Secret Gmail Tips

Get more from your Gmail by taking advantage of some of these insider secrets!

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Buried in email? Looking for creative ways to organize and sort your emails?

Come along as we take a quick look at some of my favorite email apps and email organization tools. You may need this if you have over fifty emails sitting in your inbox.

Latest News About Gmail

Regular Gmail

  • Confidential Mode Available
  • Send and Request Money

G Suite for Education

Adjust Your Gmail Settings, Themes, and More

Create Your Own Email Group

Did you know you can create your own groups in Gmail to make sending emails easier? Follow these steps:

  • Click on the MAIL under your organization logo
  • Select "Contacts"
  • Click "New Group" and type in the name of the group
  • Add people to the group

Adjust Your Theme

Did you know you can create your own Gmail theme? Use Google Drawing to create your favorite wallpaper then:

  • Click on the Settings gear icon, near the right side of screen
  • Select Themes
  • Go to "My Pictures" at bottom of window, then select your favorite wallpaper or theme
  • Click "Save" button

Favorite Gmail Apps

Microsoft Outlook

Looking for a combination email and calendar management solution? An active iOS user, I’m often on the lookout for apps that combine a variety of tools into one multi-purpose approach. Outlook blends a simple interface for email and calendars and provides support for Microsoft OneDrive. But you don’t need to be a Microsoft enthusiast to enjoy Outlook (free) on your Android or iOS device.

With a unified inbox and swipe to archive or delete feature, this makes Outlook one of your best choices. It is a solid choice for those who may not want to deviate from traditional email clients and desire a simple interface.

Readdle Spark

Spark‘s interface takes email management to the next level above tools like Google’s Inbox and Outlook, automatically sorting your inbox into various categories. “All new emails are smartly categorized into Personal, Notifications, and Newsletters,” reports its website. The app even includes a built-in calendar, and quick responses (e.g. “Thanks!”) for when on the go.

It also has Apple Watch integration, which means you will receive updates on your Watch. Give it a try. It is one of my favorite apps.

Looking for Email Clients for Windows, Mac and/or GNU/Linux?

Here are a few reasons why you may need or want an external email client that you can run from a USB flash drive or on your PC:

  • You have multiple email accounts with different providers and want to avoid having several browser tabs open at once
  • You like to see ALL your email in ONE place
  • You want features like encryption, calendar integration, RSS feeds and VoIP apps.

Email Clients

Email Management Tools

Sort D

SortD provides some amazing tools for organizing and managing your email. Some of its primary features include a multi-column layout for your Gmail (as shown above), adjust list names, and drag-and-drop to reorder the content of each column or across columns. There are many other features, but you may want to try it out.


Looking for a quick way to organize your email into columns, as shown above? Check out the Drag add-on. The add-on works quite well and does not take over your screen like SortD does. Unlike SortD, Drag lacks a mobile interface. It works strictly in the Chrome browser, so you will have to make do with that (which is fine for Chrome users). Watch video.

Use Period and Plus Symbols to Manage eMail

Tip #1: Add Dots to Your Email

Insert one or several dots (".") anywhere in your email address. Gmail doesn't recognize periods as characters in addresses -- Gmail just ignores them.

For example, you could tell people your address was, or

Tip #2: Create Unique Email Address with a Plus Symbol

Append a plus ("+") sign and any combination of words or numbers after your email address. For example, if your name was, you could send mail to or

In the To: box above, put your modified email and then filter it to a specific folder.

Setup Multiple Gmail Profiles in Chrome

Did you know you can setup different Gmail accounts, one per profile? This is great if you Windows/Mac computer and you have a work/personal account you have to deal with.

When done, you will have one Chrome browser shortcut on your desktop that will open up a different gmail account. What a time-saver!

Hack Your Inbox...Try Inbox Zero

  • Sort all your email in your inbox into Action, Follow-Up, and Someday.
  • Anything else, including emails you deal with, go into Gmail’s built-in archive (a.k.a. All Email).
  • Use Gmail’s search tools to quickly find emails in your archive or elsewhere. It’s worth looking at this chart of Gmail search operators. My favorites include:
    • to:
    • from:
    • has:attachment
    • is:unread
    • after:, before:, newer: with each colon followed by the date in question
    • subject: to find words in the subject line

Encrypted Emails and Email Click Tracking Tips


  1. Virtru Email Encryption - Encrypt email messages you send to anyone (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo, etc.)
  2. Flowcrypt - Encrypt email using public/private key encryption (a.k.a. GPG/PGP)
  3. Mailvelope - Another way to encrypt email using public/private key encryption

Protect Yourself Against Click-Tracking Tools

  1. Pixelblock - Block others from seeing if you've read their messages.
  2. Uglymail - Works similarly to Pixelblock. "Ugly Email is a Gmail extension that allows you to see if the email is being tracked before opening it. It seamlessly integrates with Gmail."

