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 really useful. It's free without feeling cheap. It doesn't add advertisements to the signature line of your email messages, and it gives you a very generous amount of storage space that can be expanded if necessary. Gmail also has a lot of hidden features and hacks. 

Here are a few of the things you may not have known Gmail can do.

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Turn on Experimental Features With Gmail Labs

Enable Gmail experimental access

Gmail Labs is a feature of Gmail that allows you to experiment with features that aren't necessarily ready for wide release. If they're popular, they might eventually 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 email on weekends. 

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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 actually configure one Gmail account into many different addresses. This is useful to pre-filter messages. I use a different variation of my email address for each Wordpress site I manage, for example. 

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

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Add Gmail Themes

Gmail themes

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

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Get Free IMAP and POP Mail

Gmail POP and IMAP settings

Don't like the Gmail interface? No problem.

Gmail supports both 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.

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Automatic Links for URLs and Email Addresses

Gmail automatic linking

Wouldn't it be convenient if you could click any link you receive in your email? That's what Gmail enables. It will automatically convert URLs and email addresses.

There's nothing you need 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. It appears that more recent Gmail updates have removed that functionality, but it may return at any point in the future.

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Use Google Apps to Send Gmail From Your Own Domain

G Suite for business webpage

I've seen plenty of people give out Gmail addresses as their professional contact, but you might still be worried that this might not look professional. There's an easy solution. If you own your own domain, you can 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 you have to pay.) 

Alternatively, you can check other email accounts from within your Gmail window instead of going through a different mail app. 

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Send and Receive Video Hangouts from Your Email

Google Hangouts in Gmail

Gmail is integrated with Google Hangouts and lets you send instant messages with your contacts. You can also engage in voice and video Hangout calls.

If you've been using Gmail for a while, this feature used to be known as Google Talk. 

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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 they don't happen. If you ever wonder if Gmail is down, you can check the Google Apps Status Dashboard. You'll find out if Gmail is running, and if it is down, you should find information about when they expect it to be online again.

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Use Gmail Offline

Gmail offline settings

Gmail can be used offline in in any web browser. You need to enable offline availability in your Gmail settings. Then, if you send a message while you're offline, your message will be sent when you reconnect, and you can browse through the messages you've already received. 

This may be useful for times when you're traveling through areas with spotty phone access. 

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Schedule Your Emails

Schedule a message in Gmail

It might not seem to revolutionary, but it's a super flexible feature. Gmail can schedule an email to send at just about any time in the future. Just use the arrow to the right of Send in your Compose Window, and choose Schedule send. From there, you can pick a date and time to send.

With this one, you can ensure that your email always arrives at an opportune time to reach its recipient.