Tips for navigating the Google Migration
Moore County Schools merged staff email over spring break into Gmail, a move that will save the county thousands of dollars. A major plus in the move is that the district does not have to worry about email going down if the servers go down locally, like what happened during Hurricane Matthew this fall. Gmail also provides us with a more secure email than we had with Outlook. Let’s talk about some differences so you will be able to navigate Gmail a little better:
Gmail Looks Different
Gmail looks different than Outlook in that our former email allowed you to see emails as individual messages. Gmail groups messages into conversations, which groups emails together in a thread. This feature can be turned off in settings if you prefer to see individual messages by clicking on the gear - settings - conversation view off. The stars in Gmail are simply a way for you to denote that a message was important, but we have discovered that it is a great way of keeping up with whether or not you have replied to an email or not, since there is no visual in your inbox that allows you to do that. You can mark an email as important with either the little pentagon or star next to the message so it will be easy to find later.
If you liked the split screen in Outlook where you could preview a message on one side and see your entire inbox on another, that is available in gmail too! The vertical split will allow it to look just like Outlook!
Personalize Your Mailbox
You can customize the background of your Gmail mailbox by clicking on the gear- settings- theme. You can choose one of the themes Google has available or you can upload your own picture to really make it personal. You can also add a signature line and change the font for your emails in settings under the General tab. Just make sure you save all of the changes you make by scrolling to the bottom of the page and hitting the save button.
Where Did Your Folders from Outlook Go?
If you are wondering how everything is organized now that the merge is complete, you can go to the gear- settings- labels and see all of the labels you have in Gmail. This is what Gmail calls folders. You can move the order, you can also clean up your folders if you would like or mute or hide them so they don’t show up (that doesn’t mean they aren’t there, they are just hidden from view).
Once your labels are all set up you can file or even filter your emails to go into the label you want. You can set up filters to automatically delete messages or send them to a specific folder. This is a great way to keep your mailbox current.
Archive or Delete?
If you archive your Gmail instead of deleting it, it will no longer be in your inbox but you can find it again later. If you delete your email, it will stay in your Trash for 30 days, then will be gone forever. Outlook would make you delete everything twice.
Looking for a Specific Email?
If you search within your mailbox, you can find an email by searching based on location, sender, subject, key-words, attachment titles, or date.
To create or edit your contacts list, go to google.com/contacts or you can click where it says mail right under the Moore apps icon, and switch it to contacts. You may need to clean up some of your contacts. You can take out @ncmcs.net and @mcs.k12.nc.us contacts because those no longer exist and when you type in someone’s name to send them a message or share something with them in another Google app, it will get pretty confusing or frustrating. To add a contact click the little person with a + and add a contact, then you can sort your contacts into groups. This is an easy way to send mail to an entire list of people instead of typing in each individual name.
.org or .net - Check Your Phone
There has been a lot of confusion about .org or .net, it is .org. Make sure you are logged into Gmail with your .org email so that you can continue to get your emails! Moore County Schools Technology department knows this is confusing but since .org has been our email for so long, having us change it on our logins is much easier than changing all of our contact information to be .net.
There is a lot you can do with Gmail that you couldn’t do with Outlook. It will just take some getting used to, your DIF is more than happy to help you learn how to use this tool.