Priority Inbox for Gmail can help you

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Email is one of the most important business tools, which more and more people find hard to imagine conducting business without. A common complaint heard from nearly all users is that their Inboxes are overflowing, making it hard to spot important emails from the ones less so. Gmail users are in luck, as there’s a powerful feature that can help you sort out your Inbox.

Priority Inbox is a tool that will automatically sort your Inbox, making important emails appear at the top. This makes it easier for you to sort through your emails and focus on the most important tasks.

The whole idea of Priority Inbox is that it highlights only the important emails. For example, when you get a new email that the tool deems to be a priority, it will notify you, while not showing notifications for messages that aren’t a priority. This is also carried over to your mobile phone, which will only show a new email notification if a priority email comes in.

How does this work? 
It may seem a bit like Big Brother, but this tool watches and learns from your Gmail habits. When first activated, nothing will appear different, emails will still come in. But, Priority Inbox watches what you do with these emails. If you just delete newsletters or spam, overtime the tool will associate email from this sender as not important. On the other hand, if you reply to a sender as soon as an email comes in from them, the tool will eventually mark the sender’s email as important and elevate them to the top of your Inbox.

It is important to be actively deleting/responding/opening emails as the tool learns from these actions. If you just leave a spam message in your Inbox, it won’t be marked as unimportant. You should also not expect immediate results as it can take weeks or more than a month for results to show. Should Priority Inbox mark emails as important when they aren’t, you can mark them as less important to move them down the inbox.

How do I set it up? 
To enable this app, simply hover your mouse over Inbox and click the downward facing arrow that pops-up. Select Priority Inbox and start opening/reading/replying to emails. If you want to manually mark important emails, you can press the star beside the email in your Inbox, or the big arrow below the senders name – it will turn yellow when marked as Important.

You can access your Priority Inbox at any time by clicking on Priority on the left-hand side of the Gmail window. This folder will be divided into three parts: Important (unread emails will be at the top), Starred emails below them and everything else at the bottom.

What’s the best way to get Priority Inbox to learn?
There are a number of things beyond simply reading/replying/deleting emails that you can do to encourage this app’s learning:

  1. Set up labels and filters
    Labels are Gmail’s version of files. You can apply labels to any email and always access them by pressing the corresponding label on the left-hand side of the Gmail window. For example you can attach an “Important customer” label to any email from a customer you deal with on a regular basis. When you click on Important Customer under your Inbox, any email with the relevant label will be shown. Filters can help you automate the application of labels.

You can set labels by:

  1. Pressing More under Inbox on the left-hand vertical menu in Gmail.
  2. Selecting Create new label
  3. Entering a name for the label and pressing Create.

When you have an email you would like to apply a label to, you can open it and press the label button above the message and clicking the relevant label. You can apply as many as you like.

To create a filter which will automatically attach a specific label to incoming emails you:

  1. Select a message from a sender that you want a label to be automatically attached to.
  2. Press the More button which is located above the message, and select Filter messages like these.
  3. Enter any relevant information like subject line, CC, BCC, etc. Note: This sets parameters that must be met before the filter is applied.
  4. Click on Create filter with this search and followed by ticking the box beside Apply the label in the next window.
  5. Press the box that says Choose label… and tick the relevant labels. Note: You can also press New Label to create a new one.
  6. Click Create Filter. You can also tick the box beside the Create Filter button that says Also apply filter to XX emails, and the label will be automatically applied to existing emails that meet the parameters.

If the sender is important, also tick Always mark it as important, or Never mark it as important if they aren’t important. Ticking either of these options will increase the speed with which Priority Inbox learns.

  1. Actively mark emails as important/not important
    As stated above, if you actively mark emails as important/not important, this tool will learn quicker. You can mark messages accordingly by selecting it (click on it) and selectMore from the menu bar above the Inbox. Click Mark as Important or Mark as not important.
    This tool is great for busy managers whose Inboxes are overflowing and who find it hard/don’t have the time to sort through emails. If you find that this isn’t working properly, you can turn off Priority Inbox by hovering over Inbox and selecting another Inbox type. The most popular is: Unread first.

