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!

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.