Gmail Basics Guide for Office Workers

Gmail is definitely different from any other email service. It’s easy to forget that many people are already familiar with Gmail, but if you’re just starting out, especially those who are moving from traditional email programs like Outlook, it can take a while to get used to it.

Not surprisingly, Google is very radical about how email works. And if you have to use Gmail in conjunction with Google Workspace at work, or if you personally choose Gmail, it can be quite a headache.

But Gmail is a great tool. This user guide explains what you need to know about Gmail, along with detailed roadmaps inside and outside Gmail. It’s basically an entirely new email management language, and once you master it, you’ll be able to communicate with colleagues and process messages very quickly.

Gmail Inbox

The first thing you need to learn when logging into the Gmail website is the structure of your inbox. Currently, Google offers six different Gmail inboxes. Click the gear icon in the upper-right corner of the website to view and change the ‘Inbox type’ item.

‘Basic’ is to organize your inbox by tab type. You can select up to 5 tabs: Basic, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. The default includes messages sent to users personally and other important emails, social includes messages from social networks and sharing sites, promotions include marketing and promotional activity emails, updates include confirmations, invoices, invoices, etc., and forum emails. Emails sent from ring lists and discussion sites are automatically sorted and entered.


This tab can be optionally enabled by clicking on ‘Customize’ under ‘Basic’. You can also adjust how each tab works, and repurpose the tabs for a highly personalized format of classification.

Usually, the basic five tabs are sufficient. But if you want a more explicit Outlook style, you can change your Inbox to a ‘Show unread mail first’ format. You will then see only a single list with unread items at the top.

If you select ‘Right of Inbox’ or ‘Below Inbox’ from the ‘Reading Window’ item in the Settings menu, it will be similar to Outlook. You can preview emails right from your inbox screen.


There are many other fine-tuning methods to optimize your Gmail inbox, reduce clutter, and improve message management efficiency. But here we move on to understanding how Gmail organizes your messages and how to find the email you need. It’s quite different from other email systems, so it’s good to understand it first.

How Gmail organizes emails

In my experience, the most confusing part for first-time users of Gmail is the labeling and archiving of Gmail. It is completely different from the folder concept in Outlook.

Of course, every email in Gmail only exists once. However, depending on how you organize them, the same email can appear in multiple places. Instead of thinking that your emails are organized into folders and only exist in one virtual place, think of them as piles of notebooks and post-it note-type labels on them.

This is how Gmail labels work. In some ways, it’s like a folder, but you can apply as many labels as you want to any message. For example, you can label one email as ‘cost’ ‘Q2’ and ‘website service’. These labels are all displayed at the top when opening a message. It will also appear next to the message within your inbox. When browsing by label, the email is in the list of all applied labels. Just hover your mouse over the far left area of ​​the Gmail web interface and click on a label from the list within the main menu.


To label a message, you can either select the label icon near the far right above the email you’re viewing, or select one or more emails from the main inbox screen and look for the label icon at the top of the screen. Either way, you can choose an existing label, otherwise you can create a new label on the fly.

On the other hand, the inbox itself is intended to hold messages that require the user’s attention. When something has been processed, you can archive it. Click the box icon with a down arrow near the left end of the email. The email is now out of your inbox and can be found in the ‘All Mail’ section.

In general, the easiest way to find an email is to use the large search box at the top of the Gmail website. Just enter keywords such as the sender’s name, email address, and message or subject. In this way, anything you need can be found immediately. It also provides advanced search functionality by clicking the arrow within the search box.

If you’re a little more daring and want to automate your inbox cleanup, you can use the Gmail filter. Let Gmail do all the work for you, labeling your email, archiving it, and so on. You can even forward messages as soon as they arrive, if certain predefined criteria are met.

Compose Gmail

Now let’s look at how to write an email. Within Gmail, there are several ways to compose an email, depending on the circumstances and preferences.

For a new email, click on the ‘+Compose a letter’ button in the upper left corner of the Gmail website. Then, by default, the compose email window appears as a pop-up at the bottom right of the screen. So you can still see your inbox or other parts of Gmail while composing an email.


To compose an email in full screen, click the diagonal arrow icon in the upper-right corner of the compose window. If you want to make the entire screen the default, click the three-dot menu at the bottom right of the compose window and click ‘Set full screen as default’ And if you want the message to appear in a separate browser window, hold down the Shift key on your keyboard and click the diagonal arrow icon.

Another email composing environment you’ll use with Gmail is the interface that appears when you reply to someone’s email. Compose windows appear serially, that is, as part of the conversation right below the original email. To turn this into a pop-up interface, click the diagonal arrow and the icon that looks like a box in the upper right corner of the compose reply window.

In any authoring interface, a full set of text formatting options always appear at the bottom of the window. All contained within the ‘A’ icon. You can also save time with Gmail’s template system. Click the three-dot menu in the lower right corner and find ‘Templates’.

Source: ITWorld Korea by

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