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How much space do I have for my email messages? What if I run out of space?

Your account has 25 GB of storage, which is 5 times the amount you had on the old server. You'll probably never run out of space. In fact, a heavy email user who sends and receives lots of file attachments and archives all messages might use up to 5% of this space a year (usually less), so it would take decades to use up all of the available space. Also note that Google Apps restricts the size of file attachments to 20 MB, so you don't have to worry about a few large files using up your storage space.

How often does the list of messages in my inbox automatically refresh?

If you're working in Gmail, the refresh rate is approximately every 2 to 5 minutes. If Gmail is idle, the refresh rate is approximately every 10 minutes.

Accessing Email

Can I access my email messages offline?

Yes, you can set up Gmail for offline access to your most recent email messages. To enable this feature, click Settings in the upper-right corner of your Mail window, click the Offline tab, and then click Enable Offline Mail for this computer.

Composing Messages

Can Gmail automatically spell-check messages I write?

No, Gmail doesn't include automatic spell-check. However, you can check your spelling at any time by clicking Check Spelling at the top of the message you're composing. Misspelled words are highlighted in yellow. Click a misspelled word to see suggestions for similar words.

Can I check the spelling for a language other than English?

Gmail automatically checks spelling in the default language selected in your Settings. To check spelling in another language, click the down arrow next to Check Spelling, and then select the language.

Can I forward all messages in a conversation (message thread) at once?

Yes. Open the conversation, and then click Forward all at the right of the message window.

Can I reply to or forward just a single message in a conversation?

Yes. To reply to or forward a single message in a conversation, open the conversation and select the message to forward. At the bottom of the message card, click Reply or Forward.

If I forward a message or conversation, can I edit any text it in before I send it?

Yes, you can add a new message to the conversation, and even edit the text in the previous messages in the conversation.

Can I delete messages in a conversation before I forward it?

Yes, you can delete one or more messages in a conversation as follows:

  1. Open the conversation and select the message you want to delete.
  2. Click the down arrow next to Reply in the upper-right corner of the message card.
  3. Select Delete this message.

Can I add an action flag, such as "Follow-up," that recipients see when I send them a message?

No, Gmail doesn't support sending flags in messages at this time.

In Outlook, I can add voting or radio buttons to a message and track the replies from recipients. Can I do the same thing in Gmail?

Yes, the combination of Gmail and Google Docs provides a similar feature, but with even more options. At the top of your Mail window, click Docs. Then click New > Form. Use the options on the form to create voting options (or many other types of questions and fields), and then email the form. To track results, simply return to the form and click See responses. For details about using forms, see the Google Help Center.

Is my email signature applied when I reply to or forward a message?

Yes, Gmail adds your signature to the end of every message you reply to or forward. Note that if the message or conversation is long, you may not see your signature initially, because it's added to the very bottom of the original message or conversation.

Can I send file attachments in Gmail using the "Send To > Mail Recipient" feature in the Windows "right-click" menu?

No, this feature works only with a client email program installed on your computer.

Can I recall a message I already sent?

Yes, Gmail Labs has an early version of a new "message undo" feature that lets you recall a message within a few seconds after you send it. To enable the feature, click the Labs icon (green flask) in the upper-right corner of your Mail window. Then, under Undo Send, click Enable.

File Attachments in Mail

Can I include file attachments in email messages?

Yes, you can attach one or more files to an email message.

Is there a size or type limitation for file attachments in Gmail?

Yes, to help prevent viruses, Gmail won't accept file attachments that are executable files. There's also a 20 MB size limitation for attachments. For details, see the Google Help Center.

Can I drag and drop a file to attach it to a message?

No, to attach a file to a message, you must browse to it.

Is there a way to copy a file attachment from one message to another, without first downloading it to my computer?

No. Because Gmail is a web-based system, you can't drag a file attachment from one message to another. As a workaround, you can do the following:

  1. Open the message or conversation that contains the file attachment.
  2. If the file is attached to a single message, click Forward (at the bottom of the message). If it's attached to a message in a conversation, click Forward all on the right.
  3. Delete all the "forwarded" content from original messages, which appears at the bottom of your new message. Note that the file attachment remains with the forwarded message.
  4. Then compose your new message and send it.

Alternatively, you can download the attachment and then upload it to another message.

Can I attach a message or conversation to a new message?

