Composing an Email
Composing and sending an email through Gmail is relatively straightforward.
Click on the COMPOSE button in the top left corner. A window will open up with a new message. You’re able to minimize the window, full screen, and close the window.
In the To row, type in the email address of the person you’re sending to. If you’ve sent emails or messages to somebody before, their email address will pop up once you start typing.
Beside the To address, you’re able to Carbon copy (Cc), and Blind Carbon Copy (Bcc) send the email as well.
If you’re sending a carbon copy to somebody, type their name in the Cc column.
If you’re sending a copy to somebody and don’t want anybody to see the mailing list receiving the email, type their email addresses in the Bcc column.
Before an email is sent out, make sure to type a headline in the Subject area.
Once you’ve written your message out, you’re also able to format your text. Click the A text beside the Send button to change your text to different fonts, sizes, and paragraph styles.
If you want to send an attachment, like a document, photo, video, or another file, click the paperclip in the bottom menu. A pop-up window will appear, asking you to find the file on your computer, and it’ll upload to your email.
Keep in mind that the maximum file size for attaching files is 25 MB that you can send through Gmail. If you want to send a bigger file, use Google Drive.
If you have bigger files to send, upload them to your Google Drive, and then in the email composition, click on the “Insert files using Drive” button. Navigate to the file on your Drive, and it will be sent as a link to that file.
Your Google account may prompt you to ask to change your sharing permissions before sending the file. This is to make sure that anyone who is sent the link can open the file. Once you hit Send, a window will pop up, saying, “This Drive file isn’t shared with the recipients.”
In this prompt, it’ll allow you to change the sharing settings on the file. Change it to Anyone with the link can view, or Anyone with the link can edit if you want the recipient to have editing capabilities. Hit Share & send to finally send out your email.
Attaching a Photo
To attach a photo into the body of the email, the Insert photo option will allow you to upload a photo from your computer, your Drive, or a web URL. Once it uploads into the email, you can adjust the size and crop it as needed.
If you want to insert a link, hit the Insert link button (also Ctrl+K) onto the highlighted text. For example, if you have an article title or website you want to refer to, reference the title or something like “click here,” highlight the text, and hit Insert link or Ctrl+K. A prompt will appear, asking you to link a web address or email address. Here you can insert the address you want the text to link to.
In the More options dropdown menu on the bottom right of the email, several options can help enhance the quality of your email.
Default to full-screen – adjust the setting of the email composition box to always default to full-screen mode. Every time you compose an email, it will pop up as a full-screen window.
Label – label your email with certain tags. This can help to organize your emails.
Plain text mode – this is helpful if you’re sending this email and want it to be accessible to all devices. Occasionally, mobile devices or other email applications may skew the formatting of your email, and it won’t look the same as you see it on your computer. Switching to plain text mode changes the text to unformatted plain text and removes any image formatting.
Print – print your email as a single page.
Check spelling – this is a great spell check tool if you’ve written a larger email and need to double-check for any spelling or grammar errors.
If you’ve started an email and need to finish sending it later, simply close the email pop-up window. Gmail will save it as an email Draft, which can be found in the left menu of the Gmail page.
To access your email, find it in your Drafts, and you can easily pick it back up again.
Read and Unread Emails
New emails that you haven’t opened will show up in your Gmail Inbox highlighted white, while read emails that you’ve opened show up highlighted grey.
If you want to mark an email as unread or read, right click the email and hit “mark as unread” or “mark as read” depending on your choice.
If you want to mark multiple emails as unread or read, click on the empty boxes on the far left side of the emails, and they will turn into checkmarks, selecting that email for you. Then, click on the More button and hit “mark as unread” or “mark as read.”
Add a Signature
If you want to add a signature to the end of your emails, click on Insert Signature (the pen icon) on the bottom of the email you’re composing and click on Manage signatures. This will take you to your settings where you can add a signature to the end of all your messages. Websites like NewOldStamp.com offer free signatures where you can have a professional signature with your photo, name, social media, and contact info.
To see more, check out our video on creating a professional signature.
The trash can be found on the left menu of Gmail. If you hover over to the menu and click More, you’ll find your trash bin with all of your deleted emails. Keep in mind that email trash is deleted after 30 days.
If you want to recover any emails you have deleted, simply drag and drop the email back into your Inbox.
Selecting multiple emails with the checkmark buttons are helpful if you want to delete multiple emails at a time. Select your emails and hit the Trash button to delete them.
If you want to delete the emails in your trash permanently, click the checkmark and hit the Delete Forever button.
Archiving allows you to get rid of an email from the Inbox but not delete it forever. It will still be saved into your Gmail if you want to keep it. Archiving an email will save the email to your All Mail label and remove them from your Inbox.
To archive an email, click on the checkmark on the emails you wish to checkmark and click the Archive button. Your email will be moved to the archive, and to access this email again, click on All Mail.
Marking as Important
A useful function in Gmail is marking emails as Important. To do this, simply click on the mark button on any email, and the mark will turn from white to yellow. All of your important emails will be organized in the Important folder on the left hand menu.
