How to Create an Account on Gmail

The first step to using Gmail is creating a Google Account. This will allow you to access and use all of Google’s different services without having to log into each one of them separately. And, of course, one of the services that you can log into with a Google Account is Gmail!  Here’s how to do it.

  1. Open your Internet browser, click the address bar, and type in It will redirect you to a page that looks like the one below. Click Create Account to get started.
  2. You’ll want to pay attention to the box on the right-hand side here. Click in the boxes and type in the information requested on your keyboard, or select it by clicking on it. You’ll need to provide your first and last name, a user name (between 6 and 30 characters), a password, a copy of the password, your birthday (month, day, and year) and your gender. You can also supply your phone number and previous email address, if applicable.

    Next, pass the security check by clicking in the box marked “Type the Text” and type in the numbers and/or letters you see in the image above the box. Then click the drop-down menu marked “Location” and choose the country you live in. Finally, click the check box below that to say that you agree to use your Gmail account in accordance with Google’s rules.

    When you’re done all of that, click Next Step.

  3. The next screen will show you what your profile picture will look like, and ask you if you want to set up your account profile in detail.  If you want to skip this and just go right to Gmail, click No Thanks.
  4. The new screen will confirm your account creation by showing you your new Gmail email address.  Just click Continue to Gmail to proceed.

After this, you will be taken to your main “Inbox” screen. Congratulations! You now have your very own Gmail account! Be sure to check out our other tutorials to see all of the neat stuff that you can do with Gmail! Better yet, use what you now know to help your friends or family set up their own accounts, if they don’t have one already.

How to Use Gmail: A Brief Tour of Gmail

If you have followed our Gmail course so far (especially our last tutorial on how to create a Gmail account), you now have a brand new Gmail account. Great! So now the question is: how do you get Gmail to work for you? In this tutorial, besides showing you how to log into Gmail, we’ll also go over some of the basic features of Gmail’s interface. You don’t need to remember them all; we’re going to be looking at quite a few of them in more detail in our later tutorials, so you might just want to use this tutorial as a reference.

Logging into Gmail

  1. Go to in your web browser of choice. You will be redirected to a screen like the one below.

    Gmail sign in screen

  2. Click in the box marked “Email” and type in your Gmail email address.
  3. Click in the box marked “Password” and type in your password.
  4. When you have filled in both boxes, click Sign In.

You are now signed into your Gmail account, and are ready to start using Gmail. In the rest of the lesson, we’ll go over the basics of some of Gmail’s features to help you get started. Remember, we have full step-by-step tutorials on most of these features, so be sure to check some of them out if you want to learn more!

Getting started with Gmail: the 12 main features you need to know

If you successfully logged in, you will see a screen similar to the one below (though it probably won’t be as crowded, if you’re logging in for the first time). Congratulations! You are now at your main “Inbox” screen. Let’s take a look at some of the different areas and buttons that you should be familiar with.

Gmail Inbox

1. Search bar

Click here and type something in, and then press enter or click the blue magnifying glass (or one of the options that appears from the drop-down menu) to search for it. You can find emails based on their sender, recipient, label, subject, and more. You can even search for something on the Internet from here using Google Search.

Gmail search bar

2. Function selector

You’ll mainly click here to switch between your mailboxes and your contacts list.  We’ll have a full tutorial on how to use your Gmail contacts list, so if you want some more detailed information, check out our tutorial on Gmail contacts.

Gmail function selector

3. Compose

One of the most important buttons, and one you will use frequently. When you want to write a new email from scratch (as opposed to forwarding or replying to one), this is where you’ll click first.

Gmail Compose email button

Since this is something you’ll be doing a lot with Gmail, be sure to check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to compose and send emails with Gmail.

4. Labels

This shows you some of the different ways that Gmail has organized the emails that you have sent, received, or are planning on sending. Click on one to see the emails associated with that label. Some of them, such as “Inbox,” “Starred,” “Important,” “Sent Mail,” “Drafts,” “Spam,” and “Trash” come as defaults. Others you can create for yourself. 

Gmail labels

5. Quick contacts

If you have someone in your contacts list, you can click their name to quickly start a new email with them as a recipient. Or you can click in the box labelled “Search people…” and type in a person’s name to find them in your contacts list if they don’t immediately appear here.

