Gmail: Getting Started

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Gmail: Getting Started

1 hour 30 minutes Free


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Gmail is an email service developed by Google. Gmail stores your email safely in the cloud, allowing you to access it from any computer or device with a web browser. You can also quickly organize and find important email, as well as read and draft email without an internet connection.

What you'll do

In this lab you:

  • Create and send email

  • Manage your inbox

  • Create signatures

  • Access your calendar, notes, and tasks

Setup and requirements

Before you click the Start Lab button

Read these instructions. Labs are timed and you cannot pause them. The timer, which starts when you click Start Lab, shows how long lab resources will be made available to you.

This hands-on lab lets you do the lab activities yourself in a real cloud environment, not in a simulation or demo environment. It does so by giving you new, temporary credentials that you use to sign in and access Gmail for the duration of the lab.

What you need

To complete this lab, you need:

  • Access to a standard internet browser (Chrome browser recommended).

  • Time to complete the lab.

  1. Make sure you are signed into the lab using an incognito window.

  2. When ready, click start lab button.

    A new panel appears with the temporary credentials that you must use for this lab.

    If you need to pay for the lab, a pop-up will open for you to select your payment method.

  3. Note your lab credentials. You use them to sign in to Gmail for this lab.

    If you use other credentials, you will get errors or incur charges.
  4. Click Open Gmail.

  5. Click Next in the Sign in dialog.

  6. Enter the provided Password and click Next.

  7. If needed, click Accept to accept the terms.

Gmail opens. Click Get started, and then close any further information windows.

You are now in Gmail, looking at your Inbox.

Task 1. Gmail layout

You can choose how Gmail presents your email to you.

  • In the upper right, click Settings Settings icon, then select the Density: Default, Comfortable, or Compact.

Tip: To get more space for your email, click Main menu main menu icon to close the left panel.

Main menu icon

Task 2. Create, send, and receive email

Create and send an email message

  1. In Gmail, on the left, click Compose.

Compose button

  1. (Optional) Change your window using the buttons in the upper corner:
Icon Description
minimize icon Minimize the message
exit full screen icon Exit-full-screen (shift for pop-out)
save and close icon Save and close the message

  1. Add recipients (feel free to use your personal email), a subject, and then enter your message.
Note: Gmail automatically saves all unsent messages in Drafts on the left.
  1. (Optional) Click the icons on the bottom of the email message to add attachments, links, images, and more:
Icon Description
format-options Formatting options
Attach files Attach files
insert link Insert link (Ctrl-K)
insert emoji Insert emoji (Ctrl-Shift-2)
insert file Insert files using Drive
insert photo Insert photo
toggle confidential mode Toggle confidential mode
insert signature Insert signature
discard draft Discard draft

  1. Click Send.

Undo sending your mail

Oh made a mistake! In your message you said to meet in the lunchroom, but you forgot, the meeting location changed to outside under the maple tree, and you already clicked Send.

Not to worry, you can undo sending an email:

  1. Create and send another email message.

  2. Click Undo at the bottom of the page.

Undo button

By default, you have 5 seconds to undo sending an email.

To change the Undo Send cancellation period:

  1. Minimize the email message to see more of the gmail window, then, in the top right, click Settings Setting gear icon > See All Settings.

  2. On the General tab, scroll to the Undo Send feature.

The Undo Send feature location on the Settings' General tabbed page

  1. Change the cancellation period to 30 seconds.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

  3. Click on Drafts folder and then click on your email to restore it to screen, then click Send.

Notice that you have more time to undo sending the email.

See new email

  1. Click Inbox in the left pane. Unread emails are bold.

For example, if you have not yet opened the email from the Gmail Team, they are bold.

Unread emails bolded in Gmail

  1. To open an email, click the email.

By default, replies to email are grouped into conversations. If you prefer to separate your existing email from future email, turn off conversation view.

Turn off conversation view

  1. In the top right, click Settings Settings gear icon > See All Settings.

  2. In the General tab, scroll down to Conversation View and select Conversation view off.

The Conversation view toggled off on the Settings' General tabbed page

  1. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

Reply to or forward an email

Note: In this lab, you cannot receive email from an external account. You can use the email from the Gmail Team to check out various ways to reply to an email.
  1. Click an email to open it to view the buttons. Experiment adding your username or your personal email in the recipient field.

  2. To reply to a single email (or the last email in a thread), click Reply at the bottom of the message window.

The Reply button

Or click Reply in the upper right of the message window.

