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9 essential tips for every Gmail user

Get more from Google's webmail service

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.

Sort mail from multiple accounts

These days, you may have separate email addresses for work, school, and home - not to mention the really stupid Hotmail account you made specifically to annoy your neighbour. But checking each one individually takes up a lot of time (time that you could be wasting elsewhere).

Luckily, you can funnel all of your e-mail messages into your Gmail account by using POP3. Choose Settings, Accounts, Import, Check Mail Using POP3, and then click Add POP3 email account) to make email-checking a one-stop operation. The feature isn't new or unique to Gmail, but Gmail does provide a couple of cool extras - such as Multiple Inboxes - to help you organise your incoming mail.

To activate this feature, choose Settings, Accounts, Import, Labs; scroll down to 'Multiple Inboxes'; select Enable; and then select Save Changes. Multiple Inboxes will allow you to see up to five additional 'inboxes' in your Gmail inbox - and you can sort mail into each 'inbox' by using filters (for example, 'label:thisisalabel' or 'is:starred'). If you already filter your incoming POP3 mail, you can easily use the predesigned labels to give each POP3 account its own "inbox."

Create Google Documents from email messages

Google Documents gives you access to your files whenever and wherever you need them. You don't have to worry about potential compatibility issues (I'm looking at you, Microsoft Office), and you can even share or collaborate on them with friends and colleagues. Wouldn't it be great if there was an easy way to convert e-mail messages into Google Documents?

Oh wait, there is! Just choose Settings, Labs, Create a Document. Thereafter, anytime you look at an email missive, you'll see the option to 'Create a document' (right under the option to 'Print All'), which will then be saved automatically in your personal Google Docs. If your keyboard shortcuts are enabled, you can also create a blank document by hitting g and then w.

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