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Reading your Google Email

Conversations (video)

Gmail groups all replies with their original message, creating a single conversation or thread. In other email systems, responses appear as separate messages in your inbox, forcing you to wade through all your mail to follow the conversation. In Gmail, replies to replies (and replies to those replies) are displayed in one place, in order, making it easier to understand the context of a message -- or to follow the conversation.

When you open one message in a conversation, all of your related messages will be stacked neatly on top of each other, like a deck of cards. We call this Conversation View. In Conversation View, each new message is stacked on top of the ones that arrived before it, so that the newest message is always the one you see first.

See the Number of Emails in a Conversation

Notice that in your inbox there will be a number next to the sender(s) to show that there is more than one message in that particular email.

Number of Messages in a Conversation

Expand all Emails in a Conversation

Once you have the conversation open just click Expand all to see all the messages in a conversation.

Expand All Messages

Note: A conversation will break off into a new thread if the subject line of the conversation is changed, or if the conversation reaches over 100 messages.

Forward an Individual Email in a Conversation

If you want to forward part of a conversation click on the drop down arrow on the section of the conversation you want to send and choose Forward.

Forward a Single Message in a Conversation

Note: if you choose forward at the bottom of all the conversations then it will forward everything and not just the portion you want to forward)

Open and Close Messages in a Conversation

A conversation can be thought of in the context of a deck of "cards". The first time you open a conversation, all of the "cards" (emails) will be open and ready for you to read. This may be 1 card, or 40 (or more). Upon subsequent visits to a conversation, the cards you have read will be closed; only new parts of the conversation will display as open. You do have the ability to open and close cards at will.

Closed cards will appear with the name of the individual in the upper left. Clicking on their name will either open or close the card. If it is an extended conversation, the names will sink in. Simply clicking on the gray top will expand all of the names. The names are color-coded and will appear as the display name of the sender. If you do not like the display name the sender has chosen, you can rename it in your Contacts and Gmail will subsequently respect your preference. You also have the ability to expand or collapse all cards.

Turn off Conversations

1) Go to your Inbox and click on Settings at the top of the page

2) Go to the General Tab > Conversation section

3) Choose Conversation view off

4) Click Save Changes at the bottom of the page

Turn off Conversation View

Advance to the Next Conversation instead of back to the Inbox

You first have to turn on the lab that will allow you to put a picture in your message instead of just attaching it.

1. Go to your Inbox

2. In the top right corner click on Settings

3. Go to the Labs tab

4. Scroll down until you find Auto-advance and choose Enable

Auto-Advance Lab

5. Click Save Changes

Get Notified of New Email - Google Talk 

Go to and download this application.

This will:

  • Notify you when you get a new email
  • Notify you when you have an upcoming appointment and all you to hit snooze
  • Notify you of all of the above without having Gmail or Calendar open!
  • Allow you to chat with people around campus.

Note: If you do not want to use Google Talk and you only want to be notified that you got a new email you can download GNotify instead.