No, you can't embed one message into another directly. As a workaround, you can do the following:

  1. To attach a single message, open it and click Forward (at the bottom of the message). To attach a conversation, open it click Forward all on the right.
  2. Then compose your new message and send it. The earlier message will be included below your new message.

Alternatively, you can copy the text from the earlier message and paste it into a new message.

Using Labels, Stars, and Filters

There are no folders in Google Apps Email. How do I organize my messages?

Instead of folders, Gmail has a "labels" feature. Labels are similar to folders, but are more powerful and flexible, because you can add multiple labels to a message to categorize it in several ways. For details, see the Google Help Center .

If I label a message and archive it, but later remove the label, what happens to the message?

The message remains in your All Mail archive, but without the label. You can easily find it again later using Google search.

Can I apply more than one label to a single email message?

Yes, you can apply any number of labels to a message: Select the message in your Inbox, or open it, and select one or more labels in the Labels drop-down list at the top of your Mail window.

Is there a limit to the number of labels I can create?

You can create up to about 200 labels.

How do I move a message from my Inbox to a label?

If you've already created the label, select the message in you Inbox or open it, and then select a label in the Move to drop-down list at the top of your Mail window. If you haven't yet created the label you want, select Create new instead.

If you want to move a message to multiple labels at once, select the message in you Inbox or open it, and then select the labels in the Labels drop-down list at the top of your Mail window. Then click Archive.

How do I add a color to a label?

After you create a label, find it in your Labels list at the left of your Mail window. Put your mouse pointer over it, and then click the down arrow that appears. Choose a color from the list.

Can I change the label on one or more messages?

Yes. To change a label on a single message, select the message, and then, in Labels drop-down list at the top your Mail window, uncheck the label currently applied to it. Then select another label and click Apply.

To change a label on all messages that have that label, click the label in your Labels list at the left of the Mail window. At the top of the list that appears, click Select all. Then, in Labels drop-down list, uncheck the label you want to remove, and select the new label you want to apply. Click Apply

Can I create sub-labels to recreate the folder tree I had set up in Outlook or Notes?

Yes, you can enable the Nested Labels lab in Gmail. This feature lets you build a label hierarchy, just like you can with folders. To enable the feature, click Settings in the upper-right corner of your Mail window, and then click Labs. Under Nested Labels, click Enable.

Alternatively, you can simulate a folder tree with labels, as follows:

  1. Use a character, such as a forward slash (/) to separate your top-level label from sub-labels.
  2. Create sub-labels by appending them to your top-level labels using the separator.
  3. For example, with the top-level label "Projects," your sub-labels might be "Projects/Artwork" and "Projects/Brochures."

When setting up an email filter, can I apply more than one label for the action?

You can apply only one label per email filter. However, if you want to add multiple labels to a filtered message, you can do the following: Create multiple filters with the same criteria, except specify a different label for each filter. If you receive a message that meets the criteria for the filters, Gmail will apply the multiple labels to that message.

Can I delete a label from a single message or all messages that have that label?

Yes. To delete a label from a single message, select the message, and then, in Labels drop-down list at the top your Mail window, uncheck the label. Click ApplyTo delete a label from all messages that have that label, in the Labels drop-down list, select Manage labels. (You can also click Edit labels at the bottom of your Labels list at the left of the Mail window.) In the list that appears, find the label, and then click Remove.

If I set up a filter to add a label to specific incoming messages, but then later delete the label, is the filter also deleted?

No, even if applying the label was the only action for the filter, your filter is not deleted. You can edit the filter to specify a different label or another action.

What are "plus addresses"?

With Gmail, you can create any number of unique email addresses for your account, using "plus addresses." Simply add a plus sign and text after your user name but before the @ sign in your email address. You'll then receive any messages sent to that address. For example, messages sent to are delivered to

How do I use plus addresses with filters?

If you use a plus address, such as, you can then set up a filter to perform an action on any messages sent to that address. For example, if you want to save daily notes in Gmail, create a filter for a "+notes" address to automatically label and archive messages you send to that address. Or, if you're working with a client, tell the client to send all email to your "" address. Set up a filter for that address to automatically apply a label to messages the client sends to you.

What are stars and how do I use them?

Stars are a way to highlight messages. Assign stars to special conversations or messages in your Inbox, or use them as a visual reminder that you need to follow up on a message or conversation later. To quickly see all messages with a star, click Starred at the left of your Mail window.

