How to Change Your Gmail Settings

There are a lot of settings that you can tweak with Gmail. I’m going to get you started with some basics.
Open your Gmail account and log in, if necessary. You’ll notice a little scalloped wheel in the upper right corner.

Click on it. This dropdown menu will appear:

The first three options in the drop down menu change the amount of white space on your list of emails. The default setting is Comfortable, which has the most spacing. Go ahead and click on Cozy and then Compact. Leave the check on the one you like best.

Next, skip down and click on Themes.  The screen will look like this:

Themes Settings allow you to specify color or photographs in the background when you read your Gmail.  Go ahead and play with it.  Click on a new theme.  Then click on Inbox in the left column so that the Themesmenu disappears.  To change it again, click on the scalloped wheel in the upper right, then Themes.  Being a minimalist, I prefer the default Light theme.  You can also upload your own photos to create very personalized backgrounds for your Gmail.

Now let’s get into the more important settings.  With the settings drop down menu visible, click on Settings.  The General tab settings will display like this:

I like Google’s General default settings, but you need to add a photo and an email signature.

About midway down the screen, click on Select a picture.  If you have a photo of yourself saved in your computer somewhere, click on Choose File to search on your computer.  When you find the photo, click on the thumbnail photo or file and then click Open.  It doesn’t have to be a headshot because you will get the opportunity to crop the picture in a minute.  (If you don’t have a photo or don’t want one associated with your Gmail address, select No Picture on the Upload a picture of yourself box.)

Using your mouse, drag the box or the corners to change the cropped area of your photo.  When you’re pleased with the Preview, click Apply Changes.

I like seeing photos along with emails I’m reading, so I change the visibility setting to Visible to everyone.  That means that when someone is reading an email I sent to them, they will see a tiny picture of me in the upper left corner. If you don’t like that, leave it as Visible only to people I chat with.

The only other General setting that I change is to create a default signature for my outgoing emails.  Having a signature, even if it’s for personal email, is a great way to provide your other contact information.  You can have fun with it by changing fonts, font sizes and even colors.

The vacation responder is very easy to use whenever you’re going out of town and won’t be checking your email very frequently, if at all.  You can even set it up in advance to begin in the future and end in the future.  When you use the vacation responder, I highly recommend that you check Only send a response to people in my Contacts.

Next post, I’ll explain the importance of creating and using Labels to keep your emails organized!  This is an important step before we set up Gmail to handle your multiple email addresses.

I’ve included a video if you prefer learning that way!

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