Gmail is a free email account provided through Google that was created to “change the way email works.” It has a virtually limitless online storage, and provides you with a place to assemble and store all of your messages in one neat place all for free. With an easy to use interface that includes many important features, such as email address auto-completion, a spell-checker, keyboard shortcuts, and pages that update instantly, it’s no wonder the Gmail is the most used email service provider.
I’m sure most of us already know how to send an email, however, there is so much more to Gmail than just that. But not to worry, the lynda.com course entitled Gmail Essential Training has nine chapters worth of videos to help you use Gmail to its fullest potential. Today we will focus on two of those chapters and get just a glimpse into some of the features and possibilities that are available through Gmail.
The sixth chapter of the Gmail course, Using Chat, contains six videos for a total of 12 minutes and 56 seconds. In the first video, Introducing Google Chat, we’re presented with an overview of a fun new way to communicate through Gmail that a lot of us probably didn’t even know existed. Have you ever been on your computer and needed to get in contact with someone right that instant without having to go through the tedious process of continuously sending emails back and forth? If so, then this is perfect for you. You can now chat with other Google users right from Gmail.
The first step in creating a chat with someone is to make sure they are in your Google Contacts. This prevents random, unwanted people from finding your email address and being able to chat with you. If you do not know how to add someone to your Google Contacts, you can find that information in the previous chapter entitled, Working With Contacts. Once a person has been added to your contacts you are now free to chat with them. You can begin by first clicking the little chat icon that appears at the bottom right of your screen.
Clicking on the icon will bring up a new chat window. The next step is to type their email into the box in the lefthand corner, and once their email comes up, press on the button that says “Invite to chat”, or click on the little chat icon in the bottom right-hand corner. Your invite will then be successfully sent and you will know when they have accepted your chat when you see their availability change.
The little green dot next to their name means that the person in now online and you can go ahead and start chatting. To do this, double-click on their name and a new chat window will pop up in the right-hand corner. You can double-click more users and initiate as many chats, with as many people as you would like. One cool feature in Google chat is that it will tell you when the other user is typing back. This prevents you from wondering if the user has received your message or not. Gmail also gives you the option to video chat with each other if you would like. Both parties are not required to have a webcam, so one-way video chats are totally an option. To learn more about Google video chatting, watch the three-minute video under this chapter entitled, Initiating a Video Chat.
Chapter 8 of the Gmail Essential Training course, Using Shortcuts, contains three short videos for a total of 7 minutes, that present an overview of several of the keyboard shortcuts available through Gmail, to help you use your email more efficiently. Today we will be learning about only the most basic of these shortcuts, but a complete list of all the shortcuts available can be found at the following link, Google Keyboard Shortcuts.
The first step in using shortcuts is to make sure that they are turned on. To do this, go to the gear icon on the top right-hand side and click settings. You then want to scroll in the general tab until you find the section called Keyboard Shortcuts. From here, click Keyboard Shortcuts on, and then scroll all the way down to save your changes. You are now ready to start using shortcuts. The first thing to remember is in order to navigate anywhere in Gmail, you must first press and hold down the G key along with any other key. For example, if you want to go to your starred messages, you hold down the G key and then press S at the same time. To get back to your inbox from here you press G while also holding the I key. If you press G and then D, it will take you to your drafts. To learn more about how to organize, or search your mail, check out Laura H’s post, Gmail-Organizing and Searching Mails.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on Google chat or the keyboard shortcuts. Have you ever used any of these shortcuts before? If so, which one/ones do you find to be the most useful? Do you think you will use them or Google chat in the future? You should try and practice using these new tools the next time you are in Gmail. As you begin to use them more and more they will become more familiar to you, and you will become, as Jess Stratton puts it, somewhat of a “Gmail ninja.”