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If you’re a daily user of Gmail’s web interface you need to know about these four built-in options that will save you time. Google rarely takes anything out of beta, so you’ll find most of these options in Settings > Labs because “they’re not quite ready for primetime”. (But I’ve been using them for years.)

Canned Responses

How many times are you going to write the same email (or the same email outline) before you enable Canned Responses? Anytime you find yourself copying and pasting the same message to multiple people, you should be using Canned Responses.

Auto-Advance

Instead of dumping you back in your inbox after you delete or archive a message, this will advance you right to the next conversation. If you power through all your email (instead of hunting and pecking which to answer) try this.

Priority Inbox

Before Google split your mailbox into primary, social, and promotions there was priority inbox. It is my secret weapon for filtering out half of my email so that only the stuff that I need to reply to is on top. You can configure it in multiple ways, but you can see below how I choose to see my inbox. You should still check your non-priority messages once a day or so but this does a great job of filtering out bulk commercial email for me.

GmailPriorityInbox

Auto-Forward Select Emails

I use this tool for two common situations. Maybe you’re the billing contact for a service but all the emails from that service should really be going to your web developer. Or perhaps a co-worker keeps emailing your personal email address when they should be sending it to your business account. You can ask Gmail to automatically forward emails based on a certain sender, subject line, and more with filters.

First search for the type of email you want to forward and then click the triangle on the far right side of the search box to get the advance search box below. Then click “Create filter with this search” in the bottom right.

GmailFilters-4

The next box will let you pick what to do with emails that match that search. You’ve got a ton of options of course. You’ll need to add a forwarding address before you can do that (it requires the email receiver to confirm you have permission to email them). But after that initial confirmation you can send them all the emails you’d like.

GmailFowardIt-4

What’s your favorite Gmail tip?

Leave your favorites in the comments!