Things You Didn't Know Gmail Could Do

Gmail is even more useful than you thought

keyboard message, mail

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Gmail is useful, free, and doesn't add advertisements to the signature line of your email messages. Gmail also offers a generous amount of storage space that can be expanded if necessary.

Gmail also has hidden features and hacks. Here are some of Gmail's best known secrets.

01
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Turn on Experimental Features With Gmail Labs

Enable Gmail experimental access

Gmail Labs is a feature of Gmail where you can experiment with features that aren't ready for release. If these features become popular, they might be incorporated into the main Gmail interface.

Example tools have included Mail Goggles, a feature that attempted to give you a sobriety test before allowing you to send an email on a weekend. 

02
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Have an Infinite Number of Alternate Email Addresses

Add an alias on Gmail

By adding a dot or a + and changing capitalization, you can configure one Gmail account into many different addresses. This is useful when you want to pre-filter messages. For example, use a different variation of your Gmail email address to filter messages from newsletters you subscribe to.

You can also use the Gmail alias functionality from the Gmail Settings to set up different addresses. It's a great way to organize and keep your mail in one place.

03
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Add Gmail Themes

Gmail themes

Rather than using the same Gmail background, use Gmail themes. Some themes change during the day, similar to iGoogle themes. Some themes make email harder to read, but most are pure fun.

04
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Get Free IMAP and POP Mail

Gmail POP and IMAP settings

If you don't like the Gmail interface, use your favorite email client. Gmail supports POP and IMAP, which are industry standards for desktop email clients. That means you can use Outlook, Thunderbird, or Mac Mail with your Gmail account.

05
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Automatic Links for URLs and Email Addresses

Gmail automatic linking

It's convenient to be able to click any link you receive in an email. Gmail automatically converts URLs and email addresses. There's nothing for you to do or enable. Whenever you receive an email address or a URL, Gmail will detect the pattern as something that should be a link, and link it.

This feature used to work with street addresses and phone numbers too. Recent Gmail updates have removed that functionality, but it may return in the future.

06
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Use Google Apps to Send Gmail From Your Domain

G Suite for business webpage

Using a Gmail address as a professional contact doesn't look professional. If you own your domain, use Google Apps for Work to turn your domain address into your personal Gmail account. (Google used to offer a free version of this service, but now it is a paid service.) 

Or, check other email accounts from Gmail instead of using a different mail app. 

07
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Send and Receive Video Hangouts from Your Email

Google Hangouts in Gmail

Gmail is integrated with Google Hangouts. This feature used to be known as Google Talk. Use Google Hangouts to send instant messages to your contacts. You can also engage in voice and video Hangout calls.

08
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Check the Gmail Server Status

Gmail server status

Gmail is reliable enough that outages make the news. That doesn't mean outages don't happen. If you think Gmail is down, check the Google Apps Status Dashboard. You'll find out if Gmail is running, and if it is down, you'll find information about when it is expected to be online.

09
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Use Gmail Offline

Gmail offline settings

To use Gmail offline in any web browser, enable offline availability in the Gmail settings. Then, when you send a message while you're offline, the message is sent when you reconnect. While you're offline, you can browse through the messages you've received. This is useful when traveling through areas with intermittent phone access.

10
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Schedule Your Emails

Schedule a message in Gmail

Gmail can schedule an email to send at any time in the future, for example, to send a message on a friend's birthday. Use the arrow to the right of Send in the Compose Window, then choose Schedule send. From there, choose a date and time to send.