Google Docs Video

If you have already set up email address using Gmail, you may not know it but it also provides you access to another fantastic free product called Google Docs. The very clever team at Common Craft created an “in plain english video” explanation of how Google Docs works. It is an excellent video, running for only 2′ 50″ and has been viewed more than 1 million times already.

If you for any reason need to have more than one person inputting into a document, spreadsheet or presentation, Google Docs is the way to go. Check out the video and next week I will show you how it can even be effectively and productively used for family purposes.

Managing Blog Subscriptions

Amongst other things, I am a moderator at a great forum called Aussie Bloggers Forum. To be a member of this forum you don’t have to be an Australian, but just have an interest in blogging or Aussie culture.

One of the responsibilities that I have in this role is to write a monthly post for the Aussie Bloggers Blog. I thought I would cross post my contribution from September as it is very relevant to what I write about here on Set Up Email Address.

The original post can be read here.

Back in June, Sueblimely wrote a great post on Searching For Blogs of Interest. This post will show you one way in which you can manage your blog subscriptions.

I started my blog in January this year and only really started reading other blogs a month or so before that. To keep up to date with what was happening on my favourite blogs, at first I just saved the blogs to my online favourites and would check them when I went on line.

Then I found the wonders of RSS (Really Simple Syndication). RSS is a format which is used to publish frequently updated content such as blogs, news, Twitter and podcasts. A feed (RSS document) contains either the full text of the content or a summary of the content.

The RSS Icon as shown above, is found all over the internet and tells you that this site has a feed to which you can subscribe to. The benefit of RSS is that you collate the content from multiple sources into one place.

You read the RSS content using software called an RSS reader or a feed reader. These can be web-based like Bloglines or Google Reader or desktop-based like in Outllook 2007.

When I first set up a reader I was using the one provided in Outlook 2007. Two major laptop crashes and wiped hard drives which saw me lose my subscriptions to blogs twice, made me look for an online alternative.

I chose to set up an online reader with Google. Since establishing it back in July, I now have over 130 different subscriptions from blogs, news alerts and Twitter. With so many subscriptions if I don’t check my reader for a couple of days, it can easily be then exceeding 1000 items.

Naturally this is a little overwhelming and it wasn’t until I learnt a trick from Ed Dale on the 30 Day Challenge that I found a way to easily manage this volume of items in my reader.

The image below is a screen shot from my Google Reader. Note where the red arrow is pointing. It is set on the default Google Reader setting of Expanded view. While this view is great as you get to see the post without clicking on it to open it, it doesn’t allow for quick scanning.

In this next image below, I have returned the my Google Reader to List View which is how I now use this service. With all my subscriptions listed, I can skim through them quickly, stopping to read those that I want to. Once I have made my way through the list, I click on “Mark All as Read” and I have emptied my reader.

Since making this very simple change to my reader, I have now been able to keep the number of items under control and keep up to date with my blog subscriptions.

Another feature of Google Reader which I love, is that even if I have just as noted above, marked all as read, but realise that I actually wanted to refer back to one of those posts, I can still retrieve the post.

The above image shows a folder that has all posts read. If I want to go back and see a previously read post, I simply click on “View all items” and all previous posts will be retrieved. Effectively they are never really deleted and can be recalled at any time while you are subscribed to that blog.

This is one way to manage your blog subscriptions. How do you manage yours?

The Gmail On Behalf Of Issue

I had a reader email me and ask if it was possible to remove the From yourusername@gmail.com on behalf of customaddress@mydomain.com.

When I researched this issue to see if it was possible to change the way the “from” address is displayed, I came across numerous discussions on the “behalf of” component. I agree also that it is not the perfect way to display your email address.

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.

..when you’re sending with a different ‘From:’ address, your Gmail address will still be included in your email header’s sender field, to help prevent your mail from being marked as spam. Most email clients don’t display the sender field, though some versions of Microsoft Outlook may display “From yourusername@gmail.com on behalf of customaddress@mydomain.com.”

Source: Google

Instructions On How To Fetch Email From Other Accounts In Gmail

One of the biggest advantages of using Gmail for me has been having the capacity to have all my email accounts coming into the one spot, which I can access from anywhere that has internet access!

Gmail’s Mail Fetcher can download messages from up to five other email accounts, centralising all your email in Gmail. I have created some step by step instructions with screen images to take you through how you can set up Gmail to fetch email from your other email accounts.

Step 1


Once you have logged into your Gmail account, click on Settings in the top right hand corner.

Step 2


In the Settings menu you have a number of options to choose from. Click on Accounts.

Step 3


From the options in Accounts, select Add another email address.

Step 4


Enter the email address that you want Gmail to fetch mail from.

Step 5


You will need to enter the password to your other email account where the green arrow is pointing. Gmail will fill in most of the information for you on this screen. Depending on what type of email account you are fetching email from, you may need to change the information highlighted with the red arrow.

