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Peter Campbell

Beth -- I'm one of the GMail addicts, and, while there are some times that I miss certain features, I was happy to say goodbye to Outlook when I left Goodwill. Here are some things I really like about it:

1. I can find anything, far, far faster than I could in Outlook. That's number one. My GMail account can be searched like Google.

2. Labels are folders, but better. Don't abstract them. Set up your labels -- no more than fifteen or twenty, or it gets unwieldy - and make a regular appointment (as you would in Outlook) to assign and archive. Don't forget that you can apply multiple labels to emails.

Also - create filters that apply labels as mail comes in. You should be able to automatically label about 80% of your mail.

Grab the Better Gmail extension for Firefox. This is a collection of Greasemonkey scripts that does things like adding Google Reader and Calendar to the lefthand menu on GMail, adding a filter wizard, and lots of other handy enhancements. Also, get the Firefox extension that allows GMail to acts as your Mailto agent, and the GMail notifier.

If your phone supports it, get GMail Mobile. It rocks. I find it far faster and easier to use than my web browser or pop client on my Treo.

Learn the keyboard shortcuts. They make it a lot faster.

David Wilcox

Beth - when you go Mac there will of course be Mac Mail and iCal and address book, which work fine for me now, and will probably get some improvements when Leopard releases in the fall. Good search. Missing sync works fine with Treo. I'm looking forward to your explorations and sharing:-)

Judi Sohn


I gave up my Outlook addiction a few weeks ago. I know exactly what you're going through.

I ended up moving everything into Thunderbird. It works nicely with Gmail and has a lot of killer features and add-ins. I like Gmail and use it for my mailing lists. I prefer my "real" email to be stay in a desktop client.

Eugene Chan

+1 for Better Gmail. Highly recommended, if nothing else for automatically forcing you to use https: for authentication.

Also set up gmail so that you switch email sending address names. Unless you've already done the whole google apps for domains thing.

Kaj Rietberg

I use Gmail for a couple of months now and really like it. I like it because i get al my mail into it like you do, i can read my mail everywhere. I save a lot of mail now on a server and not anymore on my computer. I can always find them back.
Beside that I also you Google reader for my feeds so I have a lot together on 1 place.

Beth Kanter

These are all excellent tips .. and I realize I have a lot to learn about gmail. The challenge is going to be change habits without flipping out.

Does anyone know how to combine two different google/gmail accounts?

Peter Campbell

Ah - I can help with that last one, too. My main non-work email account has been my gmail account for quite a while now. When I quit my job and started my own company (, I got Google apps for domains. Now I have two GMail accounts. I get the bulk of my mail (NTEN/ISF lists) at my gmail address, but I want my business correspondence to come from Techcafeteria. So I have all mail that arrives at Techcafeteria forwarded to gmail, then I have an alternate address set up in GMail for my Techcafeteria email. I selected the "default to address sent to" option. It works very well.

Loretta Donovan

First of all, I loved Pine too! Boy are we dating ourselves.

OK, the Outlook question. I am a big user of web apps for lots of stuff. I use Gmail for a variety of things - and agree there are some things it can do that are great. But when it comes to the important email in my life (client projects at the top of that list) I still use Outlook and have it backed up on Mozy every night. Sometimes I forward email from Gmail to Outlook so I can move dates into my calendar and contacts into my address book. Since I have a Blackberry, those functions are available along with my email wherever I go.

I also use Groove - a peer to peer offline application - for my project collaboration. I simply do not want to risk losing access to vital information when my lovely Verizon broadband acts up.

One other thing, before Google acquired Writely, I was using it with a colleague to edit in real time while on a call. Writely chose to do some work on their server -- weekday, 9 pm EST and we almost lost the whole article we were working on. So I am a little cautious about that too.


Oh my gosh! I am trying to convert to web aps myself. I had never really gotten used to Outlook but like it okay. I am using Google calendar now and printing the "day" format to keep my documentation. (I actually just got done printing this weeks pages to document on.) I am crazy about documenting everything and usually do so on paper. I know, I know!!! Not sure I can give up my paper documentation.

Kerri Karvetski

Hi Beth,

Catching up on blog reading and thought I'd jump in with some Gmail tips.

Definitely, wholeheartedly recommend Better Gmail. Also try "Gmail This" button, which turns the page/tab you are on into an e-mail with the page title in the subject line and the link in the body. I use it almost every day.

Dragdropupload allows you to drag files to attach, and more than one at time. A great time saver for multiple attachments.

I also started using a very simple online to-do list manager called Todoist. It integrates in Gmail. So, when you are reading an e-mail and want to reply to it later, you press the Todoist button, add a relative date, and put it on your to-do list. Fabulous.

There's a couple of things I have installed and disabled because I just don't use them that often, but you may:

LinkedIn Companion

I get a lot of Gmail tips from LifeHacker blog.

Good luck,



I worked at U of Washington in Seattle and they still use and support Pine. It was funny when I started working there some one had to come at teach me how to use it again! I was suprised how my meek little brain had moved on. You reminded me that I'm more adaptable than I think both forward and backwards :-)

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