Top Gmail Features You’ll Kick Yourself for Not Knowing best practices

Updated Jun 13th, 2022 by   Nicolas Zenker

Gmail is more helpful than you realize. Whether you’re using Gmail for work or are just a personal Gmail user, there are a few tools and tricks you should know. Want to learn how to print Gmail contact lists or create a Gmail to-do list with ease? Look no further! Here’s our recommended list of top Gmail features to save you time and make your life easier!

Using Gmail’s Safe Sender List

A safe sender list is a term used to describe a list of email addresses you want to keep receiving messages from without any impediment. That is, you do not want your spam folder to catch these emails. Instead, you want them to land in your inbox every time. That’s important because it’s easy for Gmail to automatically create snags in receiving emails from specific senders if you don’t consistently open them.

You can add an email to the safe sender list in Gmail by following these steps. Keep in mind Gmail doesn’t have a specific safe sender list, but there are ways to make it work.

  • Sign in to your Gmail account.
  • Add the address you want to protect to your contacts. 
  • When you receive an email from the address, mark it as “not spam” if it lands in the spam folder 
  • Create a filter for the email by going to the Settings (top right corner) and clicking on “Filters,” and then “create a new filter.” There, enter the email address that you want to add to the safe sender list. Then, click on “create filter with this search” and select “never send to spam.” The final step is to click the “create filter” button to set it.

This way, you will not miss an email sent from an important client or fun group you’re a member of that sends a lot of emails.

Setting Up a Gmail Distribution List

Whether you have a large group to manage or just need an easy way to send content to people, a distribution list can be a helpful tool. Creating a distribution list in Gmail will help make your life a bit easier. 

In Google, you can create a distribution list using the Labels feature. Once you create this list, you no longer have to worry about inputting each person’s email address every time you reach out to the same group. This typically works for most needs of small- to medium-sized businesses. There’s a cap at 500 addresses and a standard message-size limit of 25MB. Also, note that Gmail caps these at 150 emails a day. 

To use this feature, go to “Settings” and then “Labels.” There, you can click on “Create a Label,” which will open up a small box. In that box, create the label with the name of the group, such as “production team” or whatever works for your needs. Click on “OK,” which will create a new group under the Labels header. Then, you’ll need to add the email addresses of everyone you wish to put in this group. If the person isn’t in your contacts yet, you can also add them to it at this point.

Once the list is in place, you can begin sending emails. Just click on the label title you created, write the email, and send it. 

Accessing Your Contact List

How do I find my contact list in Gmail? This can be helpful when you need to pull up a contact right away, but you can’t seem to find them in your sea of emails. Your contact list should be updated on a routine basis. That way, you can easily and quickly find information about any of your business contacts, partners, networking opportunities, and old clients you want to connect with again.

You can locate your contacts rather easily. Sign in to your Gmail account. Then, at the top right of the screen, click the Google Apps icon, which looks like nine dots in a cube shape. From there, click on the Contacts icon. This displays all of your current contacts. 

From here, you can do several things, including clicking on the “Create contact” button to add a new contact. Fill in as much information as you have, including the name and email address. You can also add notes to the contact to help you remember the person or keep a history of your interactions. 

How to delete contacts from your Gmail contact list

If you want to delete a contact from your Gmail contacts list, go into the Contacts list app. Find the address of the person you want to remove. Then, look to the right of that listing to find three dots and click on the icon. You’ll see the option to delete the contact. You can also hide contacts, which may be helpful if you do not want to include that contact in a listing or when you print off a list of contacts. This makes it easy to keep your contact list up to date.

How to print your Gmail contact list

Another feature you may find useful is printing your Gmail contact list. For example, if you want to call all of your contacts to update them on a business venture or a special offer, a hard copy of the list gives you a way to make notes and check off those you call without having to have your computer open.

To print all of your contacts in Gmail, log in and go to the “Contacts” icon. This brings up a full list of your contacts. From there, locate the “Print” option along the left side of the screen below all of your labels. When you click on “Print,” you’ll have the option to print all of your contacts.

