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.

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.

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!

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!

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.