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.

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 on behalf of

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 on behalf of”

Source: Google