Gmail is one of the worlds most powerful and well-built tech tools, but there are ways to make it even more amazing.
Some features are hidden within Gmail itself — through the Settings and Labs tab; others have been built by third party developers. (Just remember, third party apps will have access to all of the contents of your emails.)
Here are 12 ways to customize Gmail, or completely transform it
1. Preschedule messages. If there’s a better time to catch someone with an email but you know you won’t be around to push the send button, use a browser extension such as Right Inbox or Boomerang to do it for you. Both services let you send up to 10 pre-scheduled messages per month for free, or an unlimited amount starting at $5 a month.
There are also scripts you can run on your own for free in Google Sheets to accomplish the same tasks.
2. Snooze emails. You can also schedule emails to pop back up to the top of your inbox at a later date and time. Gmail Snooze is a Chrome extension that can help remind you too.
3. Send stock responses. To save even more time, consider creating canned messages through one of Gmail’s Labs feature.
4. Find out if your email was read. How many times have you used or heard the “Sorry! Didn’t see your email” excuse? Bananatag Email Tracking, Sidekick and Intelliverse Email Tracker are Chrome extensions that can tell you when your email was opened.
They can also show you how many times an email was opened, where the person was when they opened it, and on what device.
All three offer a limited number of emails that can be tracked for free.
5. Blow up your emails. Delicious, a link-sharing platform, also just released Dmail — a Chrome extension that makes your messages self-destruct. And recently, Google (GOOGL, Tech30) updated Gmail with an “undo send” button that lets you rescind an email.
Be more productive
6. Make a to-do list. Remember The Milk installs a checklist on the right side of your Gmail for Chrome and Firefox browsers. You can turn messages into tasks, and connect your to-do list to Google Calendars and contacts.
Todoist for Gmail organizes your task list in chronological order. It also lets you add emails to your list, assign projects to other people, and get progress updates. There’s also a mobile version of the plug-in so you can access the list from anywhere.
7. Schedule appointments. Gmail Labs has a feature that pulls in your Google Calendar next to your inbox for easy scheduling.
8. Get all your mail in one view. Labs also has a handy way for you to check multiple email accounts at the same time.
Manage updates and alerts
9. Work offline. Gmail Offline is a Google app that lets you read and reply to messages without an Internet connection. That means you can work without distractions and delay new updates until you want to reconnect.
10. Get quick notifications. Checker Plus shows you how many emails you have without having to keep a browser open, and switching windows back and forth. You can even reply directly through the pop up notifications.
11. Get Gmail to text you. AwayFind is a paid-service that promises to free you from constantly checking your inbox. Instead, you can tell the app to call or text you only if certain people email you, or if you have a message thread you need to stay on top of.
Do it all
12. Your one-stop shop. Inbox is Google’s newest solution to nearly all of these common email headaches. There’s a task list function, snooze options, and a clean layout complete with contacts’ photos and easy to read message previews.
It works on desktop and mobile.