You can also use the select contacts feature here. This enables you to choose which contacts from your list you wish to print. That’s great when you only want to print the contact list for a special group or a few specific people.

Creating a Gmail Group Email List

If you want to email a group of people for a specific purpose and those individuals are a part of your email contacts already, the process of creating a Gmail group email list is rather easy.

Here’s how to create a Gmail group email list in just a few steps:

  • Log into your Gmail account and go to the box on the right top of the screen with the nine dots.
  • Click on “Contacts” from that list.
  • Here, select the contacts you wish to add to the list from your full list of contacts. Just click on the empty box located to the left of the contact’s name to add them to your list. In some versions of Gmail, you’ll need to hover over the person’s name or initials to see this box. Continue down the list to include each person. 
  • Then, click the “Labels” icon. It looks like a box with an arrow pointing to the right. Hover over this to see “Manage Labels” and click on it.
  • Click “Create Label” from the list that is shown.
  • Create a name for your mailing list. Then, click the “Save” icon.

When you go back to your main Gmail inbox, you’ll now see the new label you’ve created. You can click on it and create an email to send to everyone within that mailing group.

When you want to send a message, click on the “Compose” button in Gmail. Then, within that email, click the “BCC” icon in the upper right corner of the message. This will expand the “To” field in the email. Add the name of your mailing list to this field. That way, it protects the privacy of all people on your email list while allowing you to send them emails. Compose your email and then send it on its way.

Creating a Gmail To-do List

How many projects do you need to complete today? For most people, it can be overwhelming to know just how many tasks you need to get done on any given day. However, it feels good to be able to check something off your list. You can do that within Gmail. 

A Gmail to-do list is very efficient, and it’s also easy to create. You can use this feature right inside your Gmail application. Keep in mind you can sync it to your calendar or other tasks, too. 

From the Gmail screen, you’ll notice a small arrow located at the bottom right of your screen. Click on that arrow, and a side panel opens up. Within this side panel (which runs vertically along your emails) is a blue circle with a checkmark inside of it. When you click on this, it opens up the task window. 

At the top of this is the “My Tasks” link. When you click on it, it gives you several options. Look to the bottom of the list to find “Create new list.” When you click on this, you can then add a title and a list of tasks under it. You can create new to-do lists for various tasks. For example, you may want to break this down by project or create a to-do list for each day, week, or month. Create as many as you would like.

Once you create the list and add all of the tasks to it, you can choose to have it display in this side panel or be hidden. You can pop the panel open when you want to see the list again. When you’re ready to complete a task, just click on the task, and a circle shows up. You can check that circle, and the item is marked as done. 

Taking Emails off of a Spam List

Let’s say you’re going through your spam emails and find a few key emails that you would like to go to your inbox rather than your spam. This can happen from time to time as Gmail’s filters automatically determine that some emails don’t seem important. That may be because you haven’t opened emails from that sender before, or the language within them seems promotional.

Regardless of the reason, if emails you want are ending up in your spam folder, you’ll want to train Gmail to send you the correct ones.

When an email comes in and lands in your spam folder inappropriately, do not delete it. Instead, click on the small box located to the left of the email to select it. Then, navigate to the top of the email box. You will see the option to click “Not spam.” This moves the email to your inbox. It also helps Gmail recognize that this is no longer a spam message. 

What if one of your contacts starts sending you spam messages? This could be an indication of a hacker. If this happens, do not respond to the email. Instead, report it using the spam alert feature. Click “Message looks suspicious” from the options at the top of the email list. 

When you do this, it sends Gmail a message to take a closer look at that email. Keep reporting any emails like this that you receive. Eventually, Gmail will contact the email account holder to find out if they are sending the emails or determine if the account was hacked. 

Don’t just delete your spam either. Any time any spam message comes through, be sure to market it as “Spam” before you delete it. The system learns that you do not want to see these messages and starts to automatically put them into spam for you.

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