.

Keyboard shortcuts will now be available for use in your Gmail account.

How to Use Labels In Gmail

In my post on How To Achieve A Zero Inbox in Gmail I briefly touch on the Labels function. For me this is single biggest factor in my ability to keep my inbox under control.

Gmail gives you an amazing amount of storage space. The above image shows that I am only using 2% of my allocated storage space. That 2% is actually 182MB which I have stored under 40 different Labels. My total available storage space on Gmail is currently 7297MB. This really does mean that I can keep as many emails as I please, however to do this efficiently I need to use Labels.

Step 1

To apply a Label to an email, you need to first make sure that you have checked the appropriate email, as highlighted by the green arrow. Once this has been done then, click on the Label button. You will then see a drop down menu. As I have already set up labels, you will see that I have a number of labels to choose from. To create your first or a new label, simply click on New Label as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 2

Enter the new label name and click on okay.

Step 3

You will find that Gmail has attached the label you have created or selected, as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 3

To then move the labeled email out of your inbox, you need to again check the relevant email and then click on archive as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 4

Once you have clicked on archive, Gmail will then remove the email from the inbox and locate it the Labels box found on the lower left hand side of your Gmail screen. This is what part of my Label box looks like above. So when I want to go back to an email, I can head straight to the appropriate label and find it quickly.

Accessing Gmail Offline

So you have set up email address with Gmail, but have found that there is times that you would like to access your email, but can’t as you are not online? Well Gmail Labs are testing a new application that allows you to access your emails when offline.

The Official Gmail Blog describes how this feature works:

When you lose your connection, Gmail automatically switches to offline mode, and uses the data stored on your computer’s hard drive instead of the information sent across the network. You can read messages, star and label them, and do all of the things you’re used to doing while reading your webmail online. Any messages you send while offline will be placed in your outbox and automatically sent the next time Gmail detects a connection.

Our goal is to provide nearly the same browser-based Gmail experience whether you’re using the data cached on your computer or talking directly to the server.

Sounds great doesn’t it. But if you are new to Gmail, you may be at a loss as to how to turn this feature on. I will take you through the required steps so you can be accessing your Gmail offline in no time!

Step 1 – Settings

Once in your Gmail account, find the “Settings” tab located in the right hand corner and click on this.

Step 2 – Settings Options

There are a number of options under the Settings heading. Select “Labs” as higlighted by the red arrow.

Step 3 – Labs

Labs is the testing ground for new functionality of Gmail. As the spiel states, these functions are under development and testing so are not perfect, but they are certainly worth trying. Scroll down until you can find the offline feature as shown above.

Step 4 – Enable Offline

Once the offline function has been locataed, simply click on “Enable” as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 5 – Save Changes

The final step is to click on “Save Changes” which can be found at the top of the Labs page. Now if you are without internet access you will still be able to access a local cache of your email.

Google Docs: Managing Your Family Budget

Google Docs is a great way for multiple people to access the one document from different locations. A very practical application that we use Google Docs for is managing the family budget.

For tips on how to set up the budget and how to track expenditure, please check out my post on Planning With Kids – Family Budget For The New Year.

Once you have a family budget in excel spreadsheet form to work with, you can then upload the spreadsheet to Google Docs like we have. This allows both myself and my husband to track our daily/weekly expenditure and monitor how we are tracking to budget.

At any time (providing we are both updating regularly!!!!) we can track our financial position for the week and a cumulative total for the year. There is no excuse for not updating the family budget spreadsheet as it can be accessed anywhere that there is internet access.

Once you have set up email address with Gmail, you can then follow these simple steps to upload your family budget spreadsheet to Google Docs:

Step 1

From your Gmail account, click on “Documents” as highlighted in the above screen shot by the red arrow.

Step 2

If this is the first time you have uploaded a document to Google Docs, your screen should look like the above. Click on “Upload” as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 3

Click on “Browse” to select a file to upload. You have a choice in the third box to name the spreadsheet in Google Docs, something different to what you have named it on your computer. I tend to ignore this option and keep the name the same.

Step 4

Once you have selected your file, click on “Upload File” as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 5

Your spreadsheet will now have been successfully uploaded to Google Docs. In this case the spreadsheet has four individual worksheets. The blue arrow highlights the sheet that is currently open. The red arrows highlight the names of the other worksheets in the file.

You now need to share the documents with the relevant person to give them access to the spreadsheet online. Click on the “Share” button as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 6

The above box should pop up and you should click on “Invite People” as highlighted by the red arrow.

Step 7

Once the “Share with others” box has opened, you can invite people by typing in their email address, as shown by the red arrow. The people you invite do not have to have a Gmail account, only an active email address. Google Docs will bring up matches from your contacts, as highlighted by the green arrow.

You can then type a message to the invitees in the box highlighted by the blue arrow. Once you have finished, click on send (black arrow) and the invitation is on the way!

Step 8

Click on “save and close” as highlighted by the red arrow and you now have multiple users who can access and edit this spreadsheet. Google Docs allows you to upload documents, powerpoint presentations, spreadsheets and PDFs.

Google Docs is an effective way to make real time updates to a document without requiring version control etc.