Gmail Tutorial, Tips, & Tricks

Alamance Community College students and employees are assigned College emails through Gmail.  

Students, please visit this link for help getting started with your ACC email account!

Helpful Links for Getting Used to Gmail

Gmail Tutorial Primer  – Scroll down to the contents section to see a list of guides, click on the link to read more about each of Gmail’s features

Gmail Cheat Sheet – A basic overview of Gmail’s icons, and what they do.

How to set up a way to preview email within Gmail – Something called a “Preview Pane” allows one to quickly view  emails without double clicking on them, a much faster way to use Gmail emails.

How to add a label to your emailGmail’s take on folders

How to create a gmail “filter” – Gmail’s version of an email “rule”

Google keeps emails by default in a “conversation” view, here’s more about it

How to create Google contact groups; a way to send a bunch of people an email using a group alias

How to highlight or change the color to your gmail text – also how to change the font in the email your writing

How to use Google Search Operators – ways to narrow in on the email you are looking for  – The search bar at the top of the gmail inbox, isn’t searching Google, it’s searching your inbox, and it has these handy words called “operators” that can help you find your email. 

You can bookmark specific emails in Gmail Click the link to find out how

How to create a Gmail Label to show all of your meetings – Sometimes meetings can get lost in the shuffle, here’s how to create a label (labels are Gmail’s answer to folders, see below for more info) for these.

Info from Google Support on how to mark or unmark emails as spam

Useful Videos

Gmail Quickstart Tutorial


How to organize your emails using Labels


How to use Gmail filters


How to create a Gmail email signature


How to keep emails from going to your Gmail spam filter

Gmail FAQ

A gmail label is Gmail’s take on email folders; let’s see some examples:

view of gmail labels

This screenshot is a picture of a list of Gmail labels, as you can see it’s basically like a list of folders, click the label, just like an email folder, to see emails nested under the label.

Gmail labels organize your emails into groups; just like a folder, the difference is that you can also see a label in your email inbox on the email itself.

Better to show with a picture, if you colorize your label it shows up like this….

gmail labels

Ok, so how do you create a label? Please see the links under the “Helpful Links” or “Useful Videos” section on how to do this.

Please see the links under the “Helpful Links” or “Useful Videos” section on how to do this (Are these links on creating a gmail filter / label not enough help? Please open a ticket with us at so we can help you)

Wait, how do I colorize my label I just created?  First move your mouse over to the right of a label, so that 3 dots appear; click on the 3 dot icon, and then choose label color, see our screenshot below

label colors

So ok, I have created filters, and I have colorized the filter labels, but now I have this list of labels in the left sidebar a mile long, is there anything I can do about all these labels?

Yes, sure… you can hide labels, see above in the screenshot? Under those 3 dots we described in the last section, depending on the filter (if it’s nested or not) you can set the label to hide, or hide if it contains unread email.

What if you want to see the emails under the label you hid? Good question, click on the “More” at the very bottom of all of your labels (see the screenshot below) to see all your hidden labels (remember labels are Gmail’s take on folders) — they haven’t disappeared for good!

more button

Easy, use the search bar at the top of the gmail inbox, you can also type words in the search box called “operators” to help you find your missing email

A very handy operator is the “is:” operator, for instance you can type into the Gmail search bar “is:unread” (see the screenshot below) to see all of your unread email messages

search box

(Another “is:” operator that may be useful is the “is:chats” search, which will show you all of your  Google Hangout messages sorted by time.)

Want to know more about Gmail’s operators? Please see the link under the “Helpful Links” above that goes into more detail about Gmail’s search operators.

Click the down arrow to the right of the search bar to easily create a filter (remember a Gmail filter is Google’s answer to email rules)

the down arrow

There may be times that you cannot read all of the email without using the scroll bar at the bottom of the email message you are reading; if this is causing an issue, you can “pop” the email into its own window by clicking on the pop-out icon in the far upper right corner of the email, see the picture below for what this pop-out icon looks like.

how to view more

 You can click and drag an email to move it under a label, just click the email in the inbox, and drag it (holding down the mouse button) to a label, see it acts just like a folder (in some ways)

google app sidebar

The Google App Sidebar (at the right)  has by default at the top Google Calendar, then Google Keep (for notes), and Google Tasks (for reminders) –  Click the included link for information on how to get the most out of each of these tools. (You can also add to the list of sidebar items by clicking the bottom plus “+” button at the bottom.) Use this sidebar to quickly get to your commonly used Google (and other) services.

Click the 3 line icon at the top upper left to close / open the left label sidebar, this might give you a little more screen space.

icon to open or close label sidebar

The ‘All Mail’ folder in Gmail is where Gmail keeps ALL of its emails and labels are applied to show emails in various folders including the Inbox. … On the other hand, only non-archived incoming emails are in Gmail Inbox.

Thus, the following emails are not included in Gmail Inbox:

  • Sent emails
  • Archived emails
  • Promotional emails
  • Social emails
  • Forum emails
  • Chats

Google Chat is a way to communicate quickly with team members, working just like text messages for your Android and or iPhone cell phone.

In order to enable Google Chat in Gmail click on the sprocket icon in the upper left hand corner of Gmail, like this:

settings button

Then click on “See all settings”

see all settings

Click on “Chat and Meet” under Settings like so….

chat and meet tab

Then select Google Chat, what notifications you would like to receive and where you would like to place the Google Chat (we think the Left Side of the Inbox is cleaner, but it’s up to you) .. the Meet section is for Google Meetings, which is also up to your preference

managing chat settings

You can also go to “” to see and interact with Google Chat.

To start a Google Chat click the “+” (plus) button in the upper right area of the chat sidebar, like so:

start a chat

For users that would like the outgoing email address to be

Send emails from a different address or alias

You can send mail as that address. For example:

  • Your work, school, or business domain or alias, like @edu or

Step 1: Add an address you own

  1. On your computer, open Gmail
  2. In the top right, click Settings See all settings.
  3. Click the Accounts and import or Accounts
  4. In the “Send mail as” section, click Add another email address.
  5. Enter and leave “treat as an alias” checked
  6. Click Next Step
  7. Select make default for the email address you just added.
  8. Make sure you select “Always reply from default address” (currently

If you are setting the vacation responder, on the day of your vacation (you’re on vacation on the 15th, and you are trying to setup the out of office vacation responder on the 15th) set it up for the day before, as in the 14th for it to work properly, per Google Support; otherwise just set the email vacation responder in advance (known issue)

Be sure to click on the “?” which is the link to Google’s extensive Help and Training Resources for more information on these topics as well as other Gmail and or Google services.

find gmail training

Yes, the message archive in GMail uses less space . Spam archive messages are likely to be permanently deleted within 30 days, which automatically frees up space in your account.

30 days

You can find archived messages by using Gmail's search function. Messages addressed to a group of people can return to your inbox if someone on the address list replies to the original. The Delete action moves the selected message to the Trash area, where it stays for 30 days before it is permanently deleted.

And …

If you have questions that aren’t answered here, please contact us by opening a support ticket at