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Gmail Tips & Tricks

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Here are a few things that make managing my gmail easier

Turn on stars and keyboard shortcuts #

Two must-enable features are multi-stars and keyboard shortcuts. Both of them are displayed one after the other in the settings page.

Gmail Gear Icon > See all settings > General > Scroll a little more than halfway down

Turn them on and drag the stars you want to use in order. I suggest the following:

yellow-star, yellow-bang, red-bang, blue-info, purple-question, blue-star

The meanings I associate to each star are:

  • yellow-star: to be sorted
  • yellow-bang: to do
  • red-bang: important to do
  • blue-info: info / reference
  • purple-question: awaiting reply
  • blue-star: memorable message

Note: If you do a lot of delegation, use orange-guillemet

After saving the changes, if you press s repeatedly on the keyboard with either a mail selected (in list view), or on the mail detail page, it will cycle through the stars, allowing you to assign a specific meaning to the email (or set of emails).

If you want to use Zapier for automation of some of this:

  • yellow-star: l:^ss_sy
  • yellow-bang: l:^ss_cy
  • red-bang: l:^ss_cr
  • blue-info: l:^ss_cb
  • purple-question: l:^ss_cp
  • blue-star: l:^ss_sb

Others, FYI:

  • red-star: l:^ss_sr
  • orange-star: l:^ss_so
  • green-star: l:^ss_sg
  • purple-star: l:^ss_sp
  • orange-guillemet: l:^ss_co
  • green-check: l:^ss_cg

Remove transactional / tool-based / notification emails #

After getting between 150-300 of these emails daily, this is my solution.

  1. Create appropriate Gmail labels and filters
    • tools is for any emails from tools (Gitlab, Mongo, DevOps pipelines, Fastlane, Google/Apple stores, etc.)
    • calendar is for any invites, updates, declines, accepts for any meeting or event
    • support is for any support tickets where I have no actions and it is FYI
    • paperwork is for other security tickets or internal emails which are more for reference
  2. Create Alfred snippet for searching for all mails with the appropriate labels
    • name: labels
    • keyword: @@label
    • snippet: in:inbox AND (label:tools OR label:calendar OR label:support OR label: label:paperwork OR "Out of Office") AND -is:starred AND has:userlabels
  3. Keyboard combination to remove those mails from the inbox:
    / @@label enter *a I e *n gi
    • / should put focus in the search box
    • @@label should autocomplete with the search / appropriate labels
    • *a select all mails
    • shift + i mark as read
    • e archive
    • *n deselect all mails
    • gi go back to inbox
Rishi Maharaj
Sr. Software Engineering Manager

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