Working with Your Messages

Can I stop messages from being grouped into conversations?

Yes, you can control whether messages are grouped into conversations: Click Settings in the upper-right corner of your Gmail window and, on the General tab, scroll down to Conversation View.

  • If Conversation View is off, new messages won’t be grouped into conversations, and any existing conversations are ungrouped into separate messages.
  • If Conversation View is on, you can't separate the messages in a conversation. However, if you want to send a reply but don't want it to be added to the conversation, you can simply change the subject line in your reply.

Can I highlight messages in my Inbox?

Yes, you can use labels and stars to highlight messages in your Inbox. For example, you might create a label named "Action" and apply the color red to it, so you can easily see it in your Inbox.

Can I mark a message as "unread" in my Inbox after I open it?

Yes, in your Inbox, select the message. Then, in the More actions drop-down list, select Mark as unread.

Can I sort messages in my Inbox to move unread messages to the top?

No, you can't sort messages in your Inbox.

What does it mean to "mute" an email conversation?

If you're subscribed to a mailing list, you might receive messages in a very long, ongoing conversation. If you'd rather not receive anymore messages in that conversation, you can "mute" the conversation to keep all future additions out of your Inbox. To mute a conversation, select it in your Inbox or open it, and then click Mute under More Actions at the top of your Mail window. Note: The mute feature works only for messages you received as part of a mailing list. If the message was sent directly to your email address (your address appears in the To or CC field), you can't use the mute feature.

Can I "unmute" a conversation?

Yes. First, find the conversation. An quick way to find it is to type is:muted in the Search field. Then, select the conversation and select Inbox in the Move to drop-down list at the top of your Mail window.

Can I make the "quoted text" in a conversation visible by default?

No, quoted text is always hidden by default.

Archiving and Deleting Messages

What is the difference between deleting and archiving email messages? When should I delete and when should I archive?

If you either delete or archive a message, it's removed from your inbox. If you delete a message, it's placed in the Trash and then permanently removed from your Google Apps account after 30 days. On the other hand, if you archive a message, it's moved to All Mail (your archive), where you can easily find it in the future, using Google's powerful search feature.

How long do messages stay in my archive?

Messages remain in your archive forever, unless you choose to delete them

How long do messages stay in the Trash?

Messages remain in the Trash for 30 days. After that, Gmail permanently deletes them.

Can I move message out of the Trash?

Find the message in the Trash and select it. Then, in the Move to drop-down list at the top of the Mail window, select Inbox.

If I delete or archive a meeting invitation from my Inbox, is the meeting removed from my calendar?

No. Deleting or archiving a meeting invitation does not affect the invitation on your calendar.

If I archive or trash a message, and then someone replies to it later, will it show up in my Inbox?

Yes, if someone replies to a message you archived or trashed, that message appears in your Inbox as a conversation, with all previous content. If you applied a label to the archived message, the label will appear in your Inbox. If the message was permanently deleted from the Trash, you'll see an option at the bottom of the message to view the deleted messages in the conversation. However, the message won't have the original label you applied to it.

Should I delete or archive message in the Sent folder?

There's no need to delete or archive messages in the Sent folder. Messages remain in this folder forever, unless you delete them. But, because you have 25 GB of storage space, you can keep messages in this folder to refer to them later, if needed. Also, note that messages in the Sent folder are actually archived in All Mail, so even if you archive these messages, they stay in the Sent folder.

Searching for Messages

I can't always find messages I search for. How does Search work?

To search for messages, type a word that the messages contain. Note, however, that Search matches "whole words" only—that is, it doesn't recognize partial or similar matches. For example, if you search for benefits, Search won't find benefit or benef. Also, Search doesn't recognize special search characters, such as square brackets, parentheses, currency symbols, the ampersand, the pound sign, and asterisks.

By default, Search doesn't look in your Trash or Spam folders. To search those folders also, click Show search options next to the Search field, and then, in the Search drop-down list, select Mail & Spam & Trash. You can find more information about using Search in the Google Apps Help Center.

Is there a way to search or select all messages without labels?

No, you can't search specifically for all messages that don't have a label.

Where can I find information about performing advanced searches?

A list of the advanced search operators is available in the Google Apps Help Center.

You can also print out this reference sheet.

Handling Spam

How long do messages remain in my Spam folder?

Messages remain in the Spam folder for 30 days. After that, Gmail permanently deletes them.