Add to Task
You also have the option of marking emails as Tasks, which can be useful if you want to get back to an email later, or the email has tasks that you’re required to do. Checkmark the email and click on Add to tasks. This will pop up a Tasks box in the bottom right window. The email will have multiple actions that you can take as well.
Starring an email is similar to marking it as important. Clicking on the star beside any email will assign it to the Starred category on the left menu.
Labels can be found on the left hand menu of Gmail. Emails can have multiple labels and can really help in organizing your emails.
Gmail has a lot of preset labels that you can use, and you can make your own if you have any specific labels you want to add. Labels will show up in the left hand menu to easily access your emails.
Some labels, like Social and Promotions, go in a separate tab in your Inbox.
To label an email, click on the checkmark in your Inbox or have the email opened up, and click on the label button to assign one or multiple labels to it. To get rid of the label, hit the X on the grey label.
You can color-code a label as well for added organization. Find the label category in the left hand menu, right-click, and choose a color from the Label color menu.
Once you’ve created a label, you can also label individual emails by just dragging and dropping the email into the label category. They’ll be moved into the label and stay in your Inbox.
Snooze an Email
If you have an unopened email that you want to remind yourself to look at later, hover over the email and hit the Snooze button (clock icon), and choose the date and time when you’d like Gmail to remind you to open the email.
Automatic Labels & Filters
If you get repeated emails from certain senders, you can save the hassle of labeling a new email each time it shows up by simply creating a filter.
Open the email you want to create the auto label for, and under the More option on the top bar, click ‘Filter messages like these.’
Here, you can discern what it is you need filtered. Gmail will automatically write in the email address who it’s from, but you can also filter it for who it’s addressed to, the subject line, and what it doesn’t have.
Once you’ve filled in any necessary info, click on Create filter with this search, and you can choose where the emails will go. You can choose to have the email skip the inbox and immediately archive it, mark it as important, or apply a label to it. Once you’re done, click create the filter.
So, if a message has those certain criteria, all incoming emails will have that filter applied to it. If you want all emails already in your inbox to have that filter applied to it, click the “Also apply filter” option before you finish creating the filter.
To access your filters, add new ones, delete, or edit them, they can be found in Settings under the Labels option.
This is a great trick to sort your default inbox view. If you hover your mouse over the Inbox option on the left menu, click on the dropdown arrow to select an Inbox type. Here, you can turn on options to sort emails you’ve marked as Important, Starred, or Priority to show up first on your inbox. The default view shows emails in chronological order.
Tabs are great for organizing your inbox and prioritizing what emails you want to see. Your Gmail is automatically set up to have the Primary, Social, and Promotions tabs open. To add or remove tabs, click on the + sign on the right tab, and you’ll be able to choose between five different tabs.
Labs can be found under the Settings tab under Labs. This is where Google tries out new features on Gmail that haven’t been applied to its entire system yet. These are experimental and can usually be great features for trying out new ways to view and organize your email.
For example, the Preview Pane is a great feature to enable if you want to see your emails as you click on them in your Inbox. It’s a similar email layout to Outlook. Once you’ve enabled the feature, click on the view options on the top right corner and click “vertical split” or “horizontal split” to create a new column on your email.
To add a personal touch to your inbox, themes are a great way to add your own visual style to your inbox. Navigate to Themes through the settings gear in the top right corner, and you’ll be able to access some premade pictures or upload your own photos. Save the theme, and it’ll always load whenever you open your Gmail. You’re also able to add vignettes, blur the image, or change the font in your inbox to white font on a black background.
Creating Email Groups
Groups are helpful for sending to multiple email addresses and people. This is useful if you’re in an organization, business, or classroom and need to continually send out emails to the same group of people.
You can see a full walkthrough on our video here.
To create a group, head to the Google apps launcher in the top right corner of the screen and navigate to Google Contacts or go to contacts.google.com. Create a label and add any email addresses you need included in the group.
When you’re composing your email, type in the name of the group in the To column, and it’ll send to all the contacts you’ve added in the group.
You can also access all the emails to and from each group in the main left hand menu.
If you’re composing an email that you want to keep confidential, there’s a tool on the bottom menu that allows you to turn on confidential mode. Enabling this makes the email confidential between you and the recipient and does not allow them to forward the email contents, copy and paste, download or print the email. You can set an expiration date for the confidentiality of this email as well or set a password for them to open the email.
Calendar, Keep & Tasks
On the right-hand bar, you’ll find a few add-on features that make accessing your Google Calendar and your tasks very simple.
Google Keep acts as a quick notes app if you want to take any short notes while you’re reading your emails.
You can add more features here by clicking on the Plus button under the icons and adding third-party apps like Asana or Smartsheet.
Request Read Receipt
If you want to know if your recipient has read the email you’ve sent, Gmail has this option built into it. Before you’ve sent out your email, click on the dropdown menu of the email and check off Request read receipt. Once the recipient has opened the email, you’ll be notified with an email receipt. (This may not be available if your Gmail is associated with a Gmail for business or school.
If you open an email and need it translated to a different language, Google may automatically suggest it for you based on your default language. You can also navigate to the dropdown menu of the email and click Translate and choose what language to translate it to.