Step 5


The next screen should say that your mail account has been added. If you want to send emails as well from this account. It is essential that you click yes as indicated by the green arrow and follow the next steps.

Step 6


Enter the name that you would you would like to appear when you send emails from this account.

Step 7


Gmail will need to verify that you own the account which you are adding. Click on Send verification. This will send an email to the account that you are trying to add to Gmail.

Step 8


Check your email account for the verification email. Once received you will have two options:
(1). Click on link in email.
(2). Enter code from email. (In the image above I have entered the code.)

Step 9


Gmail should then take you back to the Accounts tab under the Setting options as illustrated above.

If you have set up Gmail address to move your email account on line and want to still use your other email account as your main email account, you will need to change the default settings.

The green arrow above is pointing to the Make default function. Click that option to make your added account the default email address from which you will send email.

Step 10


If you have multiple email accounts that you use regularly, I recommend checking the radio button highlighted by the green arrow. This will ensure that replies that you send to people will come from the same address the message was sent to.

And that is it! You now have your emails coming into the same place, have a fantastic spam filter in operation and have massive amounts of storage space.

Importing Contacts From Old Email Account

So you set up email address in Gmail and are now thinking, but what about all the email addresses I had in my address book – do I have to type these into Gmail? No! Thankfully Gmail makes it very easy to import your contacts from Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo!, orkut, and other services into your new Google Mail account.

STEP 1
Create a CSV file of your contacts. CSV stand for comma separated values and the format of the data in the file – it is separated by commas!

I will use the example of Outlook to show how to create this a CSV file:

  • Click on File, then Import and Export.
  • This will start the Import and Export Wizard. Click on Export to a file. Next.
  • Select Comma Separated Values (Windows). Next.
  • Highlight Contacts. Next
  • Click on browse to select the location and the name of the CSV file. OK. Next. Finish.

STEP 2
Log into your Gmail account and then follow these steps:

  • Click Contacts on the left side of any Google Mail page.
  • Click Import in the bottom left corner.
  • Click Browse to locate the CSV file that you want to upload.
  • Select the file and click Import.

You can then click on Contacts and will be able to view your recently imported contacts, along with any contacts that you have created in your Gmail account already.

How To Achieve A Zero Inbox

Before I set up email address with Gmail, I really struggled containing my inbox. I would have week/month old emails sitting in my inbox waiting for me to action them.

There was a great inefficiency in the way that I was handling my emails. When I was in my inbox and I could see the emails sitting there, I found that I was often reading them multiple times, deliberating on what to do with them and generally getting sidetracked by non urgent emails.

I went away last week and decided to have an online holiday as well. I did not check my email for six days! When I had been using Outlook, such behaviour would have seen me most likely exceed my mail box storage and a massively overflowing inbox.

Using Gmail effectively though means that my return scenario was very different for the following reasons:

STORAGE
Gmail allows you over 7000MB (and continually growing), so the chances of me exceeding this storage limit are almost impossible.

SKIPPING THE INBOX
I receive email from so many sources on a regular basis that I do like to read, but they do not need my immediate attention. The types of emails that fall into this category are statistic reports, monthly newsletters, subscriptions to my own blogs, etc.

By setting up filters within the settings function of Gmail, I can choose to apply a label to the email and have it skip the inbox completely and be archived under this label. This is a fantastic way to reduce distractions that can arrive in your inbox.

LABELS
As most people do, I receive regular emails from particular friends or groups that I am working with. In the filters section I can apply a filter to a particular email address, so that it labels the email with that name.

For example I have set up a website for the occasional care centre that my youngest child goes to. Every time I receive an email from my contact person at the centre, it is automatically lablelled “Occassional Care”. Once I have actioned the email, I then simply click on archive button to remove it from my inbox and keep it filed appropriately under “Occassional Care” if I need to recall it later.

SPAM
Dealing with spam can be a big time waster. The spam filters are so smart on Gmail. Over a week in Outlook, I would receive at least 30 – 40 spam emails in my inbox. In my six day absence, there was no spam in my inbox and only eight in my spam folder.

CONVERSATIONS
Gmail groups all replies with their original message, creating a single conversation or thread. Replies to replies (and replies to those replies) are displayed in one place and in order. So when you have been away for multiple days like I had, it made it so much easier to follow the “conversation” of some of my emails. It also reduces the total volume of emails that you see initially in your inbox.

These factors, combined with a more disciplined approach by myself, meant that it took less than an hour to action and tame by inbox back to zero again.

So if you are having trouble managing your inbox and have not yet set up email address with Gmail, I can highly recommend doing so as the first step to effectively managing your inbox to zero.

