Thursday, May 15, 2014

Setting Up Gmail: Labels

I am a firm believer that technology should help us work smarter, not harder. This is one reason that I love Gmail! It allows me to easily sort mail, place it in "folders", and add one or more labels. It is possible to filter mail so it is automatically sorted which I will cover in a future post. There is so much that you can do with Gmail, but this post is just going to cover some basics to help get you going in the right direction. The objective is to learn how to control your inbox so it doesn't control you!

One of the most efficient ways to organize mail is to utilize labels. Labels make it easy to search for emails later on. To add a label you need to have an email selected. (To select an email click the box to the left of the email.) One you select an email a toolbar will appear directly above your inbox. Click the label icon and create a new one. It is possible to add multiple labels to one email. For example, if you are dealing with you can add the same label to multiple emails at one time.

Once you create a label it appears off to the left side of the screen as well as in the drop down label menu. You can move emails out of your inbox and house them under the label by either dropping and dragging them to the label or by checking the box next to them, clicking the icon that looks like a folder then selecting the label. Note that this is slightly misleading because Gmail does not have folders. When you add a label the email stays in your inbox, but when you click the "Move To" icon that looks like a folder it moves the email out of your inbox.

The other thing I highly recommend is customizing your inbox. By default, emails are all grouped together which can get confusing and make it more difficult to see which ones need attention. In the screenshot below you can see that I have set my inbox up into four sections: Unread, Need to Reply, Starred, and then Everything Else. This is just the way I have set up my inbox. There are countless options so you can customize it to meet your needs.

Hopefully these tips will help you organize your inbox and gain control over your mail!

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