The Reply icon

  1. To forward a single email (or the last email in a thread), click Forward.

The Forward button

Note: You've stepped through the basics, see Reply to email to see what else you can do:

  • Forward an email within a thread
  • See previous email in a thread
  • Forward an entire conversation
  • Use Smart Reply

Add and remove recipients

  1. Click Compose to create a new email message.

  2. To add a recipient to the email, type their email address in the To field, then press Enter.

A recipient address highlighted in the To field

  • To add more recipients, type the email addresses of the additional recipients, pressing Enter after each address.

  • To remove recipients, click X next to their email address.

  1. Add a subject and a short message and click Send.

  2. Click compose to create a new email message.

  3. Start typing the email address you just used, the email address you previously used should display as an option.

  4. Click X in the top corner of the email to delete the email.

Change an email subject

  1. Click Reply to an email message from the Gmail Team.

  2. In the response message, next to the recipient email addresses, click Type of response (the Down arrow) > Edit subject.

Edit subject highlighted in the More options drop-down menu

  1. Type in a new subject.

The email now has a new subject.

  1. Click X in the top corner of the email to delete the email.

Save or download attachments

When someone sends you an attachment, such as a photo or document, you see a preview of the attachment in the email.

  1. Send yourself an email message with an attachment.

  • Click Compose.

  • Use your lab Username as the recipient.

  • Click the paperclip icon at the bottom of the email, then browse an image from your local computer.

  • Click Send. The email arrives in your inbox.

  1. Click on Inbox, then click the email to open it.

  2. View attachment options:

  • Download an image or save it to Drive. Hover over the attachment preview and click Download or Save to Drive.

An image preview containing Download and Save to Drive buttons

  • Alternatively, click the attachment to open a full-screen view. In the upper right, choose to Add to my drive or Download the attached file.


An opened image containing Download and Save to Drive buttons

Learn more about Gmail attachments at Open & download attachments in Gmail.

Note: You can also email without an internet connection, click Use Gmail offline to see how.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Create, send, and receive email

Turn your vacation responder on or off

  1. In the top right, click Settings Settings gear icon > See all settings.

  2. In the General tab, scroll down to Vacation responder then select Vacation responder on or Vacation responder off.

The Vacation responder section on the General tab

  1. When you turn on the vacation responder, enter the dates you're away, add a message that people will see if they email you when you're out, and select who should get a response.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

The Vacation Settings header opens at the top of the page.

The Vacation Settings header

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Turn your vacation responder on

Task 3. Organize your inbox

Switch to labels from folders

Other email programs use folders to store email. Gmail uses labels to categorize email. You can apply several labels to an email, then later find the email by clicking any of its labels from the left panel.

You can also:

  • Open a label in the left pane to see all email with that label
  • Nest labels within labels
  • Search for all email with a label
  • Set up your inbox as you prefer

Inbox preference choices:

  • See labels on email in your inbox to quickly identify different types of email.

  • Auto-archive email to route it away from your inbox.

Create labels

Create a label from the Settings menu

  1. In the top right, click Settings Settings gear icon > See all settings.

  2. Click the Labels tab.

  3. Scroll to the bottom. In the Labels section click Create new label.

  4. Enter "Gmail Team" as the new label name, and then click Create.

In the left pane, the label Gmail Team is added to the list.

Note: You can also create nested labels, which are like subfolders.

Create a label from an email

  1. Click on any email in your inbox.

  2. From an email, click Labels > Create new.

  3. Name the label "Tips" and click Create. The new label automatically applies to your email.

Apply labels to email

  1. In your inbox, check the boxes next to the email from the Gmail Team.

  2. Click Labels.

  3. Check the boxes next to the "Tips" labels and click Apply. Both emails are now labeled "Tips".

Add a color to a label

  1. In the left panel, point to a label and click More (More icon).

  2. Point to Label color and choose a color. Or, click Add custom color. The change instantly applies to all email with that label.

  3. (Optional) To remove a label color, point to Label color and click Remove color.

  4. To see all email with a particular label, in the left panel, click the label’s name. For this lab, click Tips

Move email from your inbox to a label

Move email out of your inbox to labels the same way you did with folders.

  1. In your inbox, check the boxes next to one of the emails from the Gmail Team.
  2. Click the Move to icon in the top menu.
  3. Click the Gmail Team label.

The email messages are now located in the Gmail Team label and removed from the inbox.

  1. Move both emails back to the inbox to use later in the lab.

Add filters

Manage your incoming email automatically with Gmail’s filters.

