Ten Gmail Labs Features You Should Enable

February 9, 2009

I didn’t even know that some of these features were about.


Gmail has been slowly but surely rolling out cool new features ever since they started Gmail Labs. If you haven’t taken advantage of the fruits of Labs, here’s a look at 10 Labs features you should enable.

Offline Gmail

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Probably the most significant feature you can get out of Labs, Offline Gmail takes advantage of Google Gears to turn Gmail into an offline email client. You can search most of your messages, draft new messages, and do pretty much everything you can do with Gmail while you’re connected to the internet. Gmail automatically detects whether you’re connected or not to keep your offline and online Gmail in sync. (Read more)

Multiple Inboxes

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Got a widescreen monitor and a lot of filters and labels you want to keep an eye on? When enabled, Multiple Inboxes displays up to eight different searches or labels next to your inbox for a king-sized dashboard of your email activity. (Read more)


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Google has taken a lot of guff for not creating a to-do list app to round out their productivity suite of apps. Tasks may not be a full-fledged app (yet), but it’s a great start. You can even turn an email into a task with a simple Shift+t keyboard shortcut. Once set up, you can add tasks to your Firefox sidebar andaccess it from your cell phone and iGoogle. (Read more)

Go to label

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Gmail has all kinds of great keyboard shortcuts, including combo keys that take you to your inbox (‘g’ then ‘i’), starred mail (‘g’ then ‘s’), and more. With Go to label enabled, you can quickly navigate between labels from your keyboard in a similar manner. Simply type ‘g’ (Go), ‘l’ (Label), and then start typing the name of the label you want to go to. Go to label will autocomplete the label, so chances are you’ll be there in a couple of keystrokes. Go to label also works with the next Labs feature, Quick Links.

Quick Links

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Quick Links adds a new sidebar to Gmail just below your labels. When enabled, Quick Links can be used to bookmark anything in Gmail, from a common search to a specific email. It’s an incredible way to set up quick access to common searches without setting up a filter and label.


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By default, Gmail ships with one yellow star to help you better keep track of and call out important emails. With Superstars enabled, you’ve got a whopping 12 different icons to choose from. You can even search for different superstar types specifically—especially handy if you want to set up some Quick Links with your Superstars!

Canned Responses

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Do a lot of repetitive typing, do you? With Canned Responses, you can set up canned replies so you can quickly and easily fire off that same old reply without succumbing to the pains of RSI. Your hands will thank you. (If you’re really serious about canned responses, check out Texter [Windows], TextExpander [Mac], or Snippits [Linux]).

Custom Keyboard Shortcuts

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Love keyboard shortcuts but never quite got the hang of the layout of Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts? With Custom Keyboard Shortcuts enabled, you can customize any of Gmail’s default shortcuts to your liking. Handy!

Forgotten Attachment Detector

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Save yourself the embarrassment of the second whoops-I-forgot! email with the Forgotten Attachment Detector. It scans your email to determine whether or not you had meant to attach a file and alerts you if an attachment is missing.

Pictures in Chat

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The Pictures in Chat feature does exactly what it sounds like: adds user icons to your Gmail Chat window. This one won’t boost your productivity all that much, but it’s a nice little tweak.


*Goes off to edit settings in Gmail*


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