8 Helpful Productivity Tips for Google Apps Users

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It’s no secret that the Google Apps suite is chock full of useful features that make our lives easier. There are so many that it’s unlikely a person can be aware of all of them. After spending some time in Google+ communities last week, we learned several new ones that quickly improved our productivity within the suite. Below are a few of our favorites.

1. Organizing Meetings Made Easy

It can be a difficult task in itself just trying to set up a meeting time for multiple people that actually works. For those who struggle with this on a daily basis, here’s some good news! With Google Calendar’s awesome “Suggested Times” feature, you can view the calendars of those who are attending your meeting (if they’ve shared their calendar with you) and choose a meeting time based on everyone’s availability. This super useful tool is as easy to use as it is effective. Here’s how to enable this handy feature:

  1. Open your Google Calendar.
  2. Click “Create new event” and add your guests.
  3. Click “Suggested times” (which is conveniently located under the list of your guests), and a box will pop up suggesting time slots where all participants are available.

Suggested Time

2. Unsend Your Email

Sent an email to the wrong person? Sent an email prematurely? Forgot to attach that attachment? Don’t worry–we’ve all been there. With the lifesaving “Undo” Gmail feature, we never have to be there again.

Here’s how to enable this feature:

  • In Gmail, navigate to the gear icon > Settings and scroll down to the Undo Send section. Check the box that says “Enable Undo Send” and select your preferred cancellation period (5, 10, 20, or 30 seconds).
  • After you send an email, you’ll have the option to undo the send. It will appear in a yellow box like this one at the top of your screen:

Undo Send

  • Once you click “Undo” and you’ve unsent the message, you’ll be presented with another yellow dialog box that will notify you that your message has been unsent. The email that you have just unsent will reappear in a window in the bottom right corner of your screen like this:

Undo Send 2

 

3. Sign Out Remotely

It’s not hard to forget to sign out of an email inbox, and if you’re using a personal device, it’s not that big of a necessity. But imagine forgetting to sign out of your email on a public computer or even a friend’s laptop? It isn’t hard to envision all of the potential disastrous situations that could result from that one silly mistake. Identity theft, stolen credit card information–the list goes on and on. Luckily, Gmail’s got your back to ensure you can avoid hiccups like that.

This feature is conveniently located on the homepage of your inbox. Here’s how to get started:

  • Scroll down to the bottom of your inbox.
  • Look in the bottom right hand corner for the text that says “Last account activity.” It will look like this:

Last account activity (2)

  • Click on “Details” and a dialog box like this one will open in a separate window:

Activity on this account
This will allow you to review your account’s activity and also give you the option to sign out of any locations that you are not supposed to be logged into. To complete this step, click the white button located in the left-hand corner that says “Sign out all other web sessions.” Potential crisis averted!

4. Can the SPAM

Someone bugging you and your inbox? Show them the door by blocking them from your account. Here’s how:

  • Open the message from the “spam” user
  • Navigate to the the right side of the page and click the dropdown arrow like this:

Block

● Click “Block (Sender’s Name)” and you will no longer receive messages from this sender.

5. Find the Comments

One of the greatest selling points for Google Apps is the seamless collaboration it drives for teams. However, when sharing a document, it can often be difficult to locate and read others’ comments. Google Apps makes finding comments easy and allows you to make corrections and updates to your documents with ease. Here’s how to use this helpful feature:

  • Open the document you’re currently working on
  • Click the “Comments” button in the top right corner of your document’s screen.

Comments

  • Once you click the button, a window will appear below it with all the comments made, in addition to whether or not they’ve been resolved.

6. Set Up Access Expiration

Though this update is set to roll out over the next couple of months, it’s so awesome that we had to share. As we previously discussed, Google Apps is famous for how easy they make it for multiple users to collaborate on projects. Before this update, your collaborators were still allowed access to the document even after the project was finished. When this update is released, you’ll be able to set expiration dates for anyone you share your document with. This will ensure that any access to private data will expire once it’s no longer needed. This feature can also be used as an incentive to encourage collaborators to complete their tasks by each deadline.

7. Mute the Chatty Kathys

It’s not hard to be distracted by off-topic emails that inevitably find their way into your inbox from time to time. Luckily, we’ve got a solution for you. Gmail offers a useful tool that allows you to mute any conversation that you no longer want to hear about. This feature is called “Mute” and it’s super easy to find and use. Here’s how you get started:

  • Open an email that you no longer want to be receiving, and click on the “More” dropdown menu available on the right side of your screen.

Mute

  • Select the “Mute” option.
  • Once “Mute” is selected, you’ll be redirected to your inbox and a yellow dialog box will notify you that the conversation has been muted:

Mute_2

The best part about this feature is that when you mute a conversation, the messages are simply archived–not deleted. This way, you can still access the message if you ever need it. You also have the option to unmute a message once it is muted. The messages only return to your inbox if a new message is addressed only to you or if you’re added to the “To” or “Cc” line in a new message.

8. Favorite Chrome Extensions

If you’re a user of Chrome and Gmail, we’ve got some great Chrome extensions for you to try out. First is an extension called FullContact. This extension is helpful because it provides you with your contacts’ social profiles and job titles, hence the name FullContact. If you ever run into the situation of forgetting who you’re emailing, their company, their job title, etc., you’ve got yourself covered with this extension.

The second extension we like is called MailTrack.io. MailTrack.io is a Chrome extension that allows you to see when the recipient of your message has read your email. When your message has been sent, a green check mark will appear next to it. Once the email has been opened/read, it will have two check marks appear next to it. MailTrack.io also allows you to receive real-time notifications once your email has been opened.

Google Apps offers a multitude of unique and useful features, but can be intimidating when you aren’t sure where they’re located or how to use them. Thanks to Google+ communities, which are filled with Google experts who love to share their seasoned knowledge of the suite, it isn’t too difficult to learn new tricks. Don’t forget to try them out! They’re here to help enhance your experience with Google Apps, not complicate it. For more tips on how to get the most of your Google Apps experience, check out the free eBook, “5 Essentials to a Successful Google Apps Administration” here.

 

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