Practical Gmail Tips for Teachers and Students

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Gmail has a number of powerful built-in features that allow you to do amazing things with your emails.  Several of these features are overlooked by teachers and educators. We know this from the feedback we get each time we share a post about Gmail. Today, we are drawing your attention to this collection of tips you need to know about to make the best of your Gmail experience. More specifically, you will get to learn how to: organize your emails into different category tabs, turn on or off email notifications, create signatures for your Gmail emails, set up auto responses when you are away from the Internet, send emails from a different address, spell check your emails, undo a sent email and finally learn the difference between 'cc' and 'bc' features. Please, note that some of  the instructions below apply only to the Desktop version of Gmail, click on the titles below to learn how to use them on Gmail for mobile.

8 Gmail Tips Every Teacher Should Know about

1- Organize your emails into tabs
Gmail provides you with a set of pre-labelled tabs into which you can sort your emails. These tabs are : Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. Here is how you can add or remove category tabs:
  • ‘On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings .
  • Click the Inbox tab.
  • In the "Inbox type" section, select Default. Note: To hide all tabs, select another inbox type.
  • In the "Categories" section, check the boxes of tabs you want to show. Note: You can't make new tabs; you can only show or hide existing ones.
  • Scroll to the bottom, then click Save Changes.’
2- Get email notifications
This features works on Chrome, Safari, and Firefox and allows you to receive notifications of incoming emails. If you use inbox categories you will get email notifications about messages from your Primary category. Here is how to turn notifications on or off:

  • ‘On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings.
  • Scroll down to the "Desktop notifications" section.
  • Select New mail notifications on, Important mail notifications on, or Mail notifications off.
  • At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.’
3- Create a Gmail signature
Gmail allows you to create a customized signature to appear at the bottom of your emails. Here is how to create one:

  • ‘Open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings.
  • In the "Signature" section, add your signature text in the box. If you want, you can format your message by adding an image or changing the text style.
  • At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.’
4- Set up auto replies
In case you wont be able to access your Gmail for a particular period of time (say you are on a vacation) and you want people emailing you that you are away and will get back to them later, you can set up an auto response containing the message you want people to get each time they email you. Here is how to do it:
  • ‘On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings .
  • Scroll down to the "Vacation responder" section.
  • Select Vacation responder on.
  • Fill in the date range, subject, and message.
  • Under your message, check the box if you only want your contacts to see your vacation reply.
  • At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.’
5- Send emails from a different address or alias
Gmail lets you compose and send emails using a different email, for instance, using one that you own on Yahoo, Outlook, your school domaine…etc. Here is how to do it:

Step 1:
  • On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings.
  • Click the Accounts and Import or Accounts tab.
  • In the "Send mail as" section, click Add another email address.
  • Enter your name and the address you want to send from.
  • Click Next Step.
  • Enter the SMTP server (for example, or and the username and password on that account.
  • Click Add Account.
  • Next open the account you added and click on the confirmation address.
Step 2: Change the ‘From’ address:
  • ‘In the message, click the "From" line.
  • (If you don't see this, click the space next to the recipient's email.)
  • Select the address to send from.’
6- Spell check Gmail messages
This built-in features lets you check your composed messages for any spelling mistakes. Here is how to access it:
  • ‘On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top left, click Compose.
  • Write your message.
  • In the bottom right corner, click the Down arrow.
  • Click Check spelling.’
7- Recall an email with Undo Send
This feature allows you to retract a message after it has been sent. You can activate this feature in two steps:

1- Turn on Undo Send
  • ‘On your computer, open Gmail.
  • In the top right, click Settings.
  • In the "Undo Send" section, check the box next to "Enable Undo Send."
  • In the "Send cancellation period" section, set the amount of time you want to decide if you want to unsend an email.
  • At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.’
2- Undo sending your message
  • ‘After you send a message, you'll see the message "Your message has been sent" and the option to Undo or View message.
  • Click Undo.’
8- Difference between ‘cc’ and ‘bcc’
Both of the ‘cc’ and ‘bc’ enable you to add message recipients. However, when you add recipients in ‘cc’ field each of these recipients will see the other recipients of the message. To hide email addresses of multiple recipients you need to include them in ‘bc’ field. ‘People you add in "bcc" can't see the name or email address of anyone else you add in the "bcc" field. If people reply all to a message, people in "bcc" won't see the reply.’
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