13 Gmail Hacks You Never Knew Existed

by Jillian Finley

Having a vice-like grip on your inbox features promises to maximise efficiency and streamline your day to day routine. We’ve rounded up our favourite hacks and apps to level up your email game and have you sorted to the Nth degree. Keep scrolling to uncover these timesaving shortcuts and expert moves. 

Alias-Based Filters

If you use dots in your email address (i.e. john.smith@gmail.com) spoiler alert: the dots don’t matter. Superfluous punctuation can, however, provide a host of aliases to keep your mail filtered. Gmail allows you to set up aliases by adding dots or plus signs to your existing username. If you’re signing up for a newsletter and want the correspondence to filter separately from your personal inbox, add "+" a keyword or a period (i.e. johnsmith+work@gmai.com.) Once you’ve settled upon a few aliases, set up your filter of choice via your settings. Redirect messages addressed to a particular alias or set them to automatically label. Send: john.smith@gmail.com to “Personal”  and johnsmith+work@gmail.com to “Business.”

Canned Responses

Have a go-to response you use often? Save yourself the effort and set it up as a canned response. Click the gear icon in the upper right corner. Go to “Labs,” and scroll down to “Canned Responses,” click “Enable.” When you start a new message, click the arrow in the lower right of the compose new message window to view the "Canned Responses" menu. Select “New canned response” and save your message. Once you’ve created the canned response, its easy accessible for all future inquiries. 

Undo Send

Ever accidentally hit send mid-composition? This Google Labs setting allows you to recall emails within a few seconds after sending. To enable there are two steps. First,click the gear icon in the upper right corner of Gmail. Then click to “Labs.” Locate “Undo Send,” select “Enable” and “Save changes.” Next, go to “General,” again locate “Undo Send” and toggle the time limit for your cancellation period. Save your changes. 

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

Check out the full list of existing shortcuts here, a few of which you will need to manually enable in settings. To create your own unique shortcuts, go to “Labs,” scroll down to “Custom keyboard shortcuts,” and select “Enable.” Then head back to “Settings” and select the “Custom keyboard shortcuts” map. From there come up with your own distinctive shortcuts for everything to composing a new message to reporting spam or replying in a new window.  

Link Tasks to Emails

Whenever you get an Email that requires an action, select the “More” button from the menu in reading view. From the drop-down list select “Add to Tasks.” A Google Task to do list will pop up at the bottom of your screen. Edit the to-do list and set deadlines to your heart’s content. 

Verify Authenticate Senders

If you shop via Ebay or PayPal, prevent against spam or identity theft by enabling the authentication icon for verified senders. Go to “Labs” and enable “Authentication icon for verified senders.” Gmail will place a key icon next to a sender’s name, signalling the email you are receiving is legitimate.

Plain Text Formatting 

When you copy and paste text into an email, Gmail keeps the original formatting in size, font, colour, links, etc. With a single click, you can undo all that. Remove formatting and convert the message to plain text by clicking the plain text logo in the right corner of the formatting options menu. 


Zapier is a web-automation service that that automates emails to create labels, tasks, etc. It works by setting up a series of triggers and actions. For example, you might set up a text message alert (action) for when you receive a new email (trigger). Sync to every web app you use and automate tedious tasks. Free up your mind and time for a bigger better deal. 


Boomerang is an app that schedules outgoing emails. If you know you’ll be away from your desktop or simply get carried away, this easy-to-use feature will ensure you never miss a beat. 


Rapportive assembles anything you need to know about your contacts and makes it readily accessible via your inbox. Basically it means you’ll never have to Google anyone ever again. You’ll be able to seamlessly connect with anyone in your LinkedIn network directly from your Gmail account. Perfect for networking. 


FollowUp app alerts you when someone has opened your Email and reminds you to follow up. It’s perfect for staying current on everything from work emails to RSVPs.


GrexIt app allows you to share Gmail labels with other Gmail users. Build workflows for project management, collaborate on tasks and team projects all from your inbox. 


HopEmail turns group emails into chat conversations, allowing you to connect in real-time with friends, family or coworkers. The app uses cloud service to access group conversations from any location. Share videos, live chat, and collaborate on projects instantly.  


Triage is an easy-to-use interface Email application that arranges your mail into a stack of cards. By flicking up you can archive or delete, flicking down saves them for later viewing. To reply or forward takes a single tap. Achieving Inbox Zero on the go has never been so easy.  

Have a favourite app or hack? Tell us in the comments below. 

Opening Image: Upwork

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