Tips and Tricks

Gmail: Reporting Phishing Emails

Phishing is the attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details (and sometimes, indirectly, money), often for malicious reasons, by masquerading as a trustworthy entity in an electronic communication.

If you receive an email which you believe is not from a genuine source then you can report it using a special Report phishing method in Gmail (on the web).

When viewing a message click the drop-down arrow next to Reply at the top-right of the message pane and select Report phishing. This will remove the email from your inbox and send a report to Google to help in the fight against scammers and fraudsters.

If an abusive email was sent from a Gmail account you can optionally report it via this page:

Gmail: "Sort" messages using keyword search

You might be used to sorting messages in your Inbox, listing them by sender, for example, or the date they're received. In Gmail, you can do essentially the same thing by searching for messages. Searching may sound like more work, but it can actually be easier and a lot more powerful than sorting, once you learn a few tricks!

Perform a basic keyword search

Let's warm up with a basic search. Say you want to find messages from a specific person, like Ben. You could search for the word Ben and find messages from him. But you'd probably find a lot of other messages, too. Specifically, you'd find :

  1. Messages from anyone named Ben

  2. Messages you've sent to Ben

  3. Messages containing the word "ben."

  4. And a notice of messages in your Trash that are to, from or contain the word "ben." (Note: Deleted messages remain in the trash for 30 days before being deleted permanently.)

Search for messages from an individual

But you don't want to find all those other messages; you just want the ones from Ben. To narrow down your search, you can use keywords. The keyword from:, for example, lets you find messages from a specific person (just as if you were sorting messages in your old mail system).

To begin, type from: in the Gmail search bar. As you type, Gmail opens a list of matching keywords. Select  'from:' from the list or just keep typing. Next, begin typing the person's email address or name. If it's someone you've emailed in the past, Gmail lists matching addresses (so you don't have to type the whole thing). Otherwise, just keep typing the entire name or email address. You don't have to capitalize the name but can enter upper- or lowercase letters.

Tip: To find all messages you sent, including drafts, enter 'from:me' in the search field. You can also view the messages you've sent but not deleted in the Sent Mail label and all drafts in the Drafts label.

Search for messages by subject

To find message by subject, use the subject: keyword. For example, type subject:Miller to find all messages with the text "Miller" anywhere in the subject line. 

Search for messages by subject and from a specific person

You can combine keywords to narrow down your search even further. This example searches for all messages with the word "report" in the subject line that are also from from Ben. Note that subject:report is separated from from:ben by a space. (Gmail automatically inserts an implicit 'AND' between the two items.)

Search for messages by subject and from one or another person

Now let's find messages with report in the subject that's from either Ben or Dudley. When searching for this person or that person, or this item or that item, enter the operator OR, which must be entered in uppercase letters.

Easily learn search operators


Gmail can help you learn search operators if you open its search options box. (1) Click the small gray down-arrow at the right of the search bar. (2) Select search options in the various fields and (3) click the search button. (4) Gmail then displays the equivalent search keywords in the search bar.

Gmail: Unthread your conversations

With Gmail's Unthreaded feature, you can now switch between conversation view, where a message and its replies are threaded together in a single conversation, and the traditional view where replies are all listed separately in your Inbox.

Threaded vs. unthreaded view

After switching to unthreaded view, you’ll notice several changes in your Inbox. First, the number of messages in your Inbox will likely increase (1). This is because, rather than showing a single entry for the entire conversation, Gmail now intersperses messages throughout your Inbox, based on the date they were received (2).

Switching to unthreaded view (and switching back)

  1. Open your Gmail Settings

  2. On the General tab, under Conversation View, select Conversation view off.

  3. Click Save Changes.

To switch back to Conversation view later, just come back here and select Conversation view on.

How Unthreaded Gmail changes your Inbox

What exactly happens when you turn off Conversation view?

  • Gmail reloads your Inbox and displays all messages in the unthreaded, message-based view, sorted in reverse chronological order. Based on the number of previously threaded messages you had, you’ll typically notice more messages listed in your Inbox.

  • Replies to messages you sent display as separate entries in your Inbox.

  • When you reply to a message, the message is sent to the recipient and to your Sent Mail label. It’s not linked to the original message.

  • When viewing messages others have replied to, you’ll see the entire contents of all replies in the body of the email.

  • To find messages previously linked together based on a particular subject, search for the messages based on the subject or keywords contained within the subject.

  • Unthreaded view has no effect on any chats listed in your Inbox.

Gmail: Create nested labels

Miss your nested folders? Use Gmail's Nested lab to organize your labels in a hierarchy, the same as other mail programs often let you do with folders.

Create a top-level, or parent, label

To begin, let's create a top-level, or parent, label. In our case, we'll create a label named Projects, since we have a lot of different projects to associate messages with.

One way to create a label is to click the More link in your label list (1). The list expands, where you can click Create new label (2). A window then pops up where you can type the name of your label (3). Since it's a parent label, don't check the "Nest label under” box.

Create a nested label

Now let's create a label nested under Projects. Again, you can do this in a few ways, but easiest is to point at the Projects label and click the down-arrow that appears (1). This opens a menu where you can choose Add sublabel (2). A window pops up where you type the name of the label (3). Since we're making a sublabel, Gmail has already selected the option to nest the label under Projects.

Nest an existing label

Creating nested labels is easy enough. But how do you nest an existing label? Let's say you want to nest the Hanes label under Projects. Simply point at the Hanes label and click its down arrow (1). Then click Edit (2). In the window that opens, check the Nest label under box and choose Projects from the list (3).

Or as a shortcut, simply type Projects/Hanes and Gmail will nest the Hanes label in Projects for you:

You can nest as many labels as you want, and down to any number of levels. Then expand and collapse your labels by clicking the arrow at the left of the label. Here, we've nested a few labels under Projects, then nested a few more for the Hanes project.

Open your Labels settings

You can also create and manage labels by going to your Gmail Settings and opening the Labels tab. There you can create and nest labels, rearrange them, and much more!

Gmail: Dealing with Badly Formatted Email Messages

Sometimes message text can be poorly formatted and difficult to read. This is known as "garbled text" and can be caused by the encoding used by the sender’s email system.

One workaround is to use the Message text garbled option within Gmail.

When viewing a message click the down arrow next to Reply at the top-right of the message pane and select Message text garbled. This will open a new browser tab showing the raw message text, including header information with no markup or layout.