For a good 15 years, I used only Outlook as my email platform for work. Every single company I worked for had Outlook as the email program of choice and I loved it! And then in 2014, I moved across to an organization that had gone down the Gmail route. What a culture shock that was. “How do I sort by sender?!” I remember asking myself.
Long story short, three years in and I am officially 1 of the 1 billion loyal Gmail users out there. Not only have I discovered all those tweaks hiding in the Labs section of its settings, but I have also loved experimenting with the different plugins and extensions.
Here’s a list of Gmail plugins and extensions that can help increase your productivity, eliminate time-wasting steps, and make your email communications better than ever.
- Gmail Offline – lets you read, respond, and search your Gmail messages when you’re offline (by synchronizing your Gmail inbox to your computer). You just won’t receive or send any new mail until you are re-connected and synced up.
- Boomerang – allows you to write an email now and schedule it to be sent automatically at the pre-scheduled time later. It also moves chosen messages out of your inbox until you actually need them (at which point it is returned to your inbox).
- Batched Inbox for Gmail – ensures that you only receive emails hourly or at set times in batches. Great for those of us who are easily distracted or find ourselves checking our inbox a gazillion times an hour. This way your email ends up working around you and not the other way around.
- Rapportive – displays detailed profiles of your email contacts from within your inbox by interfacing with an individual’s LinkedIn info. Amongst other things, it shows you where they’re located, their job, company, and LinkedIn profile as well as whether or not you have any shared connections.
- Evernote’s Web Clipper – super easy way of saving snippets of info from the web to your Evernote account. As a side note, I absolutely love Evernote. It’s essentially a digital notebook used to save every kind of note (text, images, audio, scanned documents, files etc.) on the cloud. It integrates well with other highly used apps like Twitter (to save your favorite tweets) and Gmail (to automatically forward filtered emails). It synchronizes across every one of your devices. It offers massive value with awesome functions like reminders, searches that read text on images, the ability to share notes … to organize your notes with tags and categories …. to clip entire web pages or screen shots of them. Definitely a blog post for another day!
- Wisestamp – creates a professional looking signature block, complete with a photograph, your contact details, social media profile links as well as other extras like shared blog posts, daily quotes, your company logo etc.
- Unroll.me – pulls up a list of all your email subscriptions and enables you to unsubscribe with one-click from every list you don’t get value out of anymore.
- Google Labs – single best place to check for experimental features! Although not ‘promised’, many of these features are worth it – if even for a little while. Accessed by clicking Settings, then Labs, I have the following enabled:
- Canned responses – great solution if you send out a lot of emails that kinda say the same thing. With this feature, you would take the time to create your ‘template’ responses, save them, then pull them up with an easy click each time you need it. This way you maintain message consistency and save yourself time!
- Preview pane – offers you a preview pane (set to present horizontally or vertically, depending on your preference) for reading emails without having to actually open them individually.
- Unread message icon – shows you how many unread messages you have in your inbox as part of the tab’s icon.
- Google calendar gadget – displays your Google Calendar in the left column of your Gmail window.
- Share Labels – Enables you to collaborate with others. To do this, install the cloudHQ Gmail Label and Email Sharing plugin. When you share a label, this plugin makes everything in that label available to the other person, directly from their own email provider.
Those are my picks for plugins and extensions that make Gmail an awesome email platform, but everyone uses their email differently.
In fact, as I researched the topic of Gmail plugins, I came across Neil Patel’s ‘22 Gmail Plugins That All Content Marketers Need to Know About’ and I already have it on my to-do list to explore Streak – which is listed as a customer relationship management tool designed specifically for Gmail.
How about you? What are your favorite Gmail tools and tricks? I’d love to hear from you in the comments.