Emails… we deal with them every day. Chances are you spend a lot of time reviewing your email and you’re probably using a free email service. Nowadays, Gmail is considered to be the most widely used – having gained an edge over competitors Outlook.com (previously known as Hotmail) and Yahoo Mail in the last couple of years.


Gmail has a great, simple interface, but not all users know that it has quite a few capabilities lurking beneath its minimalist façade. You can make your Gmail experience easier and more efficient – check out some of Gmail’s hidden features that you can start using to increase your productivity today:

Undo sending emails
Click the Gear Icon on the upper right corner > Click Settings > click the Labs tab and toggle the undo send feature which will ask you for a timeframe in which you are allowed to undo your sent email.

Manage your tasks in Gmail
You can add specific emails to your task list, which you can access by selecting that particular email, then clicking on the More button just under the search bar and clicking Add to tasks.

Use Keywords in your Gmail Search String
Before you start searching, type From: and then input the specific sender
to search all messages from that person. Type To: and then the specific recipient to view all emails sent to that person.

More tips:

  • To see starred and unread emails type in Is:starred or Is:unread.
  • To be able to find emails located even in your trash or spam folder, type in In:anywhere.
  • To view and manage all emails with attachment just type the keyword Has:attachment to your search string.

These are only some of the things you can do to maximize your Gmail account today. Take the time to explore the features and try out the tips we just covered to make the most out of your email. Got tips of your own? Share ’em in the comments section below!

29 Comments
  1. I have had a gmail account for a few years now and I have to say I had NO clue you could undo your emails! What a cool feature I am widely impressed by this! I didn’t know a few other things you mentioned so thanks for bringing these small but helpful things to my attention!

    • Yeah, me too! I always thought sending emails was final, I’ve ran into many problems due to sending emails incorrectly, or without attachments etc.

      Will definitely be using this tip from now on 🙂

    • Same here! I’ve always thought that reading and sending emails was a done deal and just type and click to send. Then, click to view.

      However, I’m surprised at how many extra (and mostly unknown) features that Google has added. Props to them and to David for finding these out and informing us of these different types of features.

    • I knew it was possible to unsend webmail but I have never really looked into it through Gmail. I’ve honestly never had a reason to do so before. People should really be double checking what they send out before they press the send button anyway.

  2. Wow, I’ve had a gmail account for all these years and I only know how use the keyword search function in it.
    At the same time that it’s fascinating that I only know that out of these, it’s also pretty cool that these functions exist.. Google’s really though of much.
    Thanks David for helping out, this was very informative and I’ll be using some of these for a while now.

  3. You know, for as much as Gmail has become prevalent in popularity, I still prefer Outlook (Hotmail) over it, though I use email services from the two of them. I’ve used Outlook for much of my youth and grew an attachment to it that Gmail just can’t seem to replicate. And not only that but I believe that Outlook is laid out much more smoother and user-friendly, having the right colors that appeal to me. But aside from that, these are some neat, hidden features I had no clue about. I’ll start looking more into them when using my Gmail account.

    • There are still some advantages of Hotmail over gmail. There are certain sites which claim not to allow webmail to sign up for but what they really mean is they don’t allow G-Mail. It used to be the other way in that a lot of sites allowed gmail but didn’t allow hotmail. I can think of a few shops that I have also had trouble accessing gmail accounts through that had no trouble with hotmail accounts.

  4. Pretty useful tips for GMail.

    GMail indeed has evolved into a one stop solution for all your communication needs. It is just not an email service anymore, you can have the track of your chats, store files and do various other activities.
    It is a great service to make use of and tips like these, help a more efficient use of GMail.
    Thanks for the share!

  5. All of these features are new to me but I will rarely use any of them. But who knows maybe I will use them one day when I make a business email. I will take note of these tasks because they can make gmail tasks faster to do. I don’t see why google would hide them like that, maybe they should make a tutorial so we can see how to use all of these useful features.

  6. Nice info, didn’t know this, I thought Gmail was like the rest. The undo sent email feature is really useful, especially when you send an email to the wrong person, golden.

  7. Great tips! I have a gmail account which I use for some specific things and I had no idea about most of these things. The search tools are particularly useful as it will save me from having to wade through so many emails when I need to find something. I wish I had gmail for my primary email, but unfortunately it’s too difficult to change emails so I am still using yahoo for personal use.

  8. AAaaand the most useful of all tips has to be “? shows all shortcuts”..!

    By hitting this on your keyboard, GMail displays a transparent overlay with most of its shortcuts, allowing you to become a keyboard ninja in no time. Whenever you don’t remember how to do something with a key combo, just hit “?”.

