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Gmail – A Crash Course for Organizing and Automating Your Inbox

Optimizing your Inbox  

Your Gmail is the cornerstone for professional as well as personal communications, so there are literally hordes of mails vying for your attention in the inbox. It could be a daunting task to search for important mails and sift them from the unimportant ones. However, Gmail offers you different and unique ways for customizing, sorting and arranging the application, so that it becomes more manageable.

Using Keyboard Shortcuts

In order to become more organized with Gmail, you can first optimize the inbox for effective navigation. There are many keyboard shortcuts that are built in Gmail, though it might take some time getting used to them. It will help you do things more quickly in Gmail. Though some of the shortcuts are already enabled, you have to click the gear shaped icon and opt for Settings. In the General option, select Keyboard Shortcuts and click on the bullet, then save the settings. This will allow you to use the shortcuts for navigating, composing emails and so on from the screen. You can also customize these shortcuts in the Labs settings according to your preferences.

Selecting an Inbox Look

Gmail offers 5 ways for storing your inbox along with tabs that automatically sort your emails according to the subject. You can also play about with these settings and choose your own look by clicking on Inbox tab and opting for Inbox type.

Default Inbox Look

The default setting shows emails in the order in which they arrive. However, if you get hundreds of emails daily, it becomes difficult to get through them. Even in the default option, you must select Categories in order to automatically categorize messages in tabs appearing on your inbox. You can get five sorts for filtering your mail, namely Primary for your personal messages; Promotions meant for offers; Social meant for social networking notifications and Updates for receipts, etc.; and forums meant for online discussions.

However, in the default mode, you cannot create your own tabs, though you can turn a particular tab on or off.

Choosing your Inbox Look

 The other 4 options divide the inbox into 2 sections, by displaying the focus first and all other mails under it. Gmail ranks important mails with a yellow market, so that high priority mails rise up to the top, without considering the time at which they were received.

You can also select Unread First option, where the unread mail takes over precedence, even over the recent mails. Other options to use are starred first, useful for those who use the stars for prioritizing the inbox. Priority inbox is an option where the app learns the kind of mails that you interact with most regularly and prioritizes them. However, it may take some time for Gmail to actually understand your patterns, though it is a very powerful tool in the app.

Display Density

 After prioritizing your Gmail, you can also use the Display Density feature. This feature can also be accessed from the same gear icon. It helps to increase or decrease spaced among the various elements of the inbox, so you can decide on the best spacing.

Turning On Indicators

You might have noticed the small arrows within those yellow markets, which are meant to inform you about whether the mail is for you; for a group; or for mailing lists. Double arrow means only to you; a single arrow means to a group; and no arrow means to mailing lists. You can change these indicators by visiting Settings and choosing the General tab.

Muting Conversations

If you are still receiving email threads that are no longer of importance or relevance to you, you can mute it. You can do this by clicking on More icon after opening the message and clicking on Mute.

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