So you're switching from Outlook to Gmail?
Fear not, this little guide will shine a light on where to find every feature you loved in Outlook.
And where Gmail can't quite compete with Outlook, we'll let you know how our little creation, ActiveInbox, can fill in the gaps to put you effortlessly in control of your email.
Prioritizing your inbox
Gmail has two mechanisms for this:
- It has tabs for Primary, Social, Promotion, etc., so you only see what's most important by default.
- It puts a little yellow tag (not the star!) against emails it is very sure are important, e.g. people you've spoken to before.
ActiveInbox can help by letting you set due dates and sorting your email lists by priority.
Flagging, Categorising and adding mail to Folders
The Gmail equivelent of flags are stars. You can turn on multiple stars with different colours, from Gmail's settings.
Gmail calls folders "labels". You can add your email to as many "folders" as you wish, and even nest them. Learn how to use folders in Gmail.
ActiveInbox also has inbuilt categorisation for Due Dates, Priority, and can be extended for context/location, reference materials, and any more power you need.
Managing Tasks and Calendar events from emails
Gmail has the wonderful Google Calendar, which you can create an event for by clicking 'More' in an email.
And it has a simple task management, which is available from clicking 'Mail' in the top left of Gmail (under the logo) and choosing 'Tasks'. You can also click 'More' in an email, and then 'Add To Tasks'.
ActiveInbox gives you super powers though: its features are designed to turn Gmail into a full blown task manager to rival Todoist et al; but making things even more effortless by treating the emails themselves as the tasks.
Sorting your emails by date or sender
Gmail chose to never implement this, but ActiveInbox has your back - see how you can sort your email task lists.
Replacing Skype Chat
Gmail has Hangouts, for chatting with all your contacts - available from the left-hand sidebar.
Applying Rules to incoming mail
Gmail calls these Filters. You can click 'More' in a message and 'Filter Messages Like These' to set them up quickly, or go into Settings (the cog in the top right), and go to the 'Filters' tab.
Gmail doesn't have Outlook's 'Undelete' button, but does hold deleted emails in a Trash/Bin section for 30 days before really deleting them, so you can bring them back to life.
Sweeping Emails Older Than 10 Days
Gmail can sort of do this - you can select all emails in the inbox, and archive them (they're still accessible from the 'All Mail' folder when you archive, just not the inbox); but it will do everything. The only workaround is to select all, then manually uncheck the first page of items.
Extending the feel & features
Where Outlook had a single interface and the Store, within Gmail's Settings (the cog in the top right), you can change the Theme and add features from the Labs. You can also go to the Chrome Web Store to find lots of Extensions for Gmail.
ActiveInbox's primary purpose is to handle email overload though, turning important emails into tasks and getting rid of everything else - a workflow you might find more supportive than 'sweeping' ever was.
Getting Person data with Social Media Connectors
Gmail has basic people info that it shows in the right-hand sidebar of emails, but you might want to install a plugin like FullContact to see deep information.
Missing Desktop Notifications?
Don't worry, Checker Plus has you covered.