Looking for more ways how Google Apps can help you get your business under control? Contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Learn about your email with Gmail Meter

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One of the more useful business tools is email, it’s hard to imagine running a business without it. Many managers and business owners spend a large percentage of their time reading and responding to emails, and would probably like to know a bit more about their usage patterns. If you use Gmail, there’s an interesting tool that can provide some useful information about how you use your email.

Gmail Meter is a script written to help users keep track of their Gmail usage. How it works is you setup a script – a mini program that tells a number of Google Apps to develop a report – that runs once a month, creates a statistical report and emails it to you.

The report provides statistical data and allows you to analyze your usage and email habits. Some statistics tracked include:

  • Volume – This section tracks data like the number of people who sent you emails, how many were starred/important, addressed directly to you and how many emails you sent.
  • Traffic – The report provides a graph that shows the average times you received emails and when you sent them. It also provides the average number of emails sent and received each day for the past week. This could be a big help in determining scheduling, or picking times when you want to be checking email.
  • Response times – This section provides information on the time it takes you to respond to emails, as well as how long others take to respond to your emails. The main benefit here is so you can judge how people may feel about your response times. For example, if you take 6 hours to respond to an email, this could make some clients mad – it would be a good thing to work on.
  • Word counts – Gmail Meter tracks the length of your emails and graphs them, giving you a good glimpse into not only how long your emails are, but how long people’s responses are to the emails you send. If you see that you send wordy emails, it may be a good idea to cut back a bit – save your time as well as your reader’s.
  • Top senders and recipients – This report provides you a list of top senders and recipients, allowing you to see who you communicate with the most. If you see that the top 4 communicators are people who sit near you, maybe other mediums of communication would be more successful? Internal vs External – This section gives you an overview of how many of your emails were sent within the company versus the outside world.

This report provides great insight into how you use Gmail. If leveraged correctly, you could spot areas for improvement. For example, you notice that you receive most of your emails in the afternoon, but send most of your emails in the morning. This likely means that you spend most of the day looking at email, and may benefit from setting specific times to check and reply to email. More than anything, it’s a cool look into something we use on a daily basis and likely take for granted. Setup Gmail Meter If you would like to set this feature up, you can do so by:

  1. Going to Google Drive and creating a new Spreadsheet – press Create and selectSpreadsheet.
  2. Clicking on Tools followed by Script Gallery
  3. Searching for Gmail Meter and pressing Install.
  4. Clicking Authorize to give the script permission to run and gather information from your apps.

You should now be able to run the script simply by going to the Spreadsheet you opened earlier and looking for the tab labeled Gmail Meter in the menu bar. Click on it and select Get a Report. The script will run and you will get an email with the information, normally within a couple of hours. From then on, you will get a monthly report on the same day.

You can also visit the Gmail Meter website and set it up from there. Installing the website version is simple, just press Get Started.

This script was written for a third party developer (not Google). While some users may see this as a security issue, the script is installed on what’s called the client side – your version of Gmail and Google Drive. The developer of the script does not have access to your email, but you will need to give the script permission to access different Google Apps and information.

If you would like to learn more about this feature, or other ways Google Apps can be used in your business, contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Gmail’s amazing keyboard shortcuts

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There are numerous email clients a business can use. One of the more popular is Gmail – Google’s email service. What makes Gmail so popular? It may be the fact that it’s free for personal users, but mainly that it’s easy to use. It’s Gmail’s functions that make it easy to use, including integrated keyboard shortcuts that can help improve your productivity.

