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Tips to read & send email in Gmail

Google Workspace productivity guide

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Tips for reading email

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Change the density of your Gmail inbox

You can choose how spacious or compact you'd like to list messages in your inbox. Just change the density of your inbox.

Learn how
  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings "".
  3. Under Density, choose an option:
    • Default
    • Comfortable
    • Compact

    Note: If you choose Default, you'll get a preview of your attachments from your inbox.

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Get more space for labels

In Gmail, you can create more space on the left for your labels. Just move the Chat panel to the right side of your inbox.

Learn how

Change the position of the Chat panel in Gmail

You can move the Chat panel to the right or left side of your Gmail inbox.

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings ""and then See all settings.
  3. At the top, click Chat and Meet.
  4. Next to “Chat position,” select Left side of the inbox or Right side of the inbox.
  5. Click Save Changes.
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View spaces and your inbox at the same time

In Gmail, spaces open in full-screen mode. Instead, open a space in a pop-up so you can multitask in Gmail while keeping an eye on the space activity.

Learn how

Open a space as a pop-up

  1. On a computer, open Gmail.
  2. Do one of the following actions:
    • At left, under Spaces, point to a space and click Open in pop-up "".
    • If a space is already open, click Exit full screen "".
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See new messages at the top of a thread

By default, Gmail shows the most recent message in a conversation at the bottom of the thread. If you want to see new messages at the top of the thread, you can install an extension from the Chrome Web Store.

Learn how

Reverse messages in a conversation thread

  1. Open the Chrome Web Store.
  2. On the left, in the search box, enter a search term, such as Gmail reverse conversation.
  3. When you find the extension that you want, click Add to Chrome. Some extensions might need certain permissions or data.
  4. Click Add extension to confirm.
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Prevent horizontal scrolling in an email

Sometimes, you might need to scroll horizontally to see an entire message due to a large image or table. You can avoid having other people scroll horizontally in your messages by checking a few things before you hit Send.

Learn how

Prevent scrolling in messages you send

  1. In Gmail, open the message.
  2. If there’s a table in your message or if you’re pasting text, check if it has a fixed width.
  3. If you use an email signature, make sure there isn’t an image in it that’s causing a wide signature.
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Remember to follow up with nudges

You can choose whether to see old messages at the top of your inbox with a suggestion to reply or follow up. Show or hide these suggestions by going to your Gmail settings.

Reply reminders

Learn how

Show or hide nudges

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings ""and thenSee all settings.
  3. On the General tab, scroll to Nudges and check or uncheck the two options.
  4. At the bottom, click Save Changes.

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Get email from another email platform

To get email from another app, your administrator needs to turn on IMAP and POP.

In Gmail, you can get email from another app, such as Microsoft Outlook or Apple Mail. To get email from another app, you need to turn on IMAP, remove folder size limits on IMAP messages, and show all IMAP folders that you want to include from the other app.

Learn how

Turn on IMAP, remove folder size limits, and show all folders

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings ""and thenSee all settings.
  3. Click Forwarding and POP/IMAP.
  4. Next to IMAP access, select Enable IMAP.
  5. Under Folder size limits, select Do not limit the number of messages in an IMAP folder (default).
  6. Click Save Changes.
  7. Click Settings ""and thenSee all settings.
  8. Click Labels.
  9. Next to the label for the folders that you want to include, check the Show in IMAP box.

Tips for sending email

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Recall an email you just sent

If you decide you don't want to send an email, you have a short time after to cancel it. Right after you send a message, you can retract it:

Learn how

 Recall an email with Undo Send

  1. In the bottom left, you'll see "Message sent" and the option to "Undo" or "View message".
  2. Click Undo.

Choose an amount of time to recall a message

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settingsand then See all settings.
  3. Next to "Undo Send," select a Send cancellation period of 5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds.
  4. At the bottom, click Save changes.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

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Send pre-written emails with email templates

Tired of typing the same reply every time someone sends you email with a common question? Compose your reply once and save the email as a template. You can also include your signature. Later, you can open the template and send it again with just a few clicks.

Note: Email templates are available only in Gmail on the web. Templates aren't available in Gmail mobile apps.

Learn how

Enable templates

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. At the top right, click Settings ""and thenSee all settings.
  3. At the top, click Advanced.
  4. In the Templates section, select Enable.
  5. At the bottom, click Save Changes.

Create or change a template

  1. Open Gmail and click Compose.
  2. In the Compose window, enter your template text.
  3. Click More ""and thenTemplates.
  4. Choose an option:
    • To create a new template, click Save draft as templateand thenSave as new template.
    • To change a previously saved template, click Save draft as template and under Overwrite Template, choose a template and click Save to overwrite it.
  5. (Optional) To send an email, compose your message and click Send.

Insert a template

  1. Open Gmail and click Compose.
  2. Click More ""and thenTemplates.
  3. To insert a template, under Insert template, choose a saved template to insert in your email.
  4. Compose the rest of your message and click Send.
Tip: If you're a Workspace Individual subscriber, you can create a branded email and send it to many recipients at once. Learn more at the Gmail Help Center.
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Save time—message large groups with one address

If you send email or event invites to the same people all the time, create a Google Group for them. The next time you compose a message, send email to the group to reach everyone at once. You can use the same group to schedule Google Calendar meetings.

Learn how

Create a group email address

  1. Sign in to Google Groups.
  2. At the top, click Create group.
  3. Enter information and choose settings for the group. Here are some suggested settings:
    • Who can view conversations: Only members of the team (if you want to keep project communications private.
    • Group members: Email address of each person on the project team
    • Group managers: Email address of any team member who might need to add others to the team later.
    • Directly add members: Turn this option On so you can control who joins the group.
  4. Click Create group.
Wait a few minutes for your new group to become active before sending a message to it. Otherwise, you might get a notification that your message couldn't be delivered.

