Gmail Tips: 5 Great E-Mail Timesavers

Learn how to grant others access to your Gmail account, get out of "reply all" hell, toggle between multiple Gmail accounts and more.

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Mon, January 24, 2011

CIO — If you're one of Gmail's 193 million users worldwide, you probably rely on the service—and its add-ons—every day. Popular among users for its customization features, Google (GOOG) constantly adds to its arsenal of Labs and brings new features mainstream to simplify processes and save users time.

Here are five more useful Gmail tips, including how to access multiple accounts in one browser, schedule time zone changes and how to opt out of annoying conversation threads.

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1. How to Grant Access to Your Gmail Account

If you own two Gmail accounts, say one for your personal correspondences and one for work, signing in and out between the accounts can get tedious. A new feature, called "e-mail delegation," has been available to Google Apps accounts for a while, but just recently become available to everyone else using Gmail.

This feature lets you grant access to someone—a personal assistant, for example—allowing them to read and respond to your e-mail on your behalf.

To do this, click on your "Settings" link in the top right corner of Gmail. On the "Accounts and Import" tab is a new section about halfway down where you can grant access to your account. Note that you can only add an e-mail address if the person is also a Gmail user.


After you click the link and add an e-mail address, Gmail will send a confirmation e-mail to the other user. Once he or she accepts, your helper can access your account, read and reply to e-mails on your behalf. Visit the same Settings page if you want to revoke this privilege.

2. How to Opt-Out of Conversation Threads

You've probably been involved in a conversation thread with 10 other people who "reply all," filling your inbox with messages. An easy way to leave this conversation is via Gmail's new feature, "Smart Mute."

With Smart Mute, continued conversations will only appear in your inbox if a new message in the conversation is addressed to you and no one else, or a new e-mail in the conversation adds you to the "To" or "Cc" line. Once you enable Smart Mute, it'll be active across all versions of Gmail—Web, mobile, etc.


To enable Smart Mute, visit the Settings link in Gmail, click the Labs tab, scroll until you see the feature, then click "Enable." Be sure to click Save at the bottom of the page. When you receive an e-mail that you'd like to mute, choose "More actions" from the Gmail toolbar and click "Mute." Visit the same place if you'd like to unmute a conversation, and receive messages from the thread once again.

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