Google Mail and Calendar Boot Camp
Google’s web-based email service (Gmail) has been around since 2004 and takes a slightly different approach to email. Related messages are grouped together into “conversations”, rather than just displayed in a long list. Instead of sorting messages into folders, you can use “labels” to categorize messages, even assigning multiple labels to the same message. Google Mail also offers a variety of different possible views of your Inbox, allowing you to customize your email to the way that you work. You can even access your Google Mail from your phone or tablet.
When you first open Google Mail, the screen is divided into two basic areas; the Sidebar and the Message List.
The Sidebar is where you will find the “Compose” button to create a new message. You will also find links to view different categories of messages, such as Drafts, Sent Mail, etc. If you click on “Mail” above the Compose button, you will be able to quickly jump between Mail, Contacts and Tasks.
The message list displays (by default) up to 50 messages/conversations at one time. The type of messages displayed depends on what is selected on the left in the Sidebar. For example, if you select “Sent Mail”, you will only see messages/conversations in the message list that have been sent by you to another recipient.
Above the message list on the right is the “Settings” gear icon . You can click on the gear icon to access a variety of settings and options, as well as the built-in “Help”
Like other email programs and services, Google Mail allows you to format the text of messages you send, however these tools are hidden by default.
Like other email programs and services, Google Mail allows you to attach files to a message and send them to other people. Attachments can be up to 25MB in size. Some types of attachments may be disallowed by your email administrator.
Google Mail automatically saves your messages as you work on them, so you don’t need to worry if you get interrupted in the middle of typing a message. Messages that you are working on but have not sent can be found by clicking on the “Drafts” link in the Sidebar.
To continue working on a Draft message, just click on it to open it.
To open and read a message, just click on it in the list.
Unread messages appear BOLD in the list.
When looking at the message list, you can identify a “conversation” by a message that has more than one name listed and a number in parentheses that indicates how many messages are part of the conversation.
When you open a conversation, you will see all the messages listed in chronological order.
To expand all the messages in a conversation at once, click the “Expand all” button above the messages.
To reply to a message, open the message and then click the “Reply” button
Alternatively, you can also click the “Reply” link in the empty text box underneath the message
To reply to everyone who received a message (Reply to all), open the message, click the triangle to the right of the Reply button and select “Reply to all” from the menu
Alternatively, you can also click the “Reply to all” link in the empty text box underneath the message
To Forward a message to someone else (including any attachments), open the message, click the triangle to the right of the Reply button and select “Forward” from the menu
Alternatively, you can also click the “Forward” link in the empty text box underneath the message
There are a number of various settings within Google Mail that will allow you personalize the service, add functionality, and even make the service more useful. Here are a number of settings to check out.
A default “signature” can be automatically added to the bottom of each email that you send. To create a signature:
Google Mail has a feature that allows you to “Star” messages for further follow up or to indicate importance. By default, only a single yellow star is available. You can select additional colors and icons to use if one star style isn’t enough.
Google sometimes introduces new functionality under the heading of “Labs”. Mail Labs are features that may be unstable and may eventually disappear. However, there are some Labs that are particularly useful and are worth enabling. The most helpful Mail Lab may be “Undo send”.
The “Undo send” Lab allows you to pull back a message for a short period of time after you sent it. It’s extremely useful if you accidentally send a message before you are ready, if you forget to include something in the message, or if there is a mistake in the message. The amount of time from when you click “Send” and when you can “Undo send” is adjustable from 5 to 30 seconds.
Another useful Lab is the “Google Calendar Gadget”. When you enable the Google Calendar Gadget, a small list of your upcoming Calendar events appear in the Mail Sidebar.
Still another useful Lab is “Right-side Chat”. If you frequently use the chat feature of Google Mail, it may be helpful to move the chat list to the right-side of the Google Mail screen so that it is out of the way of the Labels list and always available.
Because Google Mail offers so much storage, you do not need to be concerned about deleting old messages to save space. You can keep messages indefinitely and then be able to find them using the powerful search capabilities. However, keeping thousands of messages can get messy, so Google Mail has some very unique tools and features to help organize and manage your messages.
If you want to keep your mail for future reference, you do not need to keep the messages in your Inbox to do so. You can “Archive” messages which will remove them from your Inbox, but will keep them in the “All Mail” view so that you can find them in the future. So, if you want to keep your mail but also like to keep your Inbox neat, Archive, don’t Delete!
You can also Archive multiple messages right from the Message List
When you delete a message in Google Mail, the message is moved to the “Trash” label where it remains for 30 days until is deleted permanently. You can move a message back to the Inbox from the Trash any time during those 30 days.
You can use “Stars” to flag important messages for future follow up or as a visual reminder. You can also use the Mail Stars (Superstars) settings to add additional colors and styles.
Unlike other email programs and services, Google Mail does not use folders for sorting and organizing messages. Google Mail instead uses “Labels”. Essentially, Labels can do everything that folders do, but are more flexible because more than one Label can be assigned to a message.
There are a number of different methods to create and manage Mail Labels. Here is how to create a Label when you are reading a message.
You can also create a new Label right from the Sidebar. Here’s how:
You can manage Labels to decide which ones are displayed in the Sidebar, including the built-in “System Labels” like Drafts, Spam, Trash and All Mail
Filters are a tool in Google Mail that allow you to automate your mail. For example; you could create a filter to automatically Star messages from your principal, a filter to automatically Label messages from a list-serv or mailing list, or a filter to prevent messages from a specific person from being sent to Spam.
