Google Wants You To Become A Gmail Ninja. Or Look Like A Huge Nerd Trying.


Gmail is far and away the best online email management system out there right now. But a lot of people still use it like a regular email service, never touching some of its power-features that can really help with email overload. So Google launched a new Tips area of the site today to serve as a reference point for how to become what it calls a “Gmail Ninja.

It breaks the tips down into “White belt,” “Green belt,” “Black belt,” and “Gmail master,” based on your level of expertise. While the White and Green belt stuff is mostly for neophytes, there are some good tips in there that you may have forgotten along the way while using Gmail. The later belts are the ones that contain some of the good stuff though, particularly some of the big keyboard and search shortcuts, that I always forget to use.

Google has also made a PDF version of the list for you to print out and “pin to your wall,” which would undoubtedly draw a lot of ridicule, but could be useful. And if you really want to be ridiculed, if you’re one of the first 1,024 to fill out a form on this site, you’ll get a laminated version of the guide for free. If you miss out, you can still buy one for $1.25, which would bring yet more ridicule.

Here’s an overview of the tips:

White Belt

  1. Use stars to indicate a note is special.
  2. Reply by chat.
  3. Organize your email with labels.
  4. Clean up your inbox using “Move to” — it works just like folders.
  5. Search your mail instead of sorting.
  6. Archive messages to tidy up your inbox without deleting anything.
  7. Import your email and contacts from your old address.
  8. Spice up your inbox with a theme.
  9. Join forces to rid the world of spam.

Green Belt

  1. Talk face-to-face with video chat.
  2. Use Tasks as a handy to-do list.
  3. Use filters to control the flow of incoming mail.
  4. Highlight important emails using filters and colored labels.
  5. Send email from your phone.
  6. Preview attachments without downloading them.
  7. Avoid email gaffes with Undo Send.
  8. Tell your friends what you’re up to with a status message.
  9. Never forget an attachment again.
  10. Tell everyone when you’ll be back with vacation responder.
  11. Nothing says “I’m excited” like a bouncing happy face emoticon.

Black Belt

  1. Get through your mail faster with keyboard shortcuts.
  2. Use search operators to find the exact message you’re looking for.
  3. Filter your email with personalized email addresses.
  4. See which messages were sent right to you.
  5. Make Gmail go where the internet doesn’t.
  6. Quickly add multiple attachments to an email.
  7. Add “(EOM)” to the subject of one-liner messages.
  8. Set up canned responses instead of typing the same reply over and over again.
  9. Click less and watch more using YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, and Yelp previews.
  10. Use quick links to get anywhere in Gmail with one click.
  11. Send and archive in one step.

Gmail Master

  1. Bring Google Calendar and Docs to Gmail.
  2. Send SMS text messages right from Gmail.
  3. Forget to sign out of a public computer? Sign out remotely.
  4. Personalize your RSS feeds in web clips.
  5. Access your mail via https.
  6. Search for superstars by name.
  7. Use Gmail on your own domain.