View of Quick Contacts in Gmail

6. Quick selector

Clicking the drop-down menu with the check box inside it (but not the check box itself) allows you to quickly select groups of emails. In addition to deselecting any emails that are already selected, you can select:

  • all of your emails
  • just ones that you’ve read
  • just ones that you haven’t read
  • just ones that you have marked with a star
  • just ones that you haven’t marked with a star

Gmail quick selector

Clicking in the check box inside the button will automatically select all of the emails displayed on the page, or deselect any that you’ve already selected.

7. Refresh

If you’re expecting an email and it hasn’t shown up in your inbox yet, click the Refresh button to tell Gmail to prioritize looking for any new mail that’s coming your way.

Gmail refresh button

8. List skip

By default, Gmail will only display 50 emails in a list at any given time (you can change this in your settings – see the next feature below). Click the left or right arrows to display to the previous 50 emails or next 50 emails (in reverse chronological order), respectively. Additionally, you can also move your mouse cursor over the current vs. total emails indicator next to these arrows and then click Oldest or Newest to skip to either your least-recent or most-recent emails.

Gmail List Skip

9. Settings

Click the gear icon to select options for what your main “Inbox” screen looks like, ask for additional help, let Google know what you think of Gmail, and access advanced options.

Gmail settings button

10. Account

Clicking on your profile picture allows you to select options for viewing and changing the details about your Gmail account, including what your profile picture looks like. You can also switch to another account (if you have more than one), or you can log out of Gmail.

Gmail account

11. Conversations

This is a list of all of your emails with a certain label or within a certain category, based on what you are choosing to view right now. Click on one anywhere in the right side of the screen (i.e. not on one of the three buttons at the far left) to open it.

Gmail conversation-style emails

12. Google Apps

This square grid button opens a pop-up window of all of the Google apps you can access for free with a Gmail account. You can use free cloud-based storage on your Google Drive, use the Google Office Suite for documents, or even store your images with Google Photos. Google has some of the best free apps on the market, so be sure to check them out.

Google Apps button

Sorting your Gmail conversations

“Conversations” is a unique feature of Gmail that automatically groups together emails with the same subject that are sent back and forth between the same people over and over. So even if you get new emails that have different subjects, you’ll always know when you have a new message on a particular topic, and be able to review what has already been said about that topic.

Let’s have a detailed look at how a conversation appears in a message list. When you select an email by clicking in the check box on the left side of it, more options will appear on your screen. You can select one or more conversations at a time, and this is what you can do with them once you have:

Gmail coversation - opened

People and email count

Shows you a few of the people (besides you) who have sent or received emails in this conversation, and how many emails are part of this conversation (if there are more than one).

People involved in Gmail conversation

Subject and preview

Shows you the original subject of the conversation, as well as a short preview of the most recent email received as part of that conversation.

Gmail subject and preview of email

Date received/Attachment included

The date which you received the most recent email in this conversation. There will be a little paperclip icon beside the date if an email in the conversation has an attachment. 

Date email was received/if attachment is included in email


Click the check box beside a conversation to select or deselect it (it’s selected here).  Selecting a conversation opens up additional options in the menu across the top.  You can also select multiple conversations at once.

Gmail selector


Click the star beside a conversation to add a star to it, or to remove a star from it. This is your own personal way of telling yourself which conversations you want to pay special attention to.

Gmail star to favorite a conversation


While you have a conversation selected, click the Archive button (the box with the arrow pointing down, as shown here) to archive it.  This removes it from your main inbox, so it won’t get in the way of emails that you need to pay attention to right now.  This won’t delete it or remove any labels (other than “Inbox”) from it, though, so you can still find it if you need it again for some reason.  If you’ve selected multiple conversations at once, you can archive them all at once.

Gmail Archive button

Report spam

Think someone’s sending you an email just to advertise something or try to run a scam?  Select it, and click the Report Spam button (the octagon with the exclamation point in the middle) to send it to your “Spam” folder.  This will also alert Gmail, so if they see this email getting reported enough times, they will automatically send it to the “Spam” folder of anyone who receives it.  They may even send all messages from that sender to people’s “Spam” folders.  So you’ll not only be protecting yourself, but you’ll also be helping to protect everyone who used Gmail!

Gmail Report Spam button

If you send a conversation here by mistake, don’t worry.  It will stay in your “Spam” folder for at least 30 days, so you can find it and move it back to your “Inbox” folder.  (We’ll have more on moving emails between folders below.)