Google Mail offers a number of different “Inbox Types” to allow users the flexibility to read messages in the method that best fits their workflow. You can switch between the different types of Inboxes at any time, so feel free to experiment and try them out.
Google Mail has built-in “Help” that is available at any time. To access the Help information:
Google Calendar is a web-based tool that helps you stay organized by keeping track of meetings, events, and appointments, as well as setting reminders and notifications. You can share your calendar with colleagues to allow them to see your schedule or just what times you’re busy and unavailable. You can also access your calendar from your phone or tablet. You can even create a calendar for a specific purpose and embed it on a webpage or blog!
The Google Calendar screen is divided into three basic sections: the Sidebar where you can create events and view all calendars that you own or manage; the Toolbar where you can navigate the calendar and set the view; and the Calendar View where you can view the calendar and events in several different formats.
You can look at Google Calendar in one of five different views; Day, Week, Month, 4 Days, and Agenda. Simply click the view of your choice in the Toolbar to select that view.
If you want Google Calendar to always open in a specific view, you can set the “Default view” in the Calendar Settings.
There are a number of different ways to create new events using Google Calendar. Here are a few that you may want to try.
One of the simplest ways to create an event is to click directly on the Calendar
If you have an event that has a lot of details, you may find it more efficient to use the “Create” button
The “Quick Add” feature of Google Calendar allows you to enter information about an event in regular language and Google will interpret that information and add the event to your calendar.
You can also create events that last all day, rather than for a specific amount of time.
If you have an event that repeats at a regular interval (every day, every week, every month, etc.), you can create a single event and indicate how often it should repeat, saving you time and data entry. You can even specify when the repeating event should end.
One of the most useful features within Google Calendar is the ability to invite guests to an event. If the guest is using Google Calendar, they will be able to respond to your invitation and add the event to their calendar right from the email invitation. If the guest is not using Google Calendar, they will still receive an email invitation and can respond manually.
You can check on the status of your guests responses to an invitation at any time.
You can edit, change or delete any existing event that you originally created or have the privileges to change.
There are number of various settings within Google Mail that will allow you personalize the service, add functionality, and even make the service more useful. Here are a number of settings to check out.
By default, Google Calendar automatically adds events to your calendar when you receive an invitation from someone, whether you have responded to the invitation or not. This can be very annoying and clutter up your calendar pretty quickly, particularly if you use Google+. You may want to turn this setting off
By default, Google Calendar automatically displays events on your calendar , even if you have declined the invitation. This can be very annoying and clutter up your calendar pretty quickly, particularly if you use Google+. You may want to turn this setting off
Google Calendar supports a variety of different reminders and notifications. For example, you can choose to receive reminders of an upcoming event via email, a pop-up on your computer, or even by text message on your phone. You can choose to receive email notifications when someone invites you to an event, changes an event, or responds to an invitation you sent them. You can even have Google Calendar email you your Daily Agenda each morning.
You can adjust the default reminder settings for all your events. Just remember that these reminders apply to ALL your events and that these reminders will ONLY be sent to you and not to others you invite to events.
You can choose which types of event notifications you want to receive. For example, maybe you want to be notified when you are invited to an event and when an event is changed, but you don’t want to receive a notification when someone responds to your invitations. You can also choose to receive a daily agenda sent you via email each morning.
Google Calendar offers a number of different options for sharing your calendar. You can keep your calendar completely private, allow users from your organization to see some information, or make it completely public. You can also add additional sharing permissions for specific users and allow other users to manage your calendar for you.
There are two areas where sharing options can be set; overall sharing settings for the public and your organization and specific sharing settings for individual users.
Completely Private - You can set your calendar to be completely private so that none of your calendar information, not even free/busy information, will be available to anyone except those people you specifically added to share your calendar. To have a private calendar, you will need to disable sharing your calendar with the public or anyone in your organization.
Limited Calendar View - Sometimes you want people to be able to check your schedule and see only the times you're busy. In the 'free/busy' view, someone will only see blocks of time marked as 'busy' for times when you have entries in your calendar. They will not be able to see the name of the event or any of the event details. To allow people to see when you are free/busy, you will need to share your calendar, but only allow the “See only free/busy” setting.
Full Calendar View - This is useful if you want users to see your calendar and events and invite you to events, but do not want users to see individual events on your calendar that have been marked as private. Use the “See all event details” setting to allow this level of access.
Full Calendar Access - This level can only be given to specific users and allows them to add and make changes to events. To allow users to have full access to your calendar, you need to give them “Make changes to events” privileges.
Full Calendar Ownership - This level can only be given to specific users within your organization and allows them to add and make changes to events. It also allows them to share your calendar with other users. To allow users to have full ownership of your calendar, you need to give them “Make changes to events AND manage sharing” privileges. Be extremely careful giving users this level of access!
The first sharing settings are for the other users in your organization and for the public. If you ever want to embed a calendar in a public web page, you will need to make the calendar viewable to the public, including event details.
The second level of sharing settings are for specific users. This is where you can provide access to specific users to add and makes changes to events on your calendar.
If you have a website or blog, you can embed a live view of your calendar on the site. This is a great way to share event and schedule information with parents and students. In order to embed a calendar, you first need to allow the public to “See all event details.”
Google Mail and Calendar Boot Camp Paul Barrette