Topic outline

  • How to set up and use Gmail

    In this course, you’ll learn about Gmail, the free email service from Google. You’ll find out how to create a Gmail account, how it works in your web browser, and how to create, send, receive, reply to and organise your emails.

    The activities below go into detail about how to stay safer when using email, including changing your Gmail password, downloading attachments, blocking nuisance emails, reporting Spam, and how to check who really sent you an email.

    If you are already a Gmail user, there is a handy video of more advanced tips below that you might like to watch. It includes chapters and demonstrations on how to:

    1. search for an email
    2. use Gmail's Unsubscribe tool to safely unsubscribe from newsletters
    3. use Labels to help organise emails
    4. archive or delete batches of emails
    5. use Gmail's powerful right-click menu to find shortcuts and complete tasks.


    Welcome to the "Your Gmail Inbox: advanced tips" course. In this course, you'll learn how to search your Inbox for an email, how to use Gmail's Unsubscribe feature, and use Labels to organise your email. You'll also learn all about Gmail's powerful right-click menu.

    This demonstration uses a Windows computer running the Chrome browser. If you use a different device or browser, it might look slightly different, but you should still be able to follow along.

    To follow along, you will need to have a Gmail email address and password already set up. Your Gmail should be open in your web browser and showing the Inbox.

    Gmail has its own search function to help you find any email or attachment in your mailbox. The Gmail Search bar is similar to the browser search bar but is a bit lower on the screen.

    Start typing in any search term you like. For this demonstration, we'll search for the word "reunion".

    Gmail will try to guess what you're looking for and provide a list of suggestions below the Search bar as you type. When you've finished typing, press Enter on your keyboard to search.

    A list of search results appears and the word you searched is highlighted on each result. If the email you're looking for has appeared in the search results, you can click on it to open and read it, but for now, let's click Inbox in the left menu to return to the Inbox.

    Sometimes when you provide your email address to a website, they will start sending you regular messages, such as newsletters. To stop receiving these messages, you can unsubscribe.

    You'll usually find newsletters under the Gmail Promotions tab. Click on it.

    To unsubscribe, open a message in the reading view by clicking it once.

    Now scroll to the bottom. The email will have an Unsubscribe link or something similar, such as Manage Email Preferences. Clicking it will open the sender's unsubscribe web page where you can confirm you no longer want to receive emails, and you should only click the link if you trust the sender of the email.

    [eSafety tip] Only click on links in emails and on websites that you trust. They may contain malicious software that is designed to steal personal data or harm your devices.

    Sometimes Gmail offers another way to unsubscribe from an email newsletter, which can be safer because you won't have to click a link and open the sender's web page.

    Let's scroll back to the top. When Gmail detects that an email is a newsletter, it may show a little grey Unsubscribe link to the right of the sender's name. Click it and an Unsubscribe pop up will appear.

    Sometimes this pop up will let you unsubscribe from the email without having to click a link to open a new web page. This is the safest way to unsubscribe. Click the Unsubscribe button. The pop up will disappear and the email will show a message confirming that you unsubscribed.

    Below that, you can click the Move to spam button to put the email into your Spam folder.

    When you report an email as spam, Gmail will treat future emails from that sender as spam too.

    Let's look at another example. Just like the previous example, Gmail offers a little Unsubscribe link at the top of this email newsletter. Click it to open the Unsubscribe pop up once more.

    This pop up looks similar to the last, but the information is slightly different. This pop up informs us that if we click the Unsubscribe button, we will be taken to a link to unsubscribe. This means that Gmail will open the unsubscribe options in a new web page.

    This can be a less secure way to unsubscribe, so you should only click the link or the button if you trust the sender of the email.

    If you don't trust the sender of the email, click Cancel. You can then report the email as spam by clicking the Report Spam icon at the top of the Inbox view. It looks like a stop sign with an exclamation mark.

    For now, we'll click Inbox on the left menu to return to the Inbox.

    [eSafety tip] If you've unsubscribed from a newsletter but it keeps getting sent to you, you can report it to the Australian Communications and Media Authority, or ACMA.

    To help organise your emails, you can use labels. Labelling an email is a bit like putting it in a folder, except that each email can have more than one label if you'd like. An email's label appears on the left of the subject in the Inbox view.