If you want to learn more about how to stay safe while using Gmail, and more about how Gmail protects you, be sure to check out our tutorial on how to stay safe while using Gmail.


If you don’t need a conversation anymore, but don’t consider it to be junk mail, select it and then click the Delete button (fittingly, represented by a trash can) to send it to your “Trash” folder. If you send a conversation here by mistake, don’t worry. It will stay in your “Trash” folder for at least 30 days, so you can find it and move it back to your “Inbox” folder. (Don’t worry — moving emails between folders is what we’ll be covering next!)

Gmail Delete icon

Move to folder

When you have a conversation selected, click the Move to Folder button (identifiable by the little file folder icon), and then click where you want it to go.  This will apply the label that you select to that conversation, while at the same time removing all other labels.  This means that you will have to search for conversations with that specific label if you want to find it again.  But at least it won’t be cluttering up places where you don’t want it to be.

Gmail Move to Folder button

Apply label

When you have a conversation selected, click the Apply Label button (the little tag shown here), and then click which label you want to apply to it (or remove from it).  This won’t remove any other labels from it, so you can still find it in places like your “Inbox” folder, as well as when you search for any messages with that label. Use this feature to help remind yourself what your conversations are about, while still keeping them in places where you can get at them.

Gmail Apply Label button


Clicking More while you have a conversation selected will give you additional options. Besides marking or unmarking a conversation with a star or importance sticker, you can do things like mark the conversation as being read or unread, create an email filter based on the conversation, or stop yourself from getting any more emails in this conversation.

Gmail More Otpions button

How to get the most out of Gmail emails

Now, let’s take a look at what a conversation looks like when you open it. Some of the features are the same as when you select them from the main inbox, so we’ll just point out the new ones for you.

Gmail email - opened

Back to inbox

When you’re done looking at a conversation, click the Back to Inbox button (the arrow that turns left) to go back to your main “Inbox” screen, right where you left off.

Gmail Back to Inbox button


You can click the “importance” sticker beside a conversation’s subject to either add it or remove it and tell Gmail that this conversation is important or unimportant, respectively.  (This helps make your conversations a bit easier to find when you search for them.) You can also click on the name of any label that this conversation has to search for all conversations with that label, or click the “X” beside a label to remove it from this conversation.

Gmail Subject/Importance/Labels

Expand All/Collapse All, Print All, and Open in New Window

Click the Expand All/Collapse All button (the box with the arrow pointing straight up or straight down, as shown here) to open up all emails in this conversation so that you can read them, or shrink them all back to previews so that you can pick which ones you want open at any one time.

You can also click the Print All button (the printer icon) to print all emails in the current conversation. Make sure that your printer is on and connected to your computer, and that you’ve set it up correctly. There’s also an Open in New Window button (the box with a diagonal arrow) that you can click to move this conversation to its own window, leaving you free to do something else in your main window.

Gmail Expand/Collapse/Print All buttons


Here you can see some information on the people who have sent or received emails in this conversation.

Participants in your Gmail email

Collapsed email

This is a previous email in the conversation that has been shrunk to a preview, in order to let you concentrate on other emails in this conversation (or at least the most recent one).  Click on the sender’s name or the date it was sent to open it up so that you can see its full contents. Click in either of these places again to collapse the email again.

If there are several emails within a conversation, some may be collapsed so that you can’t even see their previews. Simply click [X] Older Messages to expand these emails into their preview forms. You can expand them further from there.

Collapsed email

Message details

Click the arrow beside the list of an email’s recipients to see further details about that particular email. These include the email addresses of its sender, recipient(s), or carbon copy recipient(s); when it was sent, its subject, and why Gmail thinks it’s important or unimportant.

Gmail message details button - see more information about the email


Notice that you can click the star beside an individual email to add a star to it or remove a star from it, as opposed to doing so for the entire conversation.

Gmail star icon - favorite a conversation

Email options

Click the arrow on the right highlighted in the screenshot below to bring up a list of options for an individual email.  You can reply to it, forward it, print it, create a filter based on it, add its sender to your list of contacts, delete it, report it as junk mail, or try to translate it or unscramble it if you can’t read it.  Click the button to the left of the arrow to apply the currently-selected action to your email (by default, it’s “Reply”).

Gmail email options

Show/hide trimmed text

If there’s a part of the conversation that gets repeated over and over, like an email that’s being replied to or someone’s signature, Gmail may hide it just to make emails easier to read. You can click the Show Trimmed Content button (represented by an ellipsis, “…”) to display or hide any of this content.