Learn more at the Google Groups Help Center

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Open Chrome email links in Gmail

Chrome Browser only

When you click email links in webpages, you can automatically open them in Gmail instead of your desktop client.

Just set up Gmail as your default email program. Clicking email links will open the Gmail compose window in a new tab with a pre-filled To: email address field.

Learn how

Make Gmail the default email program to open email links in Chrome Browser

  1. Open Chrome Browser and click More ""and thenSettings.
  2. Go to the Privacy and security section.
  3. Next to Site Settings, click the Right arrow ""
  4. Scroll down to Additional permissions and click Expand "".
  5. Next to Handlers, click the Right arrow "".
  6. At the top, make sure Allow sites to ask to become default handlers for protocols (recommended) is turned on.

    Note: Scroll down to the Blocked section and make sure that mail.google.com doesn't appear in this list.

  7. In your Chrome Browser's address bar, enter mail.google.com.
  8. Click Service handler "".
  9. Click Allowand thenDone.
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Type in another language

You can type in languages like Hindi, Arabic, or Chinese using input tools, including special keyboards. There are different types of input tools for different languages.

Learn how

Enable input tools

  1. Open Gmail. You can only use input tools from a browser and not the Gmail app.
  2. In the top right, click Settings Settings.
  3. Click Settings.
  4. In the "Language" section, click Show all language options.
  5. Check the box next to "Enable input tools."
  6. Pick the languages with which you want to use input tools, and what kind of keyboard you want to use.
  7. Click OK.
  8. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.
  9. Open your inbox.
  10. In the top right next to Settings Settings, click the language icon. If you have multiple input tools, use the down arrow to switch among them.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

Working with attachments

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Send large attachments in Drive

When you're sending a file, you can add attachments in Gmail up to 25 MB—but what if you have larger files such as videos? Save these large files in Google Drive, then insert a link to the Drive or shared drive file in your email.

Note: If your recipients don’t have viewing permissions for the file, Gmail will let you grant them access before sending.

Learn how

Insert Drive files in your Gmail messages

  1. On your computer, open Gmail.
  2. At the top left, click Compose.
  3. Click Google Drive Google Drive.
  4. Select the files you want to attach.
  5. At the bottom of the page, decide how you want to send the file:
    • Drive link: This works for any files stored in Drive, including files created using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.
    • Attachment: This only works for files that weren't created using Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, or Forms.
  6. Click Insert.
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Save and download attachments

When you receive a file in Gmail, you can download it to your computer or save a copy of it to Google Drive. 

Learn how

Download an attachment to your computer

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open an email message.
  3. Hover your mouse over the thumbnail, then click Download .

Your browser saves attachments you've downloaded in a download folder. Check your browser’s settings to see where to find your downloads. If you use Google Chrome, learn about downloading a file on Chrome.

You can also drag pictures and attachments from your email to your desktop to download them.

Save a copy of Gmail attachments to Drive

Important: Some attachments can be seen or shared, but not saved to Google Drive.

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open an email message.
  3. Hover your mouse over the thumbnail, then click Add to Drive Save to Drive.

You can see any files you've downloaded in Google Drive.

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Forward an email as an attachment

With Gmail, you can attach an email to a new message instead of forwarding separate messages. You can also attach multiple messages to one email.

Learn how

Forward one email as an attachment

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Select the emails that you want.
  3. Click More and then Forward as attachment.
  4. In the “To” field, add recipients. You can also add recipients in the “Cc” and “Bcc” fields.
  5. Add a subject.
  6. Write your message.
  7. At the bottom, click Send.

Note: To forward as an attachment, you can also right-click on a message or drag and drop the file into the body of your message.

Forward multiple emails as attachments

  1. Open Gmail.
  2. Click Compose.
  3. Check the boxes next to the messages that you want to attach and drag them to the new message window.
  4. Enter a recipient, subject, and any message text.
  5. Click Send.

Reply to an email with an attached mail

  1. On your computer, go to Gmail.
  2. Open the email and then click Reply. 
  3. At the top right of the email, click the Pop out icon Open in new (pop out) .
  4. From your inbox, select the email you want to attach. 
  5. Drag the email into your message. 
  6. At the bottom, click Send.

Learn more at the Gmail Help Center

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Use Gmail to send a PDF from Acrobat

You can send Adobe PDF files directly from Adobe Acrobat or Acrobat Reader using Gmail. To do this, you have to allow access to your Gmail account. For security reasons, your administrator might have disabled this option.

Note: Your company's IT policies must allow you to send files from Acrobat using webmail. If you're not able to use Gmail with Acrobat, contact your IT team.

Learn how
  1. In Acrobat, open your PDF file.
  2. At the top, click Fileand thenShare file or Fileand thenSend files or Attach to an email.
  3. Click Attach to Email or Send as attachment.
  4. Select Webmail.
  5. Click Select optionand thenAdd Gmail.
  6. Enter your email address and click OK.
  7. (Optional) To use Gmail as your default webmail account for Acrobat, check the Remember my choice box if prompted.
  8. Click Send.
    • If you’re using Acrobat Reader, click Yes.
    • If you’re using Acrobat, choose an option:
      • To send a link for the attachment, click Send a link (URL) to the PDF file on the Web.
      • To attach the PDF to the message, click Send a copy of the entire PDF file as an attachment.
  9. Click Next.
  10. If your email address doesn’t already appear, enter it and click Next.
  11. Enter your password and click Sign in.
  12. Click Allow.
    Your message will open as a draft with the PDF attached.
  13. In the Gmail draft message, add any other text and click Send.
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