5 Gmail Tricks & Tips for Power Users

Last Updated January 3rd, 2019

When it comes to getting work done, most people turn to Gmail for their online communication needs. With something like 26% of email going through a Gmail inbox, now is the time to make sure you’re getting the most from your account.

Sending and receiving email would only scratch the surface of what a power user can do with these Gmail tricks and secrets.

1. Keyboard Shortcuts Save Time and Increase Workflow

A mouse can be handy, but the pros turn to their keyboard when they want to go lightspeed. One of the cool Gmail tricks that can save quite a bit of time is the use of keyboard shortcuts in Gmail.

Once you get used to it, you can zip through your inbox in no time without ever touching the mouse or trackpad on your laptop.

Turn Shortcuts On

First you turn the keyboard shortcuts on.

Here’s how you do that:

  1. While logged in to your Gmail account, click on the gear icon in the top right corner, and then “Settings” in the dropdown that appears.
  2. From there, click on the “General” tab and scroll down to “Keyboard Shortcuts.”
  3. Simply click on the “Keyboard shortcuts on” bubble to enable this helpful feature.
  4. Make sure to click the “Save Changes” button at the bottom of the settings page.

Then, once you’re back in your inbox, here are a couple quick shortcuts you can use without even touching your mouse:

In the Inbox

“C” – Tap “c” while looking at your inbox to open and compose a new message.

“/” – Tap “/” to jump to the search box, and then type in your search and hit “enter.”

“g + k” – Holding “G” and hitting “K” opens up your Tasks, which is a handy to-do list.

g then i — Go to Inbox

g then t — Go to Sent

g then d — Go to Drafts

* then a :    Select all conversations

* then n :    Deselect all conversations

* then r :    Select read conversations

* then u :    Select unread conversations

* then s :    Select starred conversations

* then t :    Select unstarred conversations

In an Email

“R” – After opening a message, simply tap “r” to bring up a reply box.

“A” – Tap “a” in a message to Reply All.

“Ctrl/Cmd + Enter” – Sends the currently drafted email.

“K” – Tap “k” while reading an email to jump to the next newest email.

“J” – Tap “j” to quickly move to a previous message.

“U” – Tap “u” after opening an email to jump back to the inbox.

“Ctrl/Cmd + b” – Turns the highlighted text bold.

“Ctrl/Cmd + u” – To underline the highlighted text.

“Ctrl/Cmd + I” – To italicize the highlighted text.

After Clicking the Email Selection Box

“E” – Press “e” after selecting an email to immediately archive it.

“=” – Press “=” after selecting to mark the message as important

Once you’ve gotten comfortable with the keyboard shortcuts, you’ll be dancing through you inbox and getting to inbox zero with the greatest of ease.  Practice and you’ll quickly get the hang of it.

Hold “shift” then press “?” from within Gmail to see the rest of the keyboard shortcuts that are available in Gmail.

2. Use Filters to Backup Your Email or to Keep Another Person in the Loop

One of the more useful Gmail filtering tricks allows you to set up an automatic filter than can send messages of a particular type or from a particular user anywhere you want.

Why would you want to forward certain messages?

Well, you can use it to backup your most important emails by making sure a copy is sent to another address, or you can have copies of specific emails automatically sent to another user, maybe a work partner, friend, or an accountant.

Creating A Gmail Filter

Click on the “Gear” icon and in the dropdown, click “Settings.”

Then, select the “Filters and Blocked Addresses” tab.

Select “Create a new filter.”

Next, you’re going to fill in the specifics of the specific email, sender, or the type of email you want to forward copies of.

“From” would specify a certain sender, or you could use things like “Subject” or “has the words” to forward particular, curated content.

Then select “Create Filter” in the bottom right of the new window.

A new window will pop up with many options, but if you want to forward it click the “Forward it to” box. If the box is grayed out, you will have to add an address by clicking “add forwarding address” right next to “Forward it To.”

Then enter the address of where you want the email to go. [screenshot]

Gmail will send a confirmation link to the forwarding address, so make sure to log into that account (or have the person you’re forwarding to log into their email) and confirm. [screenshot]

Now you can go back to your “Filters and Blocked Addresses” settings tab and create your filter again and now you’ll be able to select the email you just added to forward your emails to.

And you’re done!

3. Use Canned Responses to Create Form Letters and Frequently-Used Message Templates

Sending out resumes to employers, or query letters to agents?

Maybe you have to send an email update every day or every week to a colleague or manager?

Or maybe you receive five-hundred emails a day asking about your prices and you’re tired of typing the same or similar response?

That’s when canned responses can save your life and possibly prevent future carpal tunnel issues.

