Google Apps Tips & Tricks – #2

Today’s tips for improving your workflow:

  1. Gmail and Calendar Labs
  2. Quote Just the Text You Want in Your Reply

Tip #1 – Google Labs We Love

What are Google Labs?

According to Google:

“Gmail Labs are experimental, pre-release features that users can enable to add key business functionality to their Inboxes. When Gmail Labs are enabled, users can go to a Labs tab in their Gmail Settings to turn on the Labs they want to use—Labs that let them recall a message they just sent, enter a pre-composed response, and more.”

- Google Apps Documentation & Support

This means that Google Labs are like plug-ins or add-ons to Google Apps – they increase the functionality of the core application.  You can enable Google Labs to give you increased options for styling the text in your mail, quickly jump to a specific date in your calendar, quickly paste pre-formatted text into an email, and much more.

Where do I find Google Labs?

    1. In Gmail, Google Calendar, and Google Drive, the Settings options are found under the gear icon in the upper right corner of the page.
    2. Select the Labs link at the top of the Settings page.
    3. Use keywords in the Labs search box to find interesting labs.

Some of Our Favorite Labs:

In Gmail: 

      • Preview Pane: creates a panel layour to view email that is reminiscent of Outlook.
      • Undo Send: gives the user up to 30 seconds to realize she/he forgot something in an email (like the attachment, maybe?) and recall the email before it is sent to anyone.
      • Canned Responses: Ever find your self sending the same instructions or other set of information over and over.  This lab helps you avoid digging out the old email to copy and paste.
      • Right Side Chat: Moves the chat gadget to a column on the right, leaving more room for the labels list in the left column.
      • Default Text Styling: more styling options for email body text.
      • Google Calendar Gadget: adds a box in the left column that displays your calendar events.

In Google Calendar:

      • Jump to Date: allows you to enter a specific date and your calendar moves directly to that time.
      • Gentle Reminders: turn off the pop up notifications for events and get a subtle yellow box in the lower right of your page reminding you of upcoming events.
      • Event Flair: icons for your calendar events to add a sense of style.
      • Background image: Don’t like the default look? Spice up your calendar with a background image.

Tip #2 – Quote Just the Text You Want in Your Reply

Does it bug you have the whole email in a reply when you are really only referring to a single part of the original email?  In a couple of easy steps, you can reduce the long emails full of copied text to only the part about which you are interested:

    1. In the email that you received, highlight the text that you would like to quote in your reply.
    2. Click the Reply button.
    3. Add your response above or below the quoted text in the email.

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      Note: click on the image for a larger version of this screen shot)

OIT will be adding more tips and tricks as the transition to Google Apps proceeds.  If you missed the first installment of the series, you can find it on our blog: Google Apps Tips & Tricks – A New Series from OIT.

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