My New Favorite Gmail Features

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Gmail LogoOne of my favorite tips to share with clients is to take a moment every day to learn a new feature or shortcut in one of your software tools. These small steps can lead to huge gains in efficiency and productivity.

This is something I try to do for myself as well and over the last couple of days I have decided to really dive into Gmail and learn some of the nuances and intricacies of the ubiquitous email service.

My new favorite discoveries are bookmarkable URLs for each mail or folder, and the Quick Links Labs feature.

You may not know that each email, action or label in your Gmail has a unique URL which can be captured or bookmarked. I am finding that I now use this functionality all the time when converting emails into task items. Even though my task manager lets me forward emails into it, it only parses the text and doesn’t show images or import any attachments.

So what I do is a quick copy / paste of the URL into the email itself before I send it over. This way, when I open the task later there is a quick link back to the originating or reference email. This should work for just about any task management system, just grab that address and include it in your task and you can move back and forth quickly.

We all know one of the big draws of Gmail is the powerful and lightning fast search options. Using the handy search operators, it is possible to create very customized searches to help extract just the info you need.

But these searches take time and there isn’t any inherent way to save them. The unique URL also works here so you could just bookmark the results but there is an easier way.

Enter the handy Quick Links labs feature. This handy tool lets you save a link to your current view, whether it is one specific email you need to reference often, or one of your carefully constructed searches.

To turn on Quick Links go to Settings > Labs or click the green labs beaker up in your top menu. Find your Quick Links setting and click on enable.

Quick Links

This adds a handy Quick Links box to your left sidebar which will contain your saved links. Creating these links is easy. Create your search or find your email and click “Add Quick Link”

This is an amazingly powerful feature that can be utilized by anyone, no matter how you file or store your messages. Taking advantage of the powerful search functionality, you can create multiple views of your email and retrieve them quickly.

Learning how to use this type of functionality can be a huge boost to your productivity and can really let you take advantage of the full power of the tools you have chosen.

What Gmail features have you discovered that make you more productive?

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