Here’s seven of the best Gmail keyboard shortcuts. Before you can use shortcuts however, you need to enable them. This can be done by:

  1. Pressing the cog at the top-right of the Gmail window.
  2. Selecting Settings.
  3. Clicking on General and scrolling down to Keyboard Shortcuts.
  4. Ticking Keyboard Shortcuts on.
  5. Clicking on Save changes at the bottom of the screen.

With an email open

  • F – If you are reading an email and would like to forward it, press ‘F’ and you should jump down to the bottom of the email and be able to enter email addresses to forward the message to.
  • R – If you would like to reply, press ‘R’ and you should be taken to the bottom of the email with the reply option already selected.

Note, you can press Tab to move down a file e.g., move from Address field to the Body where you can type a message. Pressing Shift + Tab will move the cursor up one field e.g., from the Body to the CC/BCC field.

 

With an email selected

  • ! – From your inbox, you can select an email and press ‘!’. This will mark it as spam, and move it to the Spam folder.
  • # – Selecting an email and hitting ‘#’ will move the email to the trash.
  • Shift + R/U – Selecting an email and hitting ‘Shift + R’ will mark it as read, while ‘Shift + U’ will mark an email as unread.

General

  • C – From Gmail’s main screen you can hit ‘C’ to begin composing an email. This should open up the Compose email message at the bottom of the window.
  • / – Pressing ‘/’ (slash) will jump your cursor to the Search bar and allow you to search for emails, or content. Pressing Enter will execute the search.

These are seven of the most useful keyboard shortcuts for Gmail, and should help you increase your productivity, or at least make it easier to navigate. If you are interested in learning more about Gmail, or any of Google’s other products please contact us today.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

View Gmail account activity with ease

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We all know that forgetful person who logs on to a computer, personal account, etc, and forgets to log out. Facebook users who forget to do this sometimes find that their information has been changed, and possibly to something unwanted. While stories about this happening might provide interesting anecdotes, it’s not quite as humorous when it happens to you. If you use Gmail and are one of those people who forgets to log out of your accounts, there is a feature that allows you to both track account activity and log out.

The Activity Information feature of Gmail serves a dual purpose: To give you a way to monitor the locations your account has been signed into and the ability to remotely log off. You can access the feature by:

  1. Clicking the cog in the right-hand side of the screen (located below your profile information).
  2. Selecting Settings.
  3. Scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking Details under Last account activity.

If you are on the Settings page, and can’t find Details, scroll to the bottom of the page and you should see it at the bottom right.

 

Keep tabs on log-in locations When you click on Details a pop-up window will appear showing your account’s recent activity. Under the Recent Activity heading you will see a list of the 10 most recent ways your account has been accessed. This information is displayed in a table with three columns:

  • Access Type: What was used to access your account. This will normally show Browser (Gmail’s web client), POP3 (accessing your Gmail account from an email client like Outlook) or Mobile (using the Gmail app for Android, iPhone, etc). If you see your account has been recently accessed through Mobile and don’t use the mobile app, this could be an indication your account is compromised.
  • Location (IP Address): The location the Access Type was used from. It’s normally displayed with the region or country and the related device’s IP address. If you are currently in Australia and notice account activity from Russia, you are safe to assume that your account is compromised. Similarly, looking at the IP address associated with each activity log is a good idea. If you notice a strange  IP, you can perform an IP lookup here, which will show the service provider of the IP address.
  • Date/Time: When the activity happened. The date and time displayed are in the time zone you are currently logged into. Activity at times when you know you know you weren’t online should raise a red flag.

At the bottom of the window you can see the IP address you are currently using. Just above that, is Alert preference which you can change to meet your needs. We suggest you set an alert for any unusual activity.

 

Remote logout If you forgot to sign out of your account from another computer, you can simply press the Sign out of all other sessions button. Pressing this will not log you out of your current session, so don’t forget to sign out when you are done!

