Gmail offers a ton of customization, and when you get hundreds of emails every day it’s crucial that you have it set up to process mail quickly and efficiently. Working on Gmail, I get asked all the time what settings and features I use to help me power through my mail. Rather than answer my friends and co-workers one by one, I thought I’d put it all into a blog post. So here goes.
- Turn on Priority Inbox. I couldn’t live without Priority Inbox. I keep the default set-up with important and unread mail at the top of my inbox and the section for everything else at the bottom.
- Show more than 25 conversations in your inbox. I like to see as many emails as possible per page so I can quickly scan through my mail, so I have this set to 100 (the max possible). Go to Gmail Settings and look for “Maximum page size” which you can change to 25, 50, or 100.
- Enable keyboard shortcuts. Press the “?” key when looking at your inbox to see the list of keyword shortcuts. Make sure they are turned on, then pick one or two to start with and try to learn more as you become comfortable. I probably use ‘e’ to archive my messages and ‘j’ and ‘k’ to move through messages the most.
- Inbox preview: Shows a simple, static preview of your inbox while Gmail is loading. While you can’t take action on the messages until your inbox fully loads, it’s great to get a sneak peek and form a plan of attack.
- Send and archive: Adds a button that lets you send a reply to a message and archive the conversation in a single click (keyboard shortcuts work well with this one, too).
- Background send: Lets Gmail send your mail in the background while you move on to more important things.
- Auto advance: Automatically shows the next conversation instead of going back to your inbox after you delete, archive, or mute a conversation. When combined with the “Send and archive” button and background send, this feature makes reading and replying to messages lightning fast.