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Six ways to get more from Gmail

Make Google email do more

There's much more to Google's free email service than an inbox. Here's how to turn Gmail into a major productivity booster.

Assigning Gmail labels

To categorise a message, open it and choose one of the labels on the More Actions drop-down menu, or check one or more messages in one of the message list views, and then choose the label from the same menu.

Alternatively, to create new labels on the fly, choose New label from the menu. To view or modify your labels, first choose Settings, Labels in the upper right-hand portion of Gmail's interface; this will open a page where you can rename or remove individual labels, view a list of messages tagged with each label, or create a new label.

Unlike deleting a folder in a standard email program, deleting a label doesn't wipe out the messages tagged with that label, so feel free to delete any labels you no longer need.

You can also remove labels from individual messages without deleting the labels themselves. First, open a single message or check multiple messages in the mail list; then choose More Actions.

Scroll to and select the unwanted label beneath the 'Remove label' heading. To find messages no longer tagged with a label, click All Mail in the far left pane to see the list of every message stored in your account.

Gmail's inbox is just another tag that incoming messages receive by default. Should you mistakenly archive a message (which strips it of its 'Inbox' tag), you can return it to your inbox by clicking All Mail, selecting the message, and clicking Move to Inbox.

A similar method enables you to retrieve messages that you inadvertently send to the Trash folder.

Gmail's handy habit of grouping email conversations into message threads also means that messages you've archived will pop back into your mailbox as soon as someone else posts a response to an earlier message in the thread.

If you no longer have any interest in the conversation, prevent it from reappearing in your inbox by checking it, and then choosing Mute from the More Actions menu.


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