Gmail Show/Hide Trimmed Text button

Reply box

You can click in this box and then click the arrow that appears in the top-left corner to choose to reply to an email, forward it, or send a reply to it to every member of the conversation. Then click in the main box and type your message, and click the Send button to send it off (or click the Discard Draft button, represented by the trash can, to delete your message).

Note that, by default, this action will be applied to the most recently received email in the conversation. You can respond to a specific email by using the “Email Options” button mentioned above.

Gmail Reply box

We’ve also got step-by-step tutorials in our Gmail course on how to reply to emails, how to forward emails, and how to unsend an email in Gmail. Be sure to check them out if you want some more detail on some of these functions.


Okay, now that you know how to log into Gmail, and have a general idea of what each of its main screens look like and what can be done on each of them, it’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty of how to make Gmail do specific things.

Gmail Review

Is Gmail the right email service for you? Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages listed below, and read our "bottom line" analysis, and then decide for yourself.


  • Gmail is free mail – Most of the features in Gmail don't cost any money to use.

  • Plenty of storage – Gmail offers lots of computer memory with which to store all of your emails, more than most of its competitors. It also offers a lot of computer memory with which to create emails, so you can jam them full of stories, pictures, videos, or anything else that you need. You can pay to increase the amount of computer memory in your Gmail account, but the amount that you get for free is so large that you probably won't need to do this anyway.

  • Industry leaders in safety and security – Gmail's built-in anti-virus system is very effective, so the chance that something on Gmail will sneak onto your computer and wreck it is slim to none.

  • Access to Google apps – Gmail connects to a lot of other services run by Google, almost all of which are free to use. This means that you can use the likes of Google Drive, Google Maps, and YouTube without needing to log into or out of them one-by-one. Just log into one of them, and you can fully access the rest of them.

  • Cutting-edge features – Gmail allows some of its more tech-savvy enthusiasts to create experimental new features, which Gmail users like you get to try out for free. We'll be going over a few of them in our tutorials, like how to cancel a sent email or create a standardized email that you can just call up and send whenever you need it. 


  • Difficult to learn the organization system – The ways in which Gmail organizes your emails, like "labels" and "conversations," are handy once you know how to use them. However, they might take a bit of work to learn and understand at first. This is especially true if you're used to using email services and other computer interfaces that rely on simple "folder" conventions with which to organize stuff. Gmail does allow you to use a "folders" convention if you want, but it's nowhere near as functional as Gmail's other organizational systems.

  • Compressed space for composing emails – The windows in which you write new emails and replies to other emails are somewhat cramped. Gmail likely does this so that you can keep an eye on things in the background, like what the email you're replying to said, or if any new emails have come in. But this does sometimes make it hard to concentrate on an email that you're writing, much less tell it apart from anything else on the screen.

  • Advertisements – Though use of the service is free, Gmail will clutter up the screen with advertisements. Google has tried to make these ads as unobtrusive as possible, but they're still there, and they're still annoying. Also, the ads that you see are based on the content of emails that you send or receive, which is kind of unsettling in terms of privacy.

The Bottom Line — 9 / 10

Gmail is a great email service. By far its biggest advantage is the amount of computer memory space that it affords you — for free, no less — for both storing and creating your emails. Its virus and junk email filtering, connectivity with other Google services, and availability of user-made add-ons are also some of its stronger points. Its main drawbacks are that its interface takes some getting used to (but is pretty intuitive once you get the hang of it), as well as that the advertising Gmail uses to support its "free-to-use" model cuts into its privacy and ease of use a little bit.


And those are the pros and cons of Gmail! If you like what you see, and think you may want to start using Gmail, be sure to check out our next tutorial on how to create a Gmail account. Our Gmail course will also teach you how to use Gmail in such detail that you’ll become an instant pro!

Is Gmail Free to Use for Email?

If you’ve followed our course on Gmail until now, you’ve read up on what Gmail is and how it works, and you know how to keep yourself safe while using the email service. Another question that you may want to ask is: “How much is Gmail?” In this article, we’ll answer that question by outlining any features of Gmail that you must pay for, as well as explain how Google makes money with Gmail.

Does it cost money to make and use a Gmail account?

