There's no doubt Gmail is one of the best webmail services currently available. But it could do better. Here are a few tips to help you organise, optimise, and take control of your Gmail account so you'll spend less time sorting through your email messages.
Gmail Manager 0.6
If you have more than one Gmail account (and for some reason you don't feel like funnelling them all into a single account), you're probably sick of signing in and out of each account just to see whether you have new mail at each address.
Gmail Manager 0.6, a Firefox add-on that inserts an unobtrusive icon on the right side of the status bar (in the lower right corner), lets you can simultaneously check all of your mail accounts. To add accounts, right-click the icon, select Options, Accounts, and click the Add... button.
Each account you add will have its own little icon, mail count, and alias (you can assign aliases when you add accounts) in the status bar. Gmail Manager 0.6 periodically checks each account for new mail; clicking an icon will take you to that Gmail account. The best part: It will automatically log you on and off (assuming that you save your passwords), which means no more Gmail login/logout hassle!
Step up your searches
One of the best things about Gmail is the Google-powered search, which (theoretically) makes finding what you're looking for easy and timely. Sometimes, though, finding exactly what you're looking for requires a slightly more advanced search.
Enter Gmail advanced search. In advanced search, you can specify multiple search criteria. If, for example, you want to find an email message from your mum that has a picture of you as a baby, just type in 'from:mum has:attachment' in the search box. If you don't want to bother typing 'from:' and 'has:' and other operators, click the Show search options link to the right of the search box.
Useful operators for streamlining your searches include 'subject:' (search for words in the subject line), '-' (exclude messages from your search), 'after:' and 'before:' (search for messages within a certain time frame), and 'is:starred' (search for messages that are starred). An especially helpful operator is '-label:chat', if you're trying to search for an email but your search keeps bringing up chat conversations. You'll find a complete list of available operators on Gmail's help site.
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