Gmail has come a long way. It’s not perfect and occasionally prompts ripples of outrage across its user base. But let’s be honest: with Gmail you get plenty for nothing.
As a web app, Gmail is a constant work in progress, but the amount of under-the-hood power is pretty staggering. Sure, there are plenty of browser add-ons and extensions that can enhance Gmail specifically, far beyond its original parameters. However, not every bit of power-user tech in Gmail requires special accessories. Plenty is possible via the main interface—or at your fingertips on the keyboard—without ever making a change to settings or installing something extra.
Mastering even a few of them will help you take full advantage of what Gmail has to offer beyond the basics of sending and receiving messages. Let’s get started.
Get Paid (or Send Money)
Google Pay Send (formerly Google Wallet) is built into Gmail. Click the dollar sign icon at the bottom of a message and you have the option to send money. Or select Request Money to tell someone to pay up.
You and the recipient will need a Google Pay Send account with banking info attached; the Google Pay Send setting for “Send money using Gmail” must also be enabled. The max is $9,999 whether sending or receiving.
Shortcut Cheat Sheet
Gmail is chock full of keyboard shortcuts for just about everything you can do. Check out the Minimalistic Gmail Cheat Sheet from Visual.ly for an info-graphically perfect representation. Or hit Shift+? while in Gmail to get a pop-up list. To switch things up, go to the gear icon () > Settings > Keyboard Shortcuts and turn them on to personalize the keys used. You can’t customize if you’re using G Suite.
Use Multiple Gmail Accounts
If you’re a Gmail super fan and have multiple accounts, there’s no need to sign in and out constantly. On the desktop (using Chrome, Firefox, Edge), you can sign into multiple accounts at once. Each can occupy a tab and stay signed in. Click on your account avatar on the top-right and select Add Account. Then, to switch between accounts, click your avatar again, and click the desired account; no password entry required. The process is similar on mobile.
Add Other Accounts to Gmail With Gmailify
Do you love the Gmail interface, but don’t want to give up your Yahoo, iCloud, or Outlook email address? Not a problem. Google lets you add third-party email accounts to the Gmail mobile app, which brings Google features like spam filtering and a tabbed inbox to those accounts. You need to have at least one Gmail account first for it to work. To set it up on mobile, click your avatar in the Gmail app and select Add another account. Pick the type of account to add, and enter your credentials. You can then access one inbox at a time, or see all your email in one unified inbox on your phone or tablet. Go back to the avatar and select Manage accounts on this device to deactivate or delete an account later.
On the desktop, select the gear icon () > Settings > Accounts and Import > Check mail from other accounts > Add a mail account. In the pop-up window, type in the email address you want to link, click Next, and select Link account with Gmail (Gmailify).
Access Gmail Via Yahoo Mail or Outlook.com
On the flip side, you can also get your Gmail messages on Yahoo. In the newest version of Yahoo Mail, click the settings icon () > More Settings > Mailboxes > Add Mailbox > Google. You can also add access to Outlook.com or AOL mail here, too. Likewise, if you’re an enthusiastic Outlook.com user, go to the gear icon () > View all Outlook Settings > Mail > Sync email. You can connect up to 20 email accounts, either Gmail or IMAP.
Check Which Apps Have Access to Gmail
According to reports last year, some app developers may look through your Gmail messages as they build new features. So you may want to occasionally check which apps have access to your accounts. Go to myaccount.google.com > Security. Under “Apps with account access,” click manage third-party access to disconnect any apps you don’t need.
Send From a Different Email Address
You may have many Gmail-based accounts, or multiple addresses on the same account. You can set all those addresses up in your primary Gmail, and make it look like you’re sending from a completely different account, either all the time or on a per-message basis. Go to Settings > Accounts and Import > Send Mail As. Add multiple email addresses. This is great if you send a lot of messages on one account, but want replies to go into another.
Move Messages to Different Accounts
While you can sign into multiple Gmail accounts at once on the desktop and mobile, only the built-in iOS Mail app lets you move a message received on one Gmail account to another Gmail account—or any email that uses iMAP. This is very handy when you get business emails sent to your personal address, or vice versa. To make the move, open any inbox (or the combined inbox of all accounts). If you’re in a message, tap the folder icon (); If you’re looking at the list, tap Edit, check the box next to the message(s) you want moved, and tap Move. Click Accounts at the top to select the account where you want the message to go, then pick the label/folder within that account to move it to. It’s instantaneous. Why no other email app supports this amazing option is beyond me.