How do I prevent messages from specific senders from being tagged as spam?

To make sure that any messages you receive from a specific person outside our domain pass through the spam filter, create an email filter using the Never send it to Spam option:

  1. In Gmail, click Settings > Filters > Create a new filter.
  2. Enter the person's address in the From field, and then click Next Step.
  3. Select Never send it to spam, and then click Create Filter.

Setting Up Gmail

Can I change the colors of my Mail window?

Yes, you can choose from a number of different color schemes, or even create your own! To change the colors, click Settings in the upper-right corner of your Mail window. Then select Themes.

What is the maximum number of characters I can use for my email signature?

Your signature can contain up to 2000 characters.

Can I format my email signature and add graphics?

Yes. To set up your signature, go to Settings > General tab. You can format your signature with different colors and styles, and even add links and images, such as your company logo.

Can I change the way Gmail displays the names of message recipients, so their last names appear instead of their first names?

No, the display of names Gmail is an option that your administrator sets for your entire organization. If the "first name, last name" option is set, Gmail displays only the first names of message recipients in your Inbox and at the top of the message body. However, when viewing a message, you can click Show Details to see the full names of all recipients.

Can I create my own mailing (distribution) lists?

Yes, you can create a personal mailing list (called a contact group in Gmail) using the contacts picker, which includes the email addresses of all Special Olympics Ontario users in Google Apps. Access the contacts picker when composing an email message: Click the To: link.

If you need to create a corporate mailing list that other employees can use, please contact IT.

Managing Your Email

Where can I find detailed information about methods for managing my email?

The following websites have information about innovative ways to control the flow of your email and manage your Inbox:

  • GTD (Getting Things Done):
  • Inbox Zero:
  • Trusted Trio:

Migrating Email and Data

Can I import my old email from Outlook to Google Apps?

Yes, you can download Google Apps Sync for Microsoft Outlook to import all your email, personal contacts, and calendar events from your old account into Google Apps.

Will my Outlook Email Rules copy over to Gmail?

No, you'll need to recreate your rules using the Filters feature in Gmail. Filters let you to manage the flow of incoming messages using keywords, sender, recipients, and more. Using filters, you can automatically label, archive, delete, star, or forward your mail, and even keep it out of your Spam folder. For details, refer to the Google Help Center.

Email Features

Does Google Apps Email have an Out of Office feature?

Yes, in Gmail, you can set up your "vacation responder," which is similar to the Out of Office feature found in other email applications. For details, refer to the Google Help Center.

Can I share my email with another employee?

Shared mailboxes are not supported. However, you can easily set up an email filter (rule) to forward specific types of messages to another employee.

I like using keyboard shortcuts. Are they available for Gmail?

Yes, Gmail includes a full set of keyboard shortcuts. First, you must enable keyboard shortcuts:

  1. In the upper-right corner of the Mail window, click Settings.
  2. Under Keyboard shortcuts, select Keyboard shortcuts on.
  3. Click Save Settings.

Then, to see the shortcuts, press SHIFT+? while viewing your list of messages in the main Mail window.

Does Gmail support shared mailboxes?

No, but as a workaround, you can create your own mailing list (called a “group”) for all the employees who want to share an email address.

You can use the email delegation feature to allow up to 10 other users access a single email account.

Does Gmail have a "tasks" feature that lets me add messages to a list for follow-up?

Yes, the Google Tasks gadget is available in Gmail and Calendar. Just click the Tasks link in the pane on the left to open the Tasks gadget. Use the gadget to create one or more task lists. To add an email message to a tasks list, open the message and then click More Actions > Add to Tasks. The subject of the message appears at the top of your tasks list, with a link to the message content.

Other Email Questions

Can I make Google Apps Email the default email program when I click email links?

Yes, you can specify Gmail as your default email program in Google Talk:

  1. Open Google Talk.
  2. Click Settings in the upper-right corner of your contacts list.
  3. In the General dialog box, select Open Gmail when I click on email links.
  4. Click OK.

Note, however, that this setting does not work for all email links.

Can I open a message I'm composing or viewing in a separate window from my main Mail window?

Yes, if your browser is set to display pop-ups in a new window, you can click do the following:

  • If you're reading a message, click the New Window link in the upper-right corner of the message.
  • If you're composing a new message, click the "pop-up" icon in the upper-right corner of the message.