Use Gmail to Send and Receive Emails

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Gmail (Google mail), a free web-based email service provided by Google, is a secure webmail accessed by users that provides more than 15 GB of usage per account. You can even attach files of up to 25 MB to your email. All of your received emails are saved in the Inbox, where you can access the ensemble of your messages; your sent emails are saved in the Sent folder. This article will get into more detail about Gmail's service options and show you how to use it.


Advantages of Using Gmail vs an ISP

Anyone who subscribes to an Internet service provider, or an ISP, can create one or more email addresses. At first glance, you might conclude it is not necessary to use an external service for sending and receiving emails, since your ISP is responsible for forwarding your messages. However, we strongly advise that you use another provider for several reasons.


If you are changing your ISP, you cannot store the email addresses that you have been allocated by the previous provider. Therefore, if you want to remain reachable during the activation of your new ADSL line (which may take several weeks), you must use an email address independent of any ISP.


When you are travelling on business or for vacation, you retain the ability to view your email at any time via a website. However ISP websites are often much less user-friendly than that of dedicated email services, like Google.

In case of temporary unavailability of the mail servers of your ISP for any given reason, you will be able to send and receive mails with your second email address.

Finally, the functionality offered by ISPs is often less powerful than that of email services.

Introduction to Gmail

Like its competitors, Google offers a service for receiving/sending emails called Gmail (Google Mail). This is a webmail, i.e. an email account that can be accessed using a simple web browser. Gmail offers several advantages, including a storage capacity of up to 15 GB, management by email discussion, a labeling system to classify and retrieve emails quickly, an integrated search engine, antivirus protection of emails sent and received, and more.

Gmail Web Browser Compatibility

Gmail is compatible with all existing web browsers, providing they bear cookies and JavaScript. To take advantage of advanced features (e.g. faster loading pages, keyboard shortcuts, automatic backup of emails in progress, etc.), you will need to access it using a recent browser.

Send Emails with Gmail

The drafting and consultation of messages in Gmail differ little from those options offered by a conventional email client. To send an email, click Compose located above the folder list:


The following entry form will appear in the corner of the Gmail interface:


However, it is possible to open a separate window by clicking the double-sided arrow icon. This option has the advantage of allowing access to all functions of the Gmail mailbox without interrupting the email attachment:


The Recipients

In the To box, type the address of the person that you want to write to. For multiple recipients, separate the addresses with commas. When you begin entering recipient email addresses, Gmail will suggest possible addresses that you use frequently, followed by those in your list of contacts (including groups). If you want to navigate the proposals, press [Enter] to select the first suggestion or move through the list using the arrow keys to select another address. If Gmail does not suggest the address that you want, continue typing without taking into account the proposals.

To add secondary recipients to the message, click Cc. To add hidden secondary recipients whose addresses will be masked from the other recipients, click Bcc:


Composing Your Email with Gmail

To compose your email, you will need to create an email title and then fill in the body of the email.

To do the former, enter the subject of the email in the Subject field.

To fill in the body of your email, enter the text that you would like to include. By default, Gmail will send the message in HTML format. To take advantage of this, you have text formatting options, including bold, italic, underlined, choice of font and size, insertion of hyperlinks, bulleted lists, numbered lists, and more.

If you are unsure whether your recipients can read rich text, click the Remove formatting option at the bottom of the interface. (If you are not in full-screen mode, you will need to expand the menu at the bottom by clicking the down-facing arrow to the right of the menu):


To attach a file, click the paperclip icon, then click "Browse" to select a file on your hard disk.


When you finish composing your post, click the Send button to send it immediately:


Gmail will back up the email that you are writing at regular intervals. Therefore, do not panic if, for any reason, it were to be lost or if you discover that you do not wish to send your email immediately. You will find a copy of your work in the Drafts folder:


Reading Your Email

All emails received are stored in your Inbox. The number of unread messages is indicated in brackets to the right of the Inbox folder; if you have read all of your emails, this number will disappear. Gmail automatically checks every two minutes when new messages arrive. At any time, you can force the check by clicking the Refresh button:


Unlike other webmail and email clients, Gmail does not display the email in the form of isolated messages. All replies to a message are grouped in the form of a discussion. It is impossible to lose the thread of a conversation.

It is very easy to recognize a discussion in the inbox. By default, a single message is summed up in one line, which includes the dispatcher, the email subject, the first words in the body of the email, and the date (or time) of dispatch.

In the case of a conversation, instead of the sender you will see the names of participants and their numbers (in parentheses).

While reading an email, clicking the three vertical dots to the right of the Reply button opens a menu. In it you can choose to print including the mail, add the sender to the address book, to report the message as a phishing attempt, and so on:


Reading and Replying to an Email

To read a message, click its title. It will appear in full, and you may respond to your correspondent by clicking the Reply icon:


Forward an Email

To forward the email to someone else, click the three vertical dots to the right of the Reply button to open the message menu. Then, click Forward:


Viewing a Conversation

When you view a conversation, the initial message and responses are immediately displayed one after another. By default, only the last response received is shown in its entirety. To view an earlier message, simply click it; a second click of the mouse will reduce it again.


Image: © Google.
Jean-François Pillou

CCM is a leading international tech website. Our content is written in collaboration with IT experts, under the direction of Jeff Pillou, founder of CCM.net. CCM reaches more than 50 million unique visitors per month and is available in 11 languages.

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