If you would like to learn more about Gmail within your business please drop us a line, we may have a solution that meets your needs.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Gmail Search master, no force necessary

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While email is an incredibly helpful tool, there are some minor annoyances that keep popping up. Chances are you receive dozens of emails a day, most of which just sit in your inbox. Sure, there’s the really organized user who has a million folders, but most of us don’t. This can be a bit of a pain when you try to find an email from several months ago. If you’re a Gmail user however, you have a powerful search bar that you can use to find emails with greater ease.

If you’re like most people, your Gmail inbox and basic folders will be full of thousands of emails. When you’re searching for a message, it can often feel like looking for two runaway droids on a sparsely populated desert planet – in other words, pretty darn difficult! Did you know what there are a number of advanced terms you can use in the search bar to make it easier to find the dro…err email you’re looking for? Here’s eight tips to help you go from Gmail Search Padawan to Master.

To/From/Or: If you’re looking for an email, and you know who you sent it to or received it from, you can enter:

  • to:name – This will search your email for messages you have sent to users by the name you type in e.g., to:Owen. You can also use the full email address if you have more than one contact with the same name.
  • from:name – This will search for emails you have received from the name you insert.
  • AND – You can use an AND statement to look for more than one person at the same time. For example, you are looking for an email from Biggs that you forwarded to Luke. You would enter: from:Biggs AND to:Luke and Gmail will search for emails that meet the requirements. Note: AND must be in caps.

Subject: Say you are looking for an email where you know the subject line. You would entersubject:Subject Line e.g., subject:Death Star.

 

Label: Gmail doesn’t follow a traditional file system, instead you apply Labels to emails for easy sorting. Much like a normal file system, Labels can get a little out of hand, which may make it harder to sort through email. You can narrow down searches by entering: label:label name e.g.,label:Stormtrooper complaints.

Has:attachment If you are looking for an email that has an attachment, you can enter:has:attachment. To take it one step further, entering from:name has:attachment will return emails from that user with attachments e.g., from:Bothans has:attachment.

“words” The use of double quotes “text” in the Search bar will return results that are only exact matches to the term entered e.g., “The droids we are looking for” will return emails with that exact phrase.

() Rounded brackets have two uses in Gmail Search:

  1. To group words together. Putting words between the brackets with a space between them will tell Gmail to search for emails that contain those words, but not in any order. e.g., Subject:(Wookie Endor) will search for emails with the subject line that contains the words Wookie and Endor.
  2. Words that shouldn’t be excluded. If you put words in between the brackets separated with an OR statement, Gmail will search for emails that contain those words. e.g.,from:Han (Chewie OR falcon) will return emails from Han that contain the words Chewie or falcon.

in:inbox/spam/trash/anywhere You can set which files in which to search for emails by putting: in:file. For example: In:spam from:Jabba will search for emails from Jabba in the spam folder.

 

has:yellow-star;red-star;blue-star, etc. If you use different stars to indicate a level of importance, or anything else, you can search for emails that have been assigned different stars. You can use any of the star colors, bangs, checks. as long as there is a hyphen that takes the place of the space in the name e.g., has:orange-star will return all emails with an orange star.

You can find out more about using stars in Gmail here.

+ The way Google has engineered Search (Google Search and Gmail Search) is that it will usually show results with similar words. For example: searching for Ship will return results for Ship, Ships, etc. If you want Gmail to search for exact words, use a + before the word e.g.,+blast.

These terms can teach you how to become a Gmail master, and help you find what you need. If you would like to learn more about Gmail and how your organization can benefit from it, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Gmail now allows Drive attachments

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Emails come in many forms. Some people use it to keep their peers and employees updated, while others use it as the basis of collaboration or to send links. If you use Gmail, you likely attach files on a regular basis. Like every other email client, there’s a limit to the size of files you can attach however. Gmail has recently introduced a new feature that gives you better attachment options.

The latest Gmail feature is something many Google and Gmail users have been asking for. It allows you to add files from Drive directly into a Gmail message, without having to navigate away from Gmail.

