How to Use Google Apps :: Part 2

Thursday, March 12, 2009

wedding technology expertWritten by guest expert Terrica Skaggs of Fabuluxe Inc.

Conversations and Stars
At first glance, it appeared that Jane received less email now that she made her transition.  This is because Google Apps email uses the conversation feature.  All emails related to a single subject are now grouped together, regardless of the number of replies.  Jane finds this most helpful if she needs to back track over a specific detail discussed with a caterer or client, without having to scour through thousands of emails.  If she would like to keep a specific email to the forefront, she can "star" an email.  To easily access it later, she simply clicks on the "Starred" link on the left hand side to access all of her starred emails".  Again, no more sifting through emails to find something specific.  

The Canned Response
Far different from the autoresponder, you can use a “canned response” to send to clients, vendors, prospects, etc. , right from the Compose Mail window. For example, Jane has a typical follow up response she sends to potential clients that contact her for more information. Instead of typing the same email repeatedly, or leaving it to sit in a draft box, she uses the Canned Response feature. This allows her to input any number of frequently used responses to enter into her emails at any time. Of course, she is always able to edit them at her leisure. To set this up, Jane goes to the Settings link and then the Labs tab.

There are other great features/tweaks in the Labs section. Here are some of my favorites:
The New Offline feature-- You can access your mail and your mail's features through your browsers, even when you are offline.

Tasks feature -- If you find yourself with your email window open, having your To Do list front and center is most helpful.

Superstars! -- If you receive a lot of email that you want to keep track of, Superstars! allows you to keep those emails at the forefront, but categorized by different stars.

Signature tweaks -- Puts your signature above the quoted text in a reply email.

Forgotten Attachment Detector -- It looks for wording in your email that implies that you are attaching a file and reminds you when there is no attachment to your email before you send.

Custom Label Colors -- Phenomenal.  Makes for easy, visual label recognition.

Take some time to master using your new Google Apps email system.  In a few weeks, we'll revisit Jane and see how she is doing and introduce you to some other features of the Google Apps system.

Terrica is the resident tech guru for The Smart Planner and will be sharing tips and advice on all things tech each Thursday.  Have a tech question for Terrica?  Shoot us an email at info{at}thesmartplanner.com with Tech Guru in the subject line and we will try to answer it here. 

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