Click-Tracking Tools (only first two are free)

  1. Sidekick Email Tracking - A free tracking tool for your email, as well as scheduling when emails are sent. 200 emails for free.
  2. - Add to the end of email addresses your writing to (e.g. and this will track emails sent. You'll need to get a free account. Has a different approach but works! And, no cost!
  3. MxHero - This was my favorite for a long time, but the time came to pay for it, and I wasn't willing to do that."features include open and URL click tracking, attachment tracking, self-destructing emails, email read receipts and the ability to schedule an email for later"
  4. MixMax - Another nice tool that allows you to embed polls as well as do all sorts of neat stuff.
  5. Boomerang Read Receipts for Gmail - Just like the other services, you can take advantage of a free feature.
  6. Bananatag - Another click-tracker. "It's free for 5 messages a day, but $5 a month gives you unlimited tracking" viaLifeHacker
  7. ContactMonkey - Free version includes 100 emails a month.
  8. Bananatag - An aggressively priced email tracking tool. Check their pricing!
  9. Yesware Email tracking - A Chrome add-on, includes free two month trial with limited features afterwards at no cost or at great cost otherwise! (smile)
  10. MailTrack for Chrome - This is another alternative. It didn't work all that well for me, but I had several others going at the same time.

Chrome Add-Ons

  1. Gmail Offline - Read Gmail offline.
  2. Gmail Sync - Syncs all your gmail for offline use.
  3. Actions for Gmail - Adds buttons for archiving, mark as read, delete, and more to each message to make it easier to take those actions.
  4. Cloudy for Gmail - Enables you to add attachments from any cloud drive.
  5. Dropbox for Gmail - Make it easy to save attachments to Dropbox.
  6. Rapportive - Get information about who you are in contact with.
  7. Todoist: Manage your tasks with Gmail. Create tasks easily.
  8. - Unsubscribe from email lists.

Connect Gmail to to auto-save attachments, create reminders, get notifications, stay organized and much more.

Have Fun On Your Own

Try out this Multimedia Text Set (MMTS) to learn more about Gmail Tips & Tricks on your own!

Setup Tasks in Gmail

Although you could use Google Keep, Trello Gmail add-on, you can also use Gmail's built-in Tasks tool.

  • Click on the MAIL under your organization logo
  • Select "Tasks"
  • Note that you now have a Task window in the bottom right-hand corner you can add to, modify. Note the Actions button gives you more custom options

Gmail Hacks & Tricks to Boost Productivity

Check out Gmail Hacks and Tricks to Boost Productivity article. Here is an excerpt:

  • The average person spends 28% of the work week reading and responding to emails.
  • This equates to 13 hours a week, and 650 hours a year.
  • Consider how productive you could be if you had a few extra hours every week to focus on the projects that really matter.
  • 59% of Americans say that they check their emails outside of office hours.

And, just in case, here's another great article.

How Do I secure an entire G Suites for edu?

My district uses Google Forms to collect parent and student data. This includes names, birth dates, phone numbers, and emails. Should I be worried? I know Google says it’s the school’s responsibility. Do you see any issues with security regarding sensitive data?


Option #1 - Cloud Encryption Tools (client-based)

The easiest solution (which isn’t that easy) is to avoid placing sensitive, personally-identifiable information online in a public folder where it is unknown who has access to it. If you must place sensitive data in the cloud, encrypt the file first. Once the person has obtained the file, remove the file. At no time should a decrypted file be placed online in cloud storage or emailed as an attachment.

Two commercial solutions districts can use for encrypting data stored in the cloud include Cryptomator and Boxcryptor.

A free solution is Secure Space Encryptor (SSE) from Paranoia Works. It’s free, open source, and works on Mac/Win/Linux/Android. It also features text encryption for iPad.

You could use this because it allows you to encrypt files/folders. If the files/folders you are encrypting save to a “sync to cloud” folder (e.g. Dropbox, Google Backup & Sync, OneDrive), then that data is encrypted.

Option 2 – Invest in a Solution that Scans Your G Suite Domain

Both solutions offer a variety of features, essentially scanning your cloud storage provider (e.g. Google Suites for Education or Office 365) for sensitive data. What’s more, additional rules can be set up to restrict placement of sensitive data online to prevent or quickly catch rule violations.

You will want to explore these solutions through an official request for proposals (RFP) process aligned to your particular district’s processes and procedures.

Did you knowb4?

A big part of protecting data involves avoiding situations, like phishing expeditions, that attempt to capture your username and password. Some school districts are turning to solutions like KnowB4, which provides security probing and awareness training. For example, a false spear phishing attack is launched against employees with the organization’s permission.

This simulated attack is done without notifying the employees first. One district, for example, “sent out a baseline test to 4,390 staff and 924 clicked on it.” The district later reported that they suffered an actual attack, not simulated by KnowB4. Only one person was compromised. From 924 to one is quite an improvement.