For example, create a filter that automatically moves email coming from an address containing "gmail" out of your inbox and archived for later access:

  1. In the Gmail search box, click Show search options Show search options icon.
  2. For search criteria, in the From field, type gmail, then click Create filter.
  3. Click OK in the confirmation dialog.
  4. Check Skip the Inbox (Archive it) then click Create filter.

For tips on applying common filters, refer to the Advanced Gmail filters for work or school.

Star important email

Want to flag an important email?

  1. Click the Star next to an email in your inbox or an email within a conversation.

Star mail from the Gmail Team:

  1. In the inbox, click the star next to the 2 messages from the Gmail Team.

  2. To see all your starred email, in the left pane, click Starred.

The Starred folder location highlighted in Gmail

Snooze email

Snooze emails to temporarily remove them from your inbox until you need them.

Your email comes back to the top of your inbox when you want it to, whether that's tomorrow, or next week. You can always see your snoozed items under Snoozed in the left menu.

To snooze an email:

  1. Point to an email.
  2. On the right, click Snooze.
  3. Under Snooze until, click Pick date & time and set the time for 2 minutes from now.

The email moves from your inbox to the snooze folder.

An email with the expanded Snooze menu displayed

  1. (Optional) To see the snoozed email, click Snoozed in the left pane.

  2. See the email returns to Inbox after the 2 minutes has passed.

Archive or delete email

Archived email moves out of your inbox, but stays under All mail so you can find them later. Deleted email moves to Trash and, by default, gets permanently deleted after 30 days.

  1. To archive or delete email, check to select one or more emails.

  2. At the top, click Archive Archive icon or Delete Delete icon.

The archive and trash icons location highlighted

Or, you can point to a single email and click Archive Archive icon or Delete Delete icon.

The archive and trash icons location highlighted alongside an email

  1. Scroll down to All Mail or Trash and look for the email you just moved.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Organize your inbox

Task 4. Find email

Search your Inbox

  1. To search for keywords, type the word or phrase you’re looking for into the search box, for example, "gmail". Gmail suggests search terms as you type.

  2. Click a suggestion or press Enter.

The Searchbox displaying 'gmail' and emails from the Gmail Team are listed below

Narrow your search

  1. To narrow your search, at the right of the Gmail search box, click Show search options Show search options icon.

The Show search options location

  1. Add specific search criteria. For example, you can find an email from Alice that has an attachment within a particular time frame.

To search for an email from Gmail Team that mentions "inbox" and was mailed in the last day:

  1. In the Search box, click Show search options Show search options icon.

  2. Type "Gmail" in the From field and "inbox" in the Has the words field, and the Date within field to "1 day".

  3. Click Search.

To learn more about advanced searches, refer to the Search operators you can use with Gmail documentation.

Task 5. Create signatures

Your signature can include your name, title, and contact information.

  1. Click Settings Settings gear icon > See all Settings.

  2. In the General tab, scroll down to the Signature section and click Create New.

  3. Give this signature a name, then click Create.

The Name new signature text field

  1. Use the format bar to add text colors, styles, links, or a picture.

The signature format bar

  1. In the Signature defaults section, use the dropdown menu under For New Emails Use and select the name of your signature.

  2. Scroll to the bottom and click Save Changes.

  3. Compose a new email and notice your signature when you create the email. Use your lab email to send yourself an email, and notice the signature is visible in your Inbox.

To create multiple signatures, refer to the Get started with Gmail Create signatures documentation.

Click Check my progress to verify the objective. Create signatures

Task 6. Access your calendar, notes, and tasks

Use the app icons in the right pane to view your schedule, reply to invitations, and keep track of your to-do lists without leaving Gmail.

The Sidebar applications' location in Gmail

Icon App Description
calendar app icon Calendar Check your schedule, make, or update events, respond to invitations
Keep app icon Keep Take or check notes
Tasks app icon Tasks Make, update, or check items off your to-do list


Now you're ready to use the many features of Gmail. You can manage the way your email looks, how it's organized, and can use additional Workspace tools while in Gmail.

Finish your Quest

This self-paced lab is part of the Workspace Essentials quest. A quest is a series of related labs that form a learning path. Completing this quest earns you a badge to recognize your achievement. You can make your badge or badges public and link to them in your online resume or social media account. Enroll in any quest that contains this lab and get immediate completion credit. See the Google Cloud Skills Boost catalog to see all available quests.

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Manual Last Updated: January 19, 2023
Lab Last Tested: January 19, 2023

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