How to Use Gmail to Its Full Potential

iStock_000000874537SmallGmail has a few hidden gems that will change the way you use email. Here’s a few tips and tricks to unlock Gmail and use it to its full potential.

Go Dotless. Period

When Google launched Gmail, it decided to make things easier for users. Too often a sender will insert a dot, or neglect to do so, in an email address and it’s bounced back.

Dots are not recognized as characters in Gmail usernames. For example:

The destination address won’t be changed with the addition or removal of dots. It will be recognized as:

So if you get an email with a username that closely reflects yours but has no dots, rest assured you are the intended recipient.

Set Up a Filter

Ever wonder who’s distributing your email address? Take better control over your Gmail account by adding a simple + (plus) when giving out your address. This will filter it into the separate folders you’ve created –shopping, banking, charity – and send emails directly into those accounts. For example:

The greatest feature here is that if you start receiving stray emails from unknown senders, they will end up in the filtered accounts so you can determine who shared your address and automatically junk them.

Unsend Embarrassing Emails

Have you ever wished you could unsend an email? Perhaps you sent it to the wrong person or inserted an embarrassing typo.

Gmail has a feature that lets you stop that sent email in transit. The message is stored for a few seconds in the Gmail lab, from the time you hit send, to the time it transfers through cyberspace to the inbox of the recipient.

All you have to do is click on Inbox, go to settings and then “Labs.” Scroll down, find the undo send function, click “enable” and scroll down again to save.

Your email is now safely in your possession.

Combine All Your Emails Into One

Configure your Gmail account to access emails from other accounts! To retrieve emails, go to Settings, Accounts, then select Add another mail account. You’ll then be guided through a section to configure your POP3 account. Insert the email address and on the next page, the corresponding password and the POP server address for this account. (You can find this information from your email provider.)

Once these steps are complete and the POP details are configured, click Add Account. Gmail will start gathering messages from your old account.

If you want to transfer old messages from your inbox into Gmail, use Google Email Uploader. This allows you to transfer emails stored in Outlook, Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird to your Gmail account.

Legitimize emails

Have you ever had your bank account hacked? What about your email account? If you have, you know how stressful and time consuming it is to have to change all your account information to protect yourself from the hacker who started this.

Gmail offers an excellent feature in the Labs tab to prevent hackers from stealing your critical information. Go to Labs and look for the authentication icon for verified senders.

Enable it. Legitimate emails will be flagged with a key next to the sender’s name and you’ll know the email is coming from a trusted source or spammer or identity thief.