Gmail is free to sign up for and use, and has no hidden fees. There is no limit to how many emails you can send or receive, the number of people you can contact, or how much time you can spend using it. Gmail has some features you can purchase, but they do not drastically change user experience. Most people who use Gmail do so for free. There is also no limit to the number of accounts you can create, so long as you use a unique email address (username) that no other person has yet registered.

How does Gmail make money if it’s free to use?

Gmail makes money through the sale of extra features, which are especially popular with businesses that want to use Gmail as their email platform. Gmail is also part of the Google family of applications, and so it makes money in many of the same ways — including displaying banner advertisements on its web pages.

What parts of Gmail do require you to pay for them?

As we said above, you never have to pay for the basic Gmail service, and its paid features aren’t all that vital to its operation. In most cases, payments are made to increase the effectiveness of free features. Some ways that you can do this include:

  • Extra storage – A standard account offers 15 gigabytes of free memory storage space. To obtain more than that, you can set up a monthly plan to pay for 100 gigabytes ($1.99/month) or 1 terabyte ($9.99/month) of additional storage.
  • Increased storage across Google apps – Gmail is linked to Google Drive and Google Photos, and shares your memory storage capacity across these three applications. You can increase your storage on any one of these applications to increase your storage as well.
  • G Suite – Google’s Office Suite package includes Gmail for employees, as well as a plethora of other features.  These include voice and video conferencing, access to Google’s full line of online office applications, synchronization across all of your devices, 24/7 phone and email support, and more.

Gmail storage price plans


That’s how much Gmail costs, and how it makes its money. Now that you know that you can use it for free, you may want to create an account.

Is Gmail Safe and Secure for Email?

Now that you’ve learned a little about what Gmail is and how it works, the first question that you might ask is: “Is it a safe and secure email client to use?” This is an even more important question in light of the fact that a Gmail account interconnects with many of Google’s cutting-edge websites and applications. In this article, we’ll explain how Gmail could pose a threat to your safety and security, and give you tips on how to use Gmail safely.

How safe is Gmail?

Gmail is safe to use, as it requires password-protected access. So long as you make a strong password and don't tell it to anyone else, Google will block unauthorized sign-in attempts and protect your account. There are, however, safety risks associated with using a Gmail account, including Internet fraud and scams. Because Google is one of the most-used services for email, they take safety very seriously. Google employs industry leaders in safety, and have in place security measures that will protect your account. But how secure is it, and what can you do to secure your account?  We'll answer those questions below.

Is Gmail secure?

Gmail is secure to use as an email service, as it employs some of the most advanced security measures in the industry. It automatically filters out many Internet spam emails for you, and deletes them after a period of time.  It also has features that make it difficult for a hacker to break into your account.

Gmail security email

With all that said, it is still very important to take measures to keep your Gmail account secure. For example, you can register a mobile phone number or secondary email address with your account to help you reset your Gmail password if you forget it.  Or, you could require the answering of security questions that you come up with in order to log into your Gmail account.  You could even turn on two-step verification for your Gmail account, which forces someone trying to log into your account to enter a code sent to your mobile device or another email account that you control. All of these protect your account from unwanted access, and will help you to use Gmail without fear.

We have a few other tips for you below. Take our advice, and it’s unlikely you’ll ever have a problem using Gmail.

6 safety tips: how to stay safe with your Gmail and Google account

1. Never click on suspicious emails, especially those in the "Spam" folder.

Gmail has such advanced security that it can detect an Internet scam or fraud within an email before you even see it. Many users receive emails every day containing scams, links that download viruses and malicious software to your computer or device when clicked on, or both.

Gmail spam warning

Never click on an email like this, as it could be harmful to you. Gmail will sort these emails into your “Spam” folder automatically (for your review if you wish), and then automatically delete them after 30 days. If you receive an email you believe to be spam, make sure to mark it as spam so Google can automatically detect similar emails for you in the future.

You can also decrease your likelihood of receiving spam emails by not giving your email address out to everyone who asks for it. Many businesses that ask for your email use it to send spam, and some people even sell lists of email addresses to those participating in Internet fraud scams.

If you want to learn more about how to identify spam emails, check out our article on email safety and spam.

2. Set your Gmail account recovery options.

When you first create your account, you should change your account recovery options. This way, you can decide exactly how you can gain access to your account should you be locked out of it. Adding security questions or additional email addresses is a great way to make sure you are never permanently locked out of your  account.

