New Gmail Labs Feature Hides Labels, Shows Subjects Better

gmail_labs_hidelabels_badinboxI like using labels in Gmail, but they take up a ridiculous amount of real estate in your subject line (especially if you’re using labels as folders).  On a small screen like a netbook’s, labels can completely overshadow the subject line of your emails.

Gmail Labs comes to the rescue with the new Remove Labels from Subjects feature.  Once enabled, all labels in the subject line will be completely hidden, allowing you to read your email subjects without obstruction.  Labels will still be fully functional via the sidebar and search box.

To enable this feature, head over to the Gmail Labs page and click the ‘Enable’ button on Remove Labels from Subjects.

gmail_labs_hidelabels_goodinbox
Hidden labels, visible subjects!

For even more label-hiding goodness, check out the Better Gmail 2 add-on for Firefox or the Hide Labels in Message Row script for Greasemonkey.  Not only do those hide the labels, they will automatically display the labels when you hover your mouse over a message.

How To: Get Organized with Multiple Inboxes in Gmail

gmail_multipleinboxes_thumbmaybeIf you want to get a better grip on your Gmail inbox (whether it be to handle multiple email accounts or simply to organize messages better), you may find Gmail Labs’ Multiple Inboxes feature useful.  Multiple Inboxes splits your Gmail window into separate inboxes, allowing you to apply unique filters to each one.

Multiple Inboxes provides a great way to separate multiple email accounts, allowing you to keep your personal inbox clean without losing messages from your other accounts.

Using Multiple Inboxes

Step 1: Activate Multiple Inboxes in Gmail Labs.

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Step 2: By default, you will have multiple inboxes for starred messages and drafts only.  To change these or add new inboxes, click Settings (located in the top right) then click the Multiple inboxes tab.

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You can now specify up to four additional inboxes to be displayed in Gmail.  To choose which messages are displayed in an inbox, you can enter standard Gmail search queries in the ‘Search query’ box.

Here are a few examples of search queries:

  • To create an inbox that displays only messages with attachments, use the query:  has:attachment
  • To display only unread messages:  is:unread
  • To display messages from a specific sender:  from:SENDER’S_ADDRESS (replace with a real email address)
  • To display messages with a specific label:  label:YOUR_LABEL
  • If you’re using multiple accounts, you can display account-specific messages by using:  to:YOUR_ACCOUNT_ADDRESS
    • In my case, I wanted to sort all messages to @techerator email addresses.  To do this, I used the query  to:*@techerator.com (the * denotes a wildcard).

gmail_multipleinboxes_searchqueries

At the bottom of the settings page, you can configure how many messages per inbox are displayed (the default is 9) and where the multiple inboxes are displayed.

Step 3: (optional) Now that you have multiple inboxes configured, you may want to remove redundant messages from your primary inbox which can be achieved easily using Gmail’s filters.

Click the Create a filter link, located at the top of your Gmail inbox (to the right of the ‘Search the Web’ button).

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Configure the filter to be the same as the query (or queries) you used for your multiple inboxes.  In my case, I want all messages to @techerator.com addresses hidden from my main inbox and displayed in my multiple inboxes.  To do this, I entered *@techerator.com in the To: field.

If you want to see what the filter captures, click the ‘Test Search’ button.  When satisfied with your results, click the Next Step button.

gmail_multipleinboxes_filter

In the next screen, check the Skip the Inbox (Archive It) button and then click the Create Filter button.  If you want this action to be applied retroactively to current messages that meet your filter criteria, click the ‘Also apply filter to…’ box.  Messages that apply to your filter will no longer be displayed in your primary inbox, but will be displayed in your multiple inbox instead.

gmail_multipleinboxes_skipinboxMultiple Inboxes for Gmail provides a great solution to getting your inbox organized, and helps keep important messages from getting lost in the noise of your everyday correspondence.

Have a good email configuration?  Share it in the comments!  [Gmail Multiple Inboxes]

Keep Your Desktop Organized with Fences

TraditionalHow many times have you had projects, temporary Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, or other “junk-yet-necessary” items on your computer’s desktop combined with shortcuts for Firefox, Messenger, Windows Media, or iTunes?  Why is it so hard to keep organized each one of these items? Many people search through their desktops covered with this smorgasbord of different files and applications every day and wish there was an easier way to keep their stuff neatly tucked away.

Fences by Stardock provides a solution for your messy desktop. Right now it’s an open Community-Preview Beta that will expire on August 31st, 2009. It will likely have a price tag after the Beta, but I would probably be willing to dish out a few bucks for the final product. It’s an extremely simple solution to de-cluttering your desktop and showing off the wallpaper that is typically buried beneath your desktop icons.

Fences runs quietly in the background using virtually no resources, and setting it up is easy. After installing and running the program, find a clear space on your desktop and draw a rectangle while holding down your right mouse button. A dialog box will appear which says “Create new Fence here”. Click it and give it a name. Then just drag your appropriate icons into the fence, and resize or reshape the fence to your liking.

I have two Fences on my desktop right now, with one containing strictly game shortcuts and the other containing application shortcuts. To display the name of your Fence, simply hover your mouse over it. You can choose to show the names of the fences constantly or not at all via the simple Customization tab in the program’s editor. You can also choose things such as color of the fence, show or hide a fence outline, and fade in/out scrollbars if you have them as part of your fence. Basic customization can even be done just by right-clicking within a fence, without needing to open up the editor.

The editor can be opened by right clicking within a fence.
The editor can be opened by right clicking within a fence.

You can lock, delete, and exclude fences from the quick-hide feature.  The quick-hide feature is what I mentioned before about showing off your wallpaper.

You can have your fences set to disappear just by double clicking an open area of the desktop when they’re not in use, which makes the organization potential even better.

This shows the fences with the title set to always show and rearranged on the deskotp.
This shows the fences with the title set to always be displayed.

Fences provides you with a way to separate work from play (and everything in between) on your cluttered desktop.  Have any other desktop organization tips? Leave a comment below and share it.