Tools

4 great Gmail tips you might not know about

A short list of cool things you can do with Gmail that are surprisingly useful

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I was talking to a friend and found out that he didn’t know the following really useful Gmail addressing tips. I figure if he didn't know these, then there are probably of other people who don't either. So, in case you’re in that group, here goes …

Tip #1: Using aliases. In Gmail messages sent to  your.username+any.alias@gmail.com will be delivered to your.username@gmail.com with the full original address with the alias in the TO: field. 

Tip #2: Filtering with aliases. If you use the technique discussed in Tip #1 you can then use the TO: address in a filter. For example:

“to:your.username+any.alias@gmail.com”

If you don’t include the “to:” in the search query you’ll also get a match if the address with the alias is in the body of a message (for example, forwarded messages or a reply could have the original recipient address quoted). Note that partial matches, e.g. “your.username+any”, which you can’t use with “to:”, will match with your.username+any@gmail.com but not your.username+any.alias@gmail.com.

Tip #3: Using periods. Even though Gmail addresses often contain periods the service, in fact, completely ignores them. Thus, your.username@gmail.com is equivalent to yourusername@gmail.com, your.user.name@gmail.com, or even y.o.u.r.u.s.e.r.n.a.m.e@gmail.com.

Tip #4: Using "throwaway" addresses. An interesting hack with Tip #3 is using it with aliases for identifying “throwaway” addresses. Thus, if your email address is your.username@gmail.com you might decide to use addresses of the form yourusernam.e+recipient@gmail.com for signing up for subscriptions and offers. Once the sender annoys you or the address winds up on a spam list, you can just filter it straight into the bit bucket.

If you’ve got any more tips for doing neat things with Gmail addressing (or anything else with Gmail) please let me know.

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