Creating a Gmail Canned Response

To create a canned response, click “compose” to open a new message. Then click on the small gray “down-arrow” icon on the bottom right of the open message. Then, hover your cursor over “canned responses” and then click on whatever canned response you like to fill the email.

Don’t have any canned responses yet? No problem!

Just click on “New Canned Response,” give it a memorable name (for the example, we’ll use “Test”), and then fill out the subject of the email and whatever you’d like in the body.

Then, click on that gray down-arrow again, hover over “canned responses” again, and click “Test” (or the actual name of your canned response) under the “Save” column to save your response as is.

Using a Canned Response

Then, in the future when you want to use the response, go to the down-arrow again, then “canned responses,” and then click on your canned response to insert it into the email.

Once set up, simply click twice to drop that query letter, cover letter, or email update into the email. Alter any parts that need altering or send the email as it is.

No more typing and retyping the same email, or copy and pasting from a Notepad or Word Document. It’s all right there – one of the many Google mail tricks that can make you more productive and give you some of your time back.

Another way to use canned responses in Gmail

One of the best parts of the BombBomb Extension for Google Chrome is that it allows you to create canned responses or “snippets” from any text you have in any email, including images, and video thumbnails.

Then you can go back in later and add that canned response/snippet to any email you like, subject line and images included.

4. Send Video Emails through Gmail to Catch Attention

Text is all well and good for shooting off a quick email to a coworker, but what if you’re trying to dazzle customers or bring attention to your emails?

Plain typed-out-text emails blend in with the rest of the noise in the inbox and don’t help you stand out at all.

Video emails are one of the most effective ways to grab the attention of your email recipients and to connect with them on a human level.  Without video, there’s not much of a chance of you connecting face-to-face in your first or any other email response.

BombBomb allows you to connect face-to-face through your emails – to put you back into your digital communication.

Your energy and natural charisma is being lost in plain typed-out-text emails.  You’re messages are also being misinterpreted according to a recent study and it takes 4 times longer to type out a message than to just say it on video.

Video eliminates all the misinterpretation because all of your tone, gestures, your facial expressions, and your hand gestures are all intact like they are in face-to-face in person communication.

You also don’t have to worry about crafting the right email copy because video allows you to just be yourself and say what you want the way you want to say it.

Video email is also exponentially better for sending a more heartfelt message to a friend or loved one. BombBomb makes that easy, and you can see when they open and watch the video you sent.

Or maybe you’d like to remind your recipient how good-looking you are – whatever works to keep those eyes on the screen, right?

The best part is that BombBomb doesn’t send the video as an attachment, which can often be blocked by spam filters or just forgotten by the end user.

You don’t have to do any manual uploading to Youtube or any other service either.

When you record a video in Gmail with the BombBomb Google Chrome Extension, it’s uploaded and encoded instantaneously so it’s ready to be sent as soon as your done recording.

Then, on the recipients end, an animated preview thumbnail image appears right in the body of the email message. When you click that image, it opens up the video instantly in a new browser tab, and notifies you that your video was viewed.

Give BombBomb a try in Gmail for free for 14 days. 

5. Install Add-Ons and Extensions to Make Gmail Work for You

While Gmail itself is very robust, as you can see by all of these Gmail email tricks, it can also be customized for whatever experience and workflow suits your life.

Add-Ons Inside of Gmail Itself

One of the more fun google mail tips can be accessed right in Gmail.

Once logged in, click on that gear icon again and then “Get Add-Ons.” It will take you to the G Suite Marketplace, where you can browse the available add-ons and decide what works for you, most or all of which are free of charge.

To sort by category, click on the “three lines” icon on the top left of the G Suite Marketplace.

This should give you a list of categories like Accounting & Finance, Administration & Management, Creative Tools, Office Applications, and the like.

Simply click on the category to see the available add-ons. Click on the add-on itself to see reviews, features, and finally to install if it suits your fancy.

Add-ons like “Pod for Gmail” add scheduling, calendar history, and meeting setups, while add-ons like “Hire” use your account at Hire.Google.com to add recruiting tools right to your Gmail.

There are addons for all types of purposes.

Become an Email Master with These Tips for Gmail

As you can see, Gmail can be as agile as you are, so make sure you’re using all the tricks at your disposal. Increase your productivity, save time, or maybe just show off to your co-workers and friends.

Between keyboard shortcuts, add-ons, video email, filters, and canned responses, you could easily double your communication efficiency, and also send captivating emails that people are excited to click on.

Give BombBomb a try in Gmail for free for 14 days. 

Aaron Colby

Aaron Colby | About The Author

Copywriting, blogging, marketing. A storyteller with a passion for creating results through words. Background in advertising and broadcasting. Lead Writer, BombBomb. BA, Western State Colorado University. Loves to play in the mountains.