If you've never looked into using any of Gmails Lab features — you're totally missing out!
There are tons of cool new features Gmail is testing out on a regular basis — and until they make them permanent, you can find them all in the Labs section of your Gmail account.
First things first — how do you actually find the Labs within your Gmail account?
It's really simple. All you need to do is click on the "gear" icon in the top right corner of your inbox, then click on "settings", the click on "Labs".
Once you do that, you'll see the whole list of labs and can activate any labs that look interesting to you. If you find you don't like them, just go back and deactivate them. Remember to click "SAVE" at the bottom of the page once you take an action — otherwise you're changes will not be saved.
Now that you know HOW to find the labs, let me share 5 of my FAVORITE Gmail Labs that not only save me a bunch of time and energy, but also my sanity…
1. Canned Responses:
I get hundreds of emails every week and many of these emails have similar requests — so instead of spending hours each day responding to many of the same questions and requests, I simply created a handful of “canned responses” and insert which ever response best fits the question.
Now every time I get a request asking for information about my services, my website, my advertising rates, etc. I simply insert the canned response, spend 30 seconds personalizing the message or tweaking it a little bit, and then hit “Send”.
I don’t think I need to explain how this lab saves me oodles of time!
As far as I know, you can create as many different canned responses as you'd like — and it's really easy to alter them, update them, or change them whenever necessary.
2. Undo Send:
If you haven’t installed this lab yet, do it… NOW!
Ok, now that it’s installed, let me tell you why I love it so much! Have you ever accidentally hit “send” before you were ready to send an email? Well, this lab gives you a “grace period” of a few seconds so you can quickly hit “UNDO” and it won’t send your email.
It not only saves me a bunch of time trying to explain my mis-sent emails, it also saves me lots of embarrassment!
3. Quick Links:
This lab adds a little box to the left column (right under the rest of your labels) that gives you 1-click access to any bookmarkable URL in Gmail. You can use it for saving frequent searches, important individual messages, and more.
This lab is really helpful for me when I'm working on a specific project or with a couple clients at a time. I can create quick links for those client's email files (labels) or for the all the emails I get related to a certain project, and then have instant access to them right from my email dashboard.
No more scrolling through mass amounts of emails, no more clicking through labels and sub-labels, they are right there in one click — and when I'm done working with those clients or on that project, I can remove the quick links and set up another one if needed.
4. Auto Advance:
The Auto Advance Lab automatically shows the next email (instead of the inbox) after you delete, archive, or file an email.
Even though this only saves me a few seconds and one click of my mouse, that time adds up after hundreds of emails each week. Plus, it keeps me stay focused on the "next" email instead of getting distracted by everything else going on in my inbox.
5. Google Maps Previews in Mail:
This lab might not be useful for everyone, but if you frequently need to drive to various locations and have the addresses and other contact information in your email, this lab will save you a ton of time. It automatically shows Google Map previews of all the addresses found in an email — then you can either send the directions to your phone or just keep them in your email and access them from any mobil device with wifi.
I've even used this lab a bunch of times for buying things on Craigslist or finding my way in an unfamiliar area — saving me lots of time and stress!
The best part about all of the Gmail Labs is that they are free and they only take 2 seconds to install. And as I mentioned above, if you find that a particular lab isn't working for you, just take 2 more seconds to deactivate it.
I know I've been pleasantly surprised by how much time and energy these labs have saved me over the past few years — I think you might be too!
What are your favorite Gmail Labs — or any other Gmail features?