A poorly written email can be the beginning of a shitstorm at work. A cluttered inbox can cause major communication problems. And yet most HR managers neglect to ask about email skills in interviews.
From saving clicks to unsending emails, here’s five essential Gmail functions that will instantly make you a professional emailer.
1. Unsend bad emails
There’s no telling how many users have been saved from embarrassment thanks to Gmail’s unsend button. By adding a delay of 30 seconds, the undo function gives users the chance to cancel any email sent with typos, a wrong email address or missing attachments.
Select settings from the cog icon on the top right corner and then go to Labs. Scroll down to “Undo Send” and click enable. It’s probably the most essential email function since the invention of the “send” button.
2. See your unread message count
Gmail labs also gives you a function that shows the number of unread emails in your Gmail icon. This is particularly usuerful if you have your Gmail tab pinned to your Chrome or Firefox browser. Again, go to Settings and Labs and enable the unread message icon to be able to check for new emails without switching tabs.
3. Filter out the crap
There’s no excuse to let your inbox get cluttered with 100 unread emails. If you’re getting regular emails of the same kind (like newsletters, status updates or bills), you can tell Gmail to filter these out of your inbox and organise them into a special label.
When reading an email, go to “More”, click “Filter messages like these”. Select “Create filter with this search” and choose your preferences.
4. Drag and attach / embed
When it comes to attaching pictures, there’s an easy way and a hard way. It can take between 4-6 clicks to attach a picture using the paperclip icon. It only takes one when you drag and drop it into your email.
If you want to embed an image, drag it into the email text (see left below). But if you want to attach a file you’ll need to drag it onto the grey menu bar (right below).
5. Answer emails in a new tab with CTRL/⌘ + click
If you like a bit more space when writing emails, hold down CTRL or ⌘ while clicking on an email in your inbox to read it in a new tab. This gives you more screen space to work with and can be a handy for dedicating yourself to one message.
For those of us that work with multiple tabs, it’s a handy way of reminding yourself of an email you still need to answer.