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By Bonnie Bills | Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Three tips for managing your Gmail inbox

Between personal e-mails, work e-mails, mailing lists, offers, and Facebook system alerts, you are probably getting hundreds of e-mails per week. Opening a crowded inbox can an intimidating and stressful experience.

If you use Gmail, you can employ labels, filters, and inbox styles to efficiently manage your messages. Below, lynda.com author and Gmail maven Susan Cline shares a few tips to help get you started.

Tip 1: Create filters to archive and label mailing list e-mails.

Reading the content of weekly newsletters, special offers, and digest e-mails is helpful, but it can be distracting every time a message from Zappos or Corn Dog Lovers pops into the top of your inbox. Use the Filter feature to create a filter that automatically archives the messages (that is, skips the inbox) and labels them. You can see the number of unread messages in each label by looking at the bold number in parenthesis. During your lunch break or down time you can peruse your mailing list e-mails.

In Gmail Essential Training, Susan demonstrates how to create Gmail archive filters.

Tip 2: Memorize a few keyboard shortcuts.

Clearing out your inbox can be time consuming when you are using the mouse. You select the message, then find the appropriate button on the toolbar to delete, archive, or label the message. Gmail has dozens of keyboard shortcuts to help you quickly navigate, delete, star, and label your messages.

Shortcuts to memorize include:

R – reply

A- reply to all

F – forward

R – archive

L – apply label

# – delete message

You can view all the keyboard shortcuts by holding down Shift+Forward Slash (/) when you are in your Gmail inbox.

In her new course, Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to employ Gmail’s keyboard shortcuts to quickly move through your inbox.

Tip 3: Send canned responses for common replies.

Do you find yourself writing the same response over and over? Perhaps you are managing a job hunt and sending e-mail confirmations for resumes that you receive. Perhaps you send your clients your rate sheets and terms via e-mail. Stop wasting time typing, and start using Canned Responses. The Canned Responses lab allows you to create and save default reply messages. Then when you want to respond to a message with a canned response, you just select the message from the Canned Responses drop-down menu.

In Gmail for Power Users, Susan shows how to create and send Canned Responses.

If you want more e-mail managements strategies and you’re a member of the lynda.com Online Training Library┬«, Susan devotes a whole chapter to managing your Gmail inbox in Gmail for Power Users. Happy organizing!

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