3. Complete the Gmail “Security Checkup.”

Gmail has its own “Security Checkup”, which you can complete at any time after signing up for your account. This will make sure your vital information on your account is current, and you know exactly which devices are connected to your account.

To complete the “Security Checkup,” visit and click Get Started under the “Security Checkup” heading on the left side of the page. From there, just edit any information to keep it up-to-date. You should also consider clicking Get Started under the “Privacy Checkup” heading on the same page to update your privacy settings.

4. Turn on two-step verification.

Two-step verification is a process by which a user trying to access your account must complete two steps of identity verification. Usually this includes entering an additional email address associated with your account, or answering a few security questions that you've set up.  If you pass this verification, Google will then send a unique instant verification code to your mobile phone.  This code must be entered, along with your other Gmail account credentials, to gain access to your account.

Basically, this means that anyone trying to get into your account must also possess your mobile device to be successful. It's just an added measure of security to prevent unwanted account access.

5. Sign out of your account when you are finished.

It is always good practice to sign out of all of your applications when you are no longer using them, and you should do this when you’re finished using Gmail, too. This will require you to sign in again the next time you want to use Gmail, but it protects your account from unauthorized access if your computer or device gets lost or stolen.  If you're signed out of your account, anyone who wants to use it will have to get past the security measures that you have set up, like your password or two-step verification.

6. Create a secure password for your account, and protect it.

Creating a secure password is key to protecting any of your accounts, not just your account. A few things to keep in mind include:

  • Create a long and complex password, aiming for 10-12 characters
  • Use upper-case letters, lower-case letters, numbers, and special characters
  • Include a random factor, like substituting some letters with numbers (0 for an o, 4 for an a)
  • Don’t use common patterns (123456)
  • Never share your password with anyone, or write it down anywhere near your computer
  • Don’t use personal information that is easy for people to guess or find out, such as birthdates, anniversaries, children’s names, or license plate numbers
  • Don't use the same password for all of your other accounts. (Again, this is especially important for your account, as it also gives you access to so many great Google applications!)


That’s how to keep yourself safe and secure while using Gmail. Our next article will cover whether or not you have to pay to use Gmail, but if you think you're confident enough to start using it now, check out our step-by-step tutorial on how to create a Gmail account. We’ve also got you covered with other great topics in our Gmail course, such as how to use Gmail, how to import your contacts, and how to compose and send emails.

What Gmail is and How to Use it for Emails

Email has contributed greatly to the decline of mail, as it lets you conveniently and instantly send a message to someone you know, no matter where in the world they are. Using an email client is pretty simple, and is usually one of the first applications of the Internet that people learn. Today, having an email address is almost essential for communicating online, not to mention creating accounts for popular websites or mobile apps. Many people even have separate email accounts for business and personal use!

Many companies and websites now host email services for users, so you have a lot of choices when it comes to which email client you should use, and for what purpose.  One of those companies is Internet mega-corporation Google, and they knew that there was a better way to do email.  That's why they came up with Gmail.

So what exactly is Gmail?

Gmail is a free email service created by Google.  Besides standard email functions, Gmail has a few other standout features.  These include its large memory storage space, its ability to get you your email on just about any computer or device, and its ability to let you un-send messages.

How does Gmail work?

Gmail works similarly to most other email clients, as it allows you to compose emails to any email address or contact you want. It also receives emails for you, so you can view them, organize them, or sort them to suit your purposes. In addition to plain text, the email service allows you to send images, videos, or other computer files in emails (up to a certain file memory size limit).

When you create aaccount, you can click Compose to send an email, and simply type the email address of your recipient into the address bar. Then, type your message, and click Send.

Gmail send email screen

You can also sort any emails you receive into folders that you create, or choose from Google’s existing storage folders, such as “Important,” “Sent Mail,” Drafts,” and “Trash.” In addition, a Gmail account gives you access to Google Drive, Google’s cloud-based computer file storage system, and offers you 15 megabytes of memory storage space for free. You even get access to Google's online office suite, including Google Docs, Google Sheets, and Google Photos.

What makes Gmail so special? 5 unique features to get your started

1. Keep track of related messages with the "conversations" function.

Forget searching through your whole email inbox for a reply to one of your emails, or the email that was originally replied to.  With Gmail's "conversations" function, you can keep track of all emails replied to back and forth between you and other people all in the same place.

Gmail conversations function

2. Unsend a message if you have second thoughts.

Did you send an email to the wrong person, or one that you regret sending at all?  You have a limited amount of time to use it, but you can click "Undo" after sending an email.  Gmail will put it on hold so that you can go back and re-evaluate it.

