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Handy Email Tricks

Email is a fast, easy way to communicate, but sometimes it can be downright annoying. Like when that attachment your boss needs for a presentation at a conference is too big to send electronically. Or when you send a message that you wish you could then unsend. Here, five solutions to common email complaints. 

Email Complaint #1: You need to send a really large file.

Solution: The Web site offers a free fourteen-day trial period during which you can send and receive files up to 2 GB in size. I used it to send a video clip to an editor after getting repeated error messages (and getting very frustrated in the process). Here’s how it works: You upload the file to YouSendIt’s Web site and they notify the recipient that they have a file waiting to download. The recipient also gets a secure link where they can download the file. The Pro account also lets you track who’s downloading your files as well as control the file expiration.

Email Complaint #2:
Last night after a few too many pomegranate martinis, you sent an ill-advised email to your ex.

Solution: Gmail Goggles. Although this handy little Google app can’t erase the embarrassment you’ve already caused, it can prevent future run-ins with email and alcohol. Gmail users can set up Gmail Goggles by clicking the “settings” button, followed by “Labs” and “enable” in the Gmail Goggles section (there are some other nifty features in the lab, too). Then whenever you try to send an email during your specified time frame (the default is Friday and Saturday nights between midnight and 4 a.m.), you’ll have to solve several math problems in 60 seconds or less to prove that you’re sober enough to hit send.

Email Complaint #3: It’s Friday night, and you’re still catching up on email, but you don’t want people to think you have no life or to always expect an immediate response on the weekend.

Solution: This handy little Web site lets you schedule your emails to be sent at a later day and time. You have complete control over when the email gets sent, and you can edit or delete it before it goes out (see email complaint #3). Send emails through their site or through your own e-mail service (email instructions to, and make sure you’re formatting your request according to their standards).

Email Complaint #4: You wish your Outlook account at work had Gmail’s search capabilities.

Solution: Full disclosure: This free download is the only email program that I didn’t test-drive personally (I’m a Gmail girl myself, so I don’t use Outlook). But many users and reviewers find its Outlook add-ins to be indispensable. For instance, you can drag and save attachments, track different versions of the same document, and view your e-mail conversations in threaded view (à la Gmail). Xobni users can even add friends to Facebook, view the Facebook photos of your email contacts, and analyze email stats to figure out the best time to contact certain people.

Email Complaint #5: You’re starting to wonder if hiring managers are opening your e-mails, because you aren’t getting many responses.

Solution: This handle little program can tell you the date and time your recipient opened your e-mail and even how long he or she spent reading the email. Once you sign up for a paid account or a two-week trial, you can track emails by adding “” to the end of your contact’s email address. The addition is invisible to the recipient, so they won’t know you’re tracking the email. Frankly, I’m often curious if my e-mails are getting read, but this program makes it easy to stray into stalker territory, so use it only for important messages. 

Originally published on NicoleWilliams