Google Reader in Plain English

Common Craft, whose videos I have used previously on this blog, were hired by the team at Google to make a short video on their Google Reader. The video runs for just over a minute and as is Common Craft’s unique style, is in plain english and very easy to understand.

My step by step instructions on adding blogs to Google Reader includes screen shots if you are looking for more information on how to use Google Reader.

Where Is My Address Book In Gmail?

ADDRESS BOOK

When I first set up email address with Gmail, initially I couldn’t find where my Address Book was. Having been operating email from only Outlook for years, I had become programmed to look for particular terms and had become used to the way the Address Book function operated in Outlook.

CONTACTS

The first difference is that in Gmail, Contacts is where you will find all your email addresses. Contacts can be found on the left hand side on any page once you have logged into Gmail, just above the Chat box.

It is worth having a look at some of the nifty functions in Gmail Contacts:

    When entering addresses in the appropriate fields, you need only type the first letter of the name of your contact, using predictive text Gmail then brings up the contacts that match your input. Simply click on the right one and add more addresses the same way if you need to.
    It is very easy to create groups in contacts, for people that you email regularly together. For example I have a Family contact group, so when I want to send a message to all of the members of my family, I only have to put one name in the “To” box.
    Email addresses are automatically added to your Contacts list each time you use the Reply or Forward functions to send messages to addresses not previously stored in your Contacts list.
    Each time you unmark a message as Spam, your Contacts list is automatically updated so that future messages from that sender are received in your inbox.
    When you are in your Contacts, you can click on a particular person and not only do their details come up, but with one more click, you can see all your recent email coversations with them. It will even let you know if you have any messages from them in “Trash” and you can recover them if needed.
    You can import your contacts from Outlook, Hotmail, Yahoo!, orkut, and other services into Gmail. Gmail requires this to be in CSV format and most email services will export contacts in this way.

Now that I have adjusted to my new surroundings in Contact Manager, I am really enjoying the simple interface and efficiency that this feature of Gmail offers.

So have you set up email address yet with Gmail?

How To Use RSS Feeds To Keep Up To Date With Your Favourite Blogs

By now if you have had a look around Technorati and starting surfing the web using the StumbleUpon Toolbar, you will have no doubt found yourself an amazing number of blogs that you would like to keep up to date with.

In a previous post I gave a very generic introduction to the How To RSS Feeds. Today I will take you through a step by step guide on how to use RSS to subscribe to blogs.

I will use my reader (Google Reader) as an example of how to do this, but the process will be very similar regardless of which reader you choose to do.

STEP 1 – THE RSS ICON

Locate the RSS icon on the blog that you would like to subscribe to. The read arrow points out what you should be looking for. Click on the RSS icon to add it to your reader.

STEP 2 – SELECTING YOUR READER

On this page you will be given a range of web based and other type readers to choose from. For me I simply click on the Google button, which I have pointed out with the red arrow. If you were using a reader in Outlook you would choose the “View Feed XML” option.

STEP 4 – ADDING TO READER

On this page I need to choose the “Add to Google Reader” button as pointed out with the red arrow.

STEP 5 – SUCCESSFULLY SUBSCRIBED

The blog has now been added to my reader. You will note that the arrow on the left points to the Previous Item and Next Item buttons. You can use these to click through the posts that have been added to your reader.

When you add a new blog to your reader, how many items it adds to your reader will depend on what the blog owner has set up for their feed. It is usually between 5 – 10 items, but some may have more. The red arrow on the right points to the number of items that are unread for this blog, which in this case is 10.

STEP 6 – ADDING TO FOLDER

If you look to where the green arrow is pointing you will see a drop down menu titled “Feed Settings”. This allows you to manage your subscriptions efficiently by adding them to folders.

For example some of the folders that I have in my reader are mum blogs, dad blogs, craft blogs, recipe blogs. So when I click on the Feed Settings, I can scroll down and add this blog to mum blogs.

If you haven’t made any folders yet, scroll through until the end of the drop down menu and click on the “New Folder” option and name the folder as you wish. Having folders makes it easier to find blogs, if you are wishing to read one particular one.

STEP 7 – READING NEW ITEMS

When you go back to your reader, you can easily see what blogs have new items. The red arrow points to bolded blogs. If a blog is in bold, it means that there are unread items. The number in brackets, tells you exactly how many items are unread for that blog.

It also will tell you this information for the folder. In this instance Mum Blogs has new items and the actual number is 101. (As you can probably tell, I haven’t checked my reader for a couple of days!)

So now as you are web surfing, for blogs that you would like to stay updated with, just look for the RSS Icon and add them to your reader!

4 Benefits Of Gmail

How does Google promote its own free online email service as the best place to set up email address? Take 4:21 to watch this video and they will explain the following for benefits of Gmail:

(1). Fights Spam

(2). Conversations

(3). Search

(4). Gmail and Chat combined.