When our district changed e-mail services from Exchange/Outlook/Entourage to GoogleApps for Education's Gmail 15 months ago, I was expecting some complaints. And I wasn't disappointed.
But the those most upset by the change were not those who struggled with technology, but those who took the greatest advantage of Outlooks more advanced features - the power users.
Most of the things that our Outlook power-users liked could also be accomplished using Gmail but not without some tweaking, adding some extra browser helper apps, and just plain doing things a little differently. Threaded e-mail and labels caused the most difficulty for people.
Over the past year, Gmail has made some major improvements. One can choose not to view "threaded" conversation, labels act about like folders once did, and many of the features that once needed helper apps are now a part of Gmail. When I ask staff today, they say they like Gmail. Whew!
Even with the improvements in Gmail, there are still features and functions that "power-users" know and use. In a class I'm creating for staff members, here are the ones I believe are most useful. (I'm trying to stay away from browser add-ons since we have a variety browsers being used.)
- It's no longer a sin to be disorganized: using "search" in Gmail (and the one link everyone misses).
- It's not really a drag: drag and drop attachments.
- Max the toolbar: add pictures, links, and formatting to your messages.
- See Dr. Google's latest creatures: finding and using "Labs" tools.
- Never see my name in your inbox again!: the joy of filters.
- The magic triangle Part I: working with labels and sub-labels.
- The magic triangle Part II: working with individual messages in a thread.
- Ready, get settings, go: tweaking your signature, vacation responder, and other cool things.
- Soft contacts: managing, adding, merging, and creating groups in contacts.
- Get a makeover: themes.
- I'm not schizophrenic and neither am I: two Gmail accounts - one browser? No problemo.
- For road warriors only: checking your mail on your mobile device.
What other things do Gmail power users know how to do?