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iSpartan is UNCG’s implementation of Google Apps for Education (GAFE). GAFE is a collection of web-based collaboration tools, including email (Gmail), chat, calendaring, word processing, and spreadsheets. These tools work through a Web browser, without requiring users to buy or install software.

The purpose of this and other upcoming “Google Tips” articles is to help you get the most out of the Google tools by highlighting new or lesser known features. This article is about iSpartan Gmail. In upcoming weeks we will discuss other Google tools and share more tips and tricks.

iSpartan Gmail is, by far, the most used tool on campus. The tool is robust and highly configurable. The tips below describe one new feature “Undo Send” which many folks may find helpful, as well as information about a few not-so-new features which may be of interest.

Undo Send

An exciting new feature in Gmail is the Undo Send option. This option slightly delays the actual sending of your message, providing you a short window of opportunity to reopen the email in its draft state. This feature helps prevent the consequences of accidentally clicking the send button as well as those messages one instantly regrets.

To enable this option, go to your Gmail General Settings and select Enable Undo Send in the Undo Send section.
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To use this feature after you send a message, click Undo in the Send Notification Area.
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For more information about his feature, see Gmail Help: Undo sending your mail.

Conversation View

In contrast to a strictly chronological listing of messages, the Conversation View organizes related messages together. When engaged in a series of emails, all those emails will be accessible from one listing. The number of emails involved in the conversation will be displayed in the listing. The conversation is listed chronologically in a folder based on its most recent message. When the conversation is read, all the emails involved in the conversation is provided, the most recent first.

Conversation View has generated a lot of discussion in the Gmail user community. It’s not for everyone. But for users whose communications are typically conversational, its grouping of related emails can be very beneficial.

To enable this option, go to your Gmail General Settings and select Conversation view on in the Conversation View section.
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A Conversation consisting of multiple messages in your Inbox will have a number indicator next to the participants in the conversation:
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Labs: Extending Google Tools

In addition to the built-in features and options of Gmail tools, Google Labs offers additional features that can be enabled and configured. Labs are experimental, and so may or may not be ready for prime time. It is important to recognize that Labs are not officially supported, but rather are “Tips and Tricks.” But some Labs have been adopted by Google and made part of the default feature set. The Undo Send option, mentioned above, originated in Labs.

To access the list of Labs, go to Gmail’s Settings and click on the Labs tab. Browse or search for different options and enable those you are interested in trying.

Preview Pane

A handy lab for Gmail is the Preview Pane. When enabled, the messages area of Gmail “splits,” adding an additional pane which displays the details of email and/or related conversations. You can also reply to messages from within this pane. The split can be horizontal, providing the additional pane below the list of emails, or vertical, providing it to the side. Previous Microsoft Outlook users will likely most appreciate the horizontal split configuration, which is ideal with a larger monitor. The Lab includes an easy to access toggle to switch between views.

To enable this tool, go to your Gmail Labs Settings and select Enable in the Preview Pane section.
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You can switch between the Vertical and Horizontal split view by using the Toggle split pane mode menu.
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Discuss Google Apps at UNCG

Want to discuss how UNCG is making use of Gmail or other Google applications? Do you have favorite tips and tricks you are wanting to share? google-discuss-l@uncg.edu is a Google Group that allows anyone on campus to post and participate in discussions about Google Apps @ UNCG. The membership is open to anyone who wants to subscribe, and is intended to encourage discussion about best practices, success stories, and anything that people think is beneficial as the University makes use of this collaboration suite.

To subscribe:

  1. Go to https://groups.google.com/a/uncg.edu/forum/#!forum/google-discuss-l
  2. Login with your iSpartan username and password.
  3. Click the Join Group button.