    You can see all your labels in a list at the bottom of the left-hand menu. Click a label to see a list of the emails with that label.

    For example, when we click Family Reunion, all the emails about the event we're planning appear on the right. You can create new labels and add a label to any email by using the right-click menu.

    First click Inbox to return to the Inbox view.

    Then right-click on an email and a menu appears. Scroll down to Label as.

    Put your mouse over this so that it becomes highlighted, but don't click just yet.

    A new panel will pop up to the side. Carefully move your mouse over to this new panel. This can be a bit tricky, so if the panel disappears, just put your mouse back over Label as and try again.

    You can see a list of all existing labels. Click on any of these to add that label to the email. To create a new label, click on the line next to the magnifying glass, and type the name. As you type the label name, the list of existing labels will disappear and Gmail will show you the new label in bold type. Click on the bold type and a pop up will appear that lets you double-check the label name. When you're happy, click Create.

    The new label will appear in the list of labels in the left-hand menu. Click on it to see the email you selected. If you don't want an email to have a label anymore, click the box to the left of the sender's name to select the email, and then click the Remove label icon at the top left of the screen. It looks like a pointed rectangle with a slash. Now click Inbox in the left-hand menu to return to the Gmail Inbox.

    Another way to keep your Inbox tidy is to move older emails to the Archive. Let's archive some old newsletters. Click on the Promotions tab to see your newsletters. We could archive these one by one, but let's see how to select several to archive as a batch. You can see each email has a tick box next to it to the left of the sender's name.

    Click an email's tick box to select it. A coloured bar appears over the email to show that it's selected. You can click the tick box of each email you want to include in the batch or select a batch all at once. Here's how to do that. Click the tick box of the first email so that it's highlighted. Then hold down the Shift key on your keyboard. Now click the last email you want to archive and release the Shift key. The first and last emails and all those in between are now highlighted and selected.

    At the top of the Inbox view, click the Archive icon. It looks like a box with a down arrow. The batch of emails will disappear from the Inbox and are now tidied away in the Archive. To see these emails again, click More in the left-hand menu, and then click All Mail. This view shows all your archived emails and emails in your Inbox too.

    You can also delete emails instead of archiving them. Click the tick box to the left of the sender's name to select each email you'd like to delete. When you have a batch ready, click the Delete icon at the top of the Inbox. It looks like a garbage bin.

    When you're finished, click Inbox to return to the Inbox view.

    Gmail uses a special right-click menu on some screens. Put your mouse over the subject of any email and right click. A menu of options will appear. All these options are worth exploring, but let's look at some highlights for now.

    The message controls let you Reply to or Forward an email without having to open the email first.

    You can also quickly Archive or Delete an email.

    Mark as unread is useful if you want to remind yourself of an email you've already read. The email will show in bold text in your Inbox, just like a new email.

    The Snooze function lets you set a timer on an email. You'll get a notification in Gmail when the Snooze timer expires. Click Snooze and a pop up will show some default options with Later today at the top. Click Pick date & time to choose a time that's not in the list. A calendar will appear and you can select a preferred date and time. When you're done, you can click Save to set the timer, but for this demonstration, we'll click Cancel to return to the Inbox.

    To get back to the right-click menu, right-click on an email.

    The Move to lets you organise emails and so does Label as. You can go back to the Using labels chapter of this course to learn more about labels.

    Toward the bottom of the right-click menu is a useful search option. This helps you find emails from the same sender as the email you have selected. Click this to automatically run a search. For this demonstration, we've only received one email from this sender.

    Right-click the email to see the right-click menu once more.

    Sometimes it's handy to keep an email open so you can refer to it. Click Open in a new window. Instead of it opening in the Inbox, it will open as a separate pop-up panel in your browser.

    When you're finished with it, click the cross in the top right corner to close the email, and click on Inbox from the menu in the top left to return to your Inbox.

    You've learned about keeping your Gmail Inbox organised and under control and how to unsubscribe from emails. If you're unsure about any steps, you can rewind the video or click the chapter headings to jump to the start of a chapter.

    If you're ready to move on, there are many other courses to explore on Be Connected.