Gmail has lots of ways to fine-tune it so that it works in just the way that you want. In this tutorial, we’ll go over the categories of advanced settings and tell you some of the things that you can do with each of them.
How to Access your Gmail Settings
- Go to www.gmail.com and log in. When you get to your main “Inbox” screen, click the settings button () button in the top-right corner, and select Settings from the drop-down menu.
- You will be taken to a screen that looks like the one below. Note the different tabs across the top of the screen; these are the different categories of advanced options. Click one to access those settings. What you’ll find in each of them will be discussed below.
General – There are many different kinds of settings that you can change here. They include what language Gmail displays in, how many conversations or contacts can be in an onscreen list at once, whether or not you have information added to the end of every email that you send, and whether or not your Gmail account will automatically reply to any emails that you receive.
Labels – This tab allows you to create, delete, and change labels that help you organize your emails more thoroughly. It also allows you to choose whether those labels are visible in your list of labels or on individual emails or conversations. You can even choose whether or not they show up in versions of Gmail on your mobile devices. Our lesson on Gmail labels has more information.
Inbox – This tab allows you to choose things like how your inbox is organized (by date, by importance, by starred, etc.), what categories of conversations that your inbox displays, and whether or not Gmail will automatically label conversations as “important” based on what you do with similar conversations.
Accounts and Import – This tab allows you to change information about your Gmail account, like what your password is or what information will help you get it back if you lose it. You can also bring contacts from other email services into Gmail, and even link your Gmail account with other email accounts used by you or your friends, family, coworkers, etc. See our lesson on importing contacts into Gmail to learn how to do some of it.
Filters – This tab allows you to create, change, and delete filters in Gmail. Filters are basically ways of telling Gmail to look for certain emails that you receive and then do something with them, like mark them as important, delete them, or put a certain label on them. See our tutorial on Gmail filters to learn more.
Forwarding and POP / IMAP – This tab allows you to set up email addresses to which you can automatically pass along any emails that you get. It also allows you to set up your Gmail account so that you can access it from a mobile device, or access it from your computer’s desktop even when your Internet connection isn’t working.
Chat – This tab allows you to set up Gmail’s ability to let you send messages instantly back and forth with your contacts who are online, and decide which of your contacts are allowed to do this with you. You can also set up Gmail to make phone and video calls to your contacts, but these services may cost money, so we would recommend not fiddling around with them too much. There are other services out there that allow you to do these things for free.
Web Clips – This just lets you see the different types of advertisements that appear on Gmail, and lets you slightly change where they show up.
Labs – In this tab, you can enable or disable custom features that users of Gmail have created in an attempt to make Gmail more functional and easier to use for everyone. If you’ve done some of our other Gmail tutorials, like How to Unsend Emails in Gmail, you’ve already seen some of these in action.
Offline – This tab allows you to install and use an application that enables you to access your Gmail account, even if your Internet connection isn’t working. Here’s the catch, though: you can only install and use it on Google’s web browser, called “Chrome”. Fortunately, you can download and install Chrome for free, so it’s not a huge deal.
Themes – Add a bit of flavor to the way that Gmail looks for you. Click on a theme to change your Gmail interface’s background to something that expresses yourself, whether that is a certain color, a naturescape, a custom graphic, or just a cool photo that you like.
Some of these you may have already seen, and some of them will be covered by us in our later tutorials. While we’d be happy if you stuck with us and learned about some of the more important settings in detail, some of them can best be learned by just experimenting with them and seeing what they do. If you’re interested, check out our next tutorial on Gmail labels, which will help you get your Gmail inbox organized.