Switching from Mail.app to Gmail interface (finally)

Switching from Mail.app to Gmail interface (finally)

For years, I've been tied to the native Mail.app mail client on Mac OS X.  Disappointingly, it hasn't kept up with other OSX improvements, and has felt increasingly clunky.  But the switching costs were very high, namely because of massive customization:  I've been using MailTags, Mail Act-On, WideMail and other mail.app plugins.

But the imap connection between mail.app and google accounts hasn't been very reliable lately (supposedly a bug in Mac OSX 10.6) so I decided to switch to the web interface for my mail (something my co-founder and friend Isaac suggested i do years ago - I know Isaac, I know.).

This switch also lets me make use of the very cool Rapportive service, which automagically shows me a contact's LinkedIn & Twitter profiles, along with much more.  Check it out, it's great, and they happen to be located right down the hall from us in SOMAcentral.

The first thing I did was enable a number of Google Labs features, including:

  • Advanced IMAP Controls
  • Canned Responses
  • Custom keyboard shortcuts
  • Default Text Styling
  • Google Maps previews in mail
  • Google Search
  • Google Voice player in mail
  • Message Sneak Peek
  • Message translation
  • Multiple Inboxes
  • Pictures in chat
  • Send & Archive
  • Sender Time Zone
  • Signature tweaks
  • SMS in Chat gadget
  • Text Messaging (SMS) in Chat
  • Undo Send
  • Video chat enhancements

Then I went over to the "Accounts" tab and added in all my email accounts to be pulled as POP (too bad there's no IMAP option for this).  So now I get personal email + AppMakr & PointAbout email all in one view.  (All these email accounts are hosted on Google Apps, incidentally).

Since I use Highrise as my CRM, and I want every email to copy to Highrise, I've been accessing gmail through Firefox, and I installed the Greasemonkey script to auto BCC on every email (this way my work emails all get sent to Highrise via my Highrise dropbox ID).  I wish this extension was available on Chrome.

I've also been forcing myself to learn the Gmail keyboard shortcuts (must have "custom keyboard shortcuts" enabled).  Among my :

  • gi = "go to inbox" from another area of gmail
  • *a = select all messages
  • / = search
  • c = compose
  • [ and ] = archive and go to prev / next conversations
  • p = previous message, n = next message
  • x = select conversation
  • e = archive conversation (so i use "x, then e" a lot)

You can download a PDF of all the keyboard shortcuts here.  I HIGHLY recommend forcing yourself to learn them - you'll be able to navigate through gmail much faster that way.

I enabled Priority Inbox, which looks promising.

The "Multiple Inboxes" works well - it provides me with two small inboxes above my main inbox for any drafts, and any starred emails.

I also chose custom theme colors, and I uploaded a picture from my wedding as my gmail logo.  After all, if I'm going to look at this page all day, I might as well like what I'm looking at, right?  And who better than my wife? :)  (screenshot below)

Does anyone have any pro user tips & tricks?  Specifically are there keyboard shortcuts to:

  • add "cc"
  • attach a file

Please respond in the comments below with any tips & tricks you have!