Daniel Futerman // Creative in Motion
Daniel Futerman // Creative in Motion

I work from my home office, set my own hours and do business with amazing clients worldwide. Love my job. I help businesses increase revenue & freelancers grow their business. Top rated motion graphics freelancer on Upwork.

15 Hidden Gmail Tips & Tricks

Daniel FutermanDaniel Futerman
This is part of the 21 Google tips & tricks Series. Check out the other posts!

Basic to Advanced Gmail tips and tricks you didn’t even know existed: keyboard shortcuts, undo sends, extra stars, account security, advanced filters, free space, custom shortcuts, labs and much more. Let’s dive in!

[ninja-inline id=4471]

Gmail Tips, section 1: Settings


(1) Keyboard shortcuts in Gmail

To boost productivity and cut time in your email workflow, start using Gmail shortcuts.

To view all available keyboard shortcuts in Gmail click the question mark key ‘?’. (make sure keyboard shortcuts are ON in Gear » Settings » General tab).

Gmail Shortcuts Tips

(2) Setting filters & labels in Gmail

Organize your emails by labels and apply filters to mark automatically (or move) incoming emails to specific labels (work, family, bills, Social).

How to create new filters in Gmail?

Option 1: Select a specific email and click on the ‘More’ tab. Next select ‘Create Filter’ and apply the actions you want the filter to perform.

Option 2: Use the advanced search panel (small arrow in the search box) and define specific filters such as: “From, To, Has attachments, Has words, Size”.

Next, click on “Create filter with this search” and apply a specific action such as: “skip the inbox, mark as read, delete it, apply the label” and more.

How to create filters in Gmail

(3) Send & Archive emails

To stay productive at work, I always aim for inbox zero. To do so, enable the send & archive button to archive emails after sending them.

What is send and archive in Gmail

(4) Add new star icons to your message

You can add up to 12-star types in Gmail. These are great for quickly marking emails with ‘importance level’ (reply, urgent and so on).

How to add new start icons in Gmail

(5) Add a signature in Gmail

Signatures are particularly important for marketing and branding. Each email you send is a self-marketing opportunity, so be sure to add a signature with your logo / website or social links / thank you note and so on.

To add a signature in Gmail, navigate to the settings tab and then to the Signature field, set it to On and add your signature.

If you have multiple emails set up with aliases, you’ll have the option to create a unique signature for each email address you use.

Here’s how I set-up my own signature:

How to create signature in Gmail

(6) Gmail Vacation Responder

Out on vacation and won’t be able to respond to emails during this time? No worries.

Set an automatic email responder with a custom “out of the office” message and select the dates you’ll be away.

If you do not want this email sent to strangers who might email you during this time, be sure to mark “only send a response to people in my contacts”.

How to set up vacation responder in Gmail.

This post is part of the 21 Google tips & tricks Series.

Gmail Tips, section 2: Inbox Settings Tips

(7) Unread first, then all the rest. I love this one.

I configured my Gmail inbox to display unread emails first, which allows me to differentiate with a quick glance between read and unread emails.

To set your inbox to show all unread emails first, navigate to the Inbox settings tab and mark the “Unread items in the first section” checkbox.

Be sure to read my full review of Inbox by Gmail if you like staying in control of your email.

How to display unread emails first in Gmail

Gmail Tips, Section 3: Image Tricks

(8) Adding images to Gmail messages

» Drag & Drop images into message body to insert as an inlined image.
» Copy / Paste images into a message to add as inline images.
» Drag images to the bottom message bar to add as attachments.

Drag and drop images directly into gmail message

Gmail Tips, Section 4: Search Tricks

Gmail’s provides 15GB of free Google Drive storage, and therefore you probably won’t ever need to delete any emails.

Gmail and Google Drive storage

However, if you still want to clean up your inbox, here’s how:

(9) Free up space in Gmail

Search for and delete emails with large attachments by searching for “size:30mb”. You can also do this by creating a filter as seen in tip #2.

(10) Find old emails in Gmail

Search for emails older than ‘X’ Years, Months or Days by typing “older_than:5y”, 5m, 5d.

Older than 1 year emails

(11) Find specific file types in Gmail

Search for specific file attachments (jpeg, pdf, gif..) by typing “filename:jpg” / “filename:pdf” and so on.

(12) Secure your Gmail account

Check for suspicious account activity by scrolling to the bottom of the page and viewing the last account activity link.

What is Currently being used in 1 other location

Learn how to secure you Google account:

Keep your Google account secure


Gmail Tricks, Section 5: Best Gmail Labs Features

(13) Undo send in Gmail!

Sometimes you hit the send button and only then realize you’ve made a terrible mistake.

Enable the Undo Send feature in the *labs and then set the undo time in the general settings tab (up to 30 seconds).

How to undo sent emails in Gmail

* The Undo Sends feature has graduated from the labs in June 2015. You’ll now be able to find it under the general settings tab.

(14) Mark as read button in Gmail

Gmail allows you to mark emails as read in several ways, but sometimes you wish the ‘Mark as read’ button would just show up in the top bar.

Head over to labs and search for “Mark as Read Button” to add that functionality to your Gmail account.

Mark as read gmail labs feature

(15) Custom Gmail keyboard shortcuts

If you are unhappy with the default keyboard shortcuts, you can set your own.

First enable the feature in the Labs, and then define the shortcuts in the general tab.

Custom keyboard shortcuts in Gmail

This is part of the 21 Google tips & tricks Series. Check out the other posts!

More Google tips you might like:

8 Hidden Google Translate Features

How to reach inbox zero with Inbox by Gmail

18 Powerful Google Chrome & Google Seach Tricks

Daniel Futerman // Creative in Motion. I work from my home office, set my own hours and do business with amazing clients worldwide. Love my job. I strive to help creatives like yourself reach the next milestone of their freelance career.

Comments 4
Hey There!
Want to grow your
freelance business?
Get Actionable Productivity, Marketing & Growth Tips - Every Other Wednesday.
Yes, I want to grow my business.
No Thanks!

Get my latest posts straight to your inbox!


Get pro marketing, productivity & growth strategies delivered straight to your inbox!