This is how it works:

  1. Create a message as you usually would using Gmail’s new overview.
  2. Hover over the + and click the Drive icon.
  3. Navigate to the file you would like to put into the document.
  4. Select the file and select Insert.

What Gmail will do is add the doc, picture, or file into the message. This is kind of an interesting way to attach files, as the file is in the message, but it’s still hosted on your Drive. So, when recipients click on it they are taken to the file. What’s interesting about this new feature is you can add the attachment where you want, by clicking where you would like to add it in the body and following steps two through four above.

 

A cool thing Google did with this feature is that when you add a file from Drive that hasn’t been shared with the recipient(s), you will be asked if you want to share the file with the users when you hit send. This will be done directly in the message, no need to go to Drive and change the settings from there.

But wait, there’s more One of the major downsides of email is that many programs – Gmail included – have an attachment size limit. This can make it a bit bothersome if you have to send files that are over the limit. With the update, you can now attach up to 10GB of files in one email – only if you attach them through this Drive option though. This means you can attach files up to 400 times larger than previous limits.

One caveat is that this option isn’t available to you if you use the older style of Compose – clicking Compose takes you to a new page. So, you will have to use the new layout – emails are composed in a chat-like window. If you would like to switch to the new version of Compose, you should be able to do so by clicking on Compose and looking to the right of the email window, near the cog. There should be an option that allows you to switch to the new version.

If you would like to learn more about integrating Gmail, Drive or any of Google’s other services into your company give us a shout, we can help.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.

Update to Gmail merges email and chat

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No matter what industry your business is in, managers and employees will at one time or another need to give a presentation. Presentations can at times scare many employees, causing undue stress and poorly created presentations that could cost a company a key contract.

It’s important that you, that as a manager, you ensure that your employees are creating PowerPoint presentations that are effective. Here are a few tips you can give to your employees to help them improve their presentations.

Simplify and minimize The best presentations are simple and minimal, often shifting focus from the presentation to the presenter. Minimal presentations follow the 6-6-6 rule. There should be no more than: 6 bullet points per slide, 6 words per bullet and 6 slides full of words in a row. Being visual creatures, you should encourage your employees to create slides with engaging and related visuals. A caveat: be sure that you have the rights to use the images.

A great rule taught in business schools across the country is: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid). Refrain from using confusing words, jargon, uncommon acronyms and irrelevant information. Keep it short, sweet, and to the point. Following these rules will help engage the audience and hold their attention for a longer period of time.

Be consistent “Consistency is key” – a saying often used but rarely followed in the creation of PowerPoint presentations. You should ensure that grammar and spelling are all consistent, and errors are minimal, if existent at all. Have another employee or manager review it for errors and inconsistencies.

For the slides, use the same background and font throughout. The easiest way to ensure this is by using a template. A word of warning: don’t use templates that are heavily animated because they can cause significant distractions, and don’t choose backgrounds that are similar in color to your font. The best slides have a light color for a background with a darker font for your text.

Summarize The goal of most presentations is to build interest and inform or update the audience. In fact, the majority of audiences just want a short summary so they can develop their own questions to ask after the presentation, or at a later meeting.

When creating the presentation, be sure to keep the audience in mind. If a presentation is being made to IT managers, chances are it does not need to have advanced financial spreadsheets. If you are presenting on a topic that has lots of graphs, extra information, or appendices, put the most important information in the presentation and the rest in a handout. This will keep the audience’s attention on the presenter, not the slides.

Practice, preview, review Practice makes perfect. In an ideal world there would be hours and hours to practice and tweak a presentation. Normally, that’s not true. Schedule at least a comparable amount of time the day before a presentation for a dry run. Always review the presentation with your team and ask them for feedback. This will help encourage employees to keep improving and developing themselves.

For more tips and tricks on giving presentations using Microsoft PowerPoint and other Microsoft products, please contact us.

Published with permission from TechAdvisory.org. Source.