5 Slick Features Included in Gmail

Gmail envelope logo

Gmail has so many features that it’s easy to miss some of the more interesting ones. With a little tweaking you can also change how some features work to make them even more useful.

Check out these five features you probably didn’t know were included in Gmail.

Host Files in Your Inbox

Dropbox and Google Drive seem to run the show when it comes to hosting files online for quick and easy access. But if these services aren’t for you, you can use your Gmail storage space to house a few files that you need to access.

File attached to Gmail message draft

All you have to do is attach the files to an email message and save it as a draft. Now, you just have to click on the Drafts folder (tag) and your files are ready for download. Simple.

Strip Text Formatting

It’s pretty common to copy and paste text from PDF files, Word documents, and Internet browsers all into a single email message. Instead of having to deal with odd-sized fonts and wild formatting, you could copy and paste it all into a text editor first and then into Gmail, but that’s an extra, unnecessary step.

Selecting plain-text mode in Gmail

Instead, paste everything into your new Gmail message and then click the menu in the bottom right corner of the Compose window. Here, select Plain text mode. This will strip your message of all formatting.

Click this item again to go back to normal mode so you can bold and highlight items. All the formatting that was there will still be stripped out.

Restore Contacts List

If you’re pruning your Google Contacts list and make a terrible mistake, it’s actually very easy to step back in time and restore your contacts.

Restore Contacts option in Gmail Contacts drop-down menu

Click the Gmail menu in the upper left corner and select Contacts.

Next, click the More button. If you’ve made a recent change you should see Restore contacts in the menu. Click this option and you’ll get this menu:

Gmail Restore Contacts window

Choose how far back you want to restore to and you’ll be back to normal in no time.

Working With Images

The ability to attach images to Gmail messages has become more useful than ever before. There are a few ways to attach an image in Gmail, some of which are so easy you probably overlooked them.

  • Drag and Drop: With a Compose window open, you can drag and drop an image into the window to add it. This is great if you have a folder open or if the file is on your desktop.
  • Copy/Paste: If you would rather not have to save the image from its source first, you can simply copy/paste the image just as you would a chunk of text. Right-click on an image in a Word document or website and select Copy. Next, open a new Compose window in Gmail, right-click and select Paste.
  • Gmail Insert Images box

  • Insert Photo (see above image): Hover over the + icon at the bottom of a Compose window and you should see some new icons appear. Click on the Image icon and your Google photos should appear. You can click through the tabs at the top to see Google albums, upload your own image, or use a Web address. Best of all, you can choose to attach the image as an attachment or inline so it shows when read.

View Multiple Inboxes

This is actually a Google Labs feature, but it’s basically included in Gmail. You can have Gmail display multiple inboxes on one browser window. This way you can see not only your main inbox but also other emails for other accounts or labels.

All you have to do to enable this is click on the gear icon in the upper right corner and select Settings. Next, click on the Labs tab and scroll down until you find Multiple Inboxes.

Multiple Inboxes option in Google Labs

Click the Enable radio button and then Save Changes.

Once this is turned on you will get three default inboxes:

  • Starred messages
  • Drafts
  • Standard Inbox

To change these you need to click the gear icon again, but you’ve probably noticed that it’s gone now. To save space for all these inboxes, Gmail hides the menu with Settings on the inbox page. Click on any other tag in the menu to the left and you’ll see the Settings menu again.

Here, click on the Multiple Inboxes tab again and change the settings as you wish.

Google Multiple Inboxes tab

Have a great Gmail or Google Contacts feature you think we need to know about? Leave it in the comments below or contact us via Twitter. We’re always looking for better ways to use these amazing free services.

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