    And there’s a great way to send eMails in a blink, by using Launchy. It’s a program launcher (“easy way to find and run the progs installed in your PC”) you can customize and extend with plugins. Among all of its functions, you can set up your GMail account so that when you hit “Alt + space” whenever you are, and Launchy’s window is displayed, you can type “GMail (TAB) (Enter users name) (Enter message to user) (Hit Enter on your keyboard)” and your mail will fly to your contact without even thinking it twice 🙂

  9. Hold the presses. You can unsend email on gmail now?! How long as this been a thing? My life just upgraded, wow. I thankfully knew about the other features.

  10. I’ve always liked Gmail because of the features it’s added over the years, along with the Labs feature, where you can try experimental features for free. It’s also pretty cool on how Gmail learns what emails would be important to you, so you can just see the important ones first without having to sort through all the unimportant ones. But honestly, I love the tabs the most. They keep all the promotional stuff in one tab, which is nice because I usually don’t want my phone buzzing for things like Amazon local deals.

  11. Gmail is like using a library catalog system. Find one and make certain you include footnote (bibliography) that people can validate.

    E-mails are not collaboration tools yet for me. It’s not easy to search and manage tasks using the tasks option, but with keywords it’s a whole lot easier. A lot of the customization features is quite advanced, but the funny thing is I still find not spam in the spam box, even after I set the filter.

  12. Like many of the other commentators on here, I’ve clearly been under-utilizing Gmail. Undoing emails is a very big one for me, and I need to try out a few of these.

    One tip that I fell upon by accident, and Googled to find out more about it, was the ability to have two email addresses linked to the same account.

  13. Wow, I probably only knew like 2 of these, some really useful tips here. Undoing emails…my life will forever be changed. I switched to gmail last year, and seems like most people are either making the switch or sites require it for creating an account compared to other email services so this video was good to see.

  14. Thinking about it, I realize that Gmail really has taken over the emailing world. Kind of like how Apple is trying to take over the electronic world, except I wouldn’t label Gmail as a monopoly. However, I do still frequently use my Yahoo! account as well, but that may be more of a nostalgia sort of thing.

    • Gmail has definitely become the predominate webmail service on the internet. Because of the google integration of all accounts being tied together if you want to use any of their services they will give you access to all their others. This means that even if you don’t want to use Gmail and only want to use Youtube, that youtube account also comes with gmail.

  15. You can also switch the display setting so that the important emails (the emails that you or the system marks as important) are separated from all of the other emails. This often serves as a wonderful reminder for me to reply to crucial emails such as ones from my boss, etc. Additionally, you can toggle the density of emails on each page, if you don’t enjoy scrolling a lot to get to the last email.

  16. I find the “In:anywhere” tip the most useful. I have loads of messages ending up in the spam folder which are related to forum registrations and others. This allows me to avoid reading the whole lot to find a message a specific forum or community might have sent in the last days.

    Very useful indeed.

  17. Great tips all around. I have five different gmail accounts that I use actively, mostly for work and online transactions. These shortcuts definitely add to the functionality of my gmail. Sometimes you just can’t be bothered to look for a specific button or configure the settings in the menu. These shortcuts offer us a decent alternative to that.

  18. Thank you. I have been using Gmail for years and had no idea that there were so many capabilities. I am especially pleased to find I can recall emails sent in haste! I am forever having to send follow ups! I spent a while helping my Father with his Outlood Express account a while back and it confirmed to me that Gmail is the better of the two.

    I am also pleased to know there is a way of finding all attachments. That is going to come in very handy. I keep sending them to myself to store family history and then forgetting the email title!

  19. I don’t use Gmail a lot yet, but I’m starting to when I have to communicate with people that I’m in a contract with. I’ll bookmark this page and reference it every now and then.

  20. Thanks lot, I had no idea we could undo sending our emails! That is completely and absolutely awesome! I haven’t heard of any other mail service capable to offer this, thanks a lot, I’m sure this will be very handy for me in the future. A very useful post, thanks a lot!

  21. This will make me a gmail whiz kid! I’d like to share some tips too!
    Google for RAPPORTIVE for GMAIL. Install it. Now if the person you’re emailing is online in any social network, you’ll know. And you can put notes about the person in gmail the next time you talk.
    Cool!

  22. Very interesting indeed. I don’t think iv’e ever come across these shortcuts. It might be helpful though, I don’t know if it does support a little bit of what I would call “electronic laziness” but it might be really helpful for those that are not so techy if that makes sense. Great information in the article.

  23. It never occurred to me to even look for an undo feature. I’m getting some AOL days nostalgia now. The others I tripped over at one point or another. It’s good to seem them documented here.

  24. This is awesome, the undo action alone could be the best reason for me to drop outlook, and start using Gmail instead 🙂 That is for sure! There have been so many times I’ve wanted to undo sending an e-mail right after having sent it >_< I might really consider switching to Gmail 🙂 That undo action could be a real life saver!

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