Unsend an email with Gmail

3. Keep your emails organized, but still accessible, with the "labels" function.

Gmail thinks that stashing emails in folders isn't very efficient, because then you have to go rummaging through those same folders in order to find those emails.  With Gmail, you can keep your emails organized AND accessible by using the "labels" function.  Attach a label to an email or conversation, and you can keep it available to read in your inbox, while being able to see all emails with a similar label with a single mouse click.

Gmail labels to organize Inbox

4. Filter your incoming email with Google's famous search capabilities.

With Gmail, you have the power of Google Search at your fingertips… not just for finding emails that you already have, but for deciding what to do with emails you haven't received yet!  Set up some search parameters, and Gmail will look for emails that match them as they come in.  Then, you can tell Gmail what to do with those emails… mark them as important, add a label to them, send them right to the trash bin, or whatever you feel is best!

Gmail filters for messages

5. Protect yourself with unparalleled spam filters.

Google leads in the industry in terms of filtering your emails and protecting you from spam, Internet fraud, and email scams. Google is able to detect common phrases and unsafe links in your emails, and will send those messages to your spam folder immediately. Google is very advanced at finding these unwanted emails and saving you the trouble of figuring them out for yourself… or even worse, opening an email that wreaks havoc on your device!

Gmail Spam folder

How much does Gmail cost?

Gmail is free to use as your email provider. It does not have any limits on how many emails you can send or receive, how often you can use it, or how many devices you can sign into it on. The only thing that Gmail offers as a paid service is the option to increase the amount of memory storage space your account has.

Is Gmail safe and secure?

Gmail is a safe and secure email service, as it provides users with some of the best security and email filtering available. Gmail is password protected, offers various ways to verify user password recovery, and can filter spam and Internet scams from your general inbox. It protects you better than most other services.

If you want to learn more about how to keep your account secure, check out our article on how to stay safe while using Gmail.

The history of Gmail, and why it’s so popular

Gmail was launched in 2004 by the ever-growing Internet-giant Google, and stayed in beta testing for 5 years to help make the product perfect. Because Microsoft’s email client Outlook (launched in 1997) was so popular, it made sense that Google would create a competitor and try to improve on some of Outlook's services. Since Gmail’s launch, it has grown in popularity, and currently has over 1 billion registered users.

Gmail is so popular because it combines cutting-edge features with ease of use. It also works in cooperation with other useful Google products, such as Google Drive, Google Docs, and Google Photos. Gmail also has no limitations on how many accounts you can start, or how much you can use it.

The pros and cons of Gmail

Gmail is one of the world’s most popular email services for many reasons. For one, it’s completely free to use and has no limitations on usage, other than the 15-megabyte limit on memory storage space. However, 15 megabytes is rather good compared to most email services, and it does offer the option of letting its users pay for more storage. Gmail leads in safety and security for its users, which makes it one of the most reliable email services to use. A lot of users also like its many cutting-edge features and ability to connect to other Google services (such as Google Drive).

Gmail does have some downsides, however. It compresses the space within which you compose emails, so your writing area can seem a little crammed at times. Its organizational system, while great once you get used to it, can be complicated and difficult to instinctively learn for some. Gmail also has advertisements, some of which are based on the contents of your emails (which can seem kind of privacy-invasive).

Gmail competitors

Gmail may be an industry leader when it comes to email clients, but it still has competition. One of its most popular alternatives is Outlook, Microsoft’s email client. Like Gmail, Outlook works very well together with Microsoft's suite of office software, so it's good for PC users. Another popular alternative to Gmail is Yahoo Mail, which offers its users 1 terabyte (1000 gigabytes) of memory storage space for free! There’s also Zoho Mail,, and Yandex Mail, all with their own unique features to offer.

To learn more about how Outlook stacks up against Google, be sure to check out our article where we compare Gmail and Outlook. To learn more about all of these Gmail alternatives, check out our article on the best 5 websites like Gmail.


There's a lot more to see with Gmail, so stick with us as we guide you through how to use this forward-thinking email client from Google in our Gmail course. We'll show you how to compose and send emails, reply to emails or forward incoming emails, archive conversations that are taking up space but may be important later, and even add a personal signature to the bottom of your emails. See how much more functional your email client can be with Google-powered Gmail!