Google @ MHC - Tips & Tricks

As of Fall 2012 the College has transitioned to Google Apps @ MHC, we have developed a list of common questions, concerns, and community suggestions for how to get the most out of this environment. Here are some ideas and information we've gleaned that you may find useful.

Change Your Default Settings

Get to Settings by selecting the gear icon at the top right side of any Google Apps page. Almost all changes can be made from here.

  • Conversation View -- Google Mail starts out in "Conversation View": all emails and replies with a particular subject, displayed together in a unified message view. This can be useful for trimming the size of your Inbox and keeping related messages together, but some find it difficult to navigate. For a more standard Inbox view -- one message per line -- you can turn off the Conversation View under the General tab in Settings.
  • Display Name -- If your "From" address is not showing correctly, go to the Mail window, then click the gear icon for Settings, then go to Accounts. Under "Send Mail As," at the far right you'll find a small "edit info" link. Click that and in the new window you get a choice for your display name -- the default selection is your name as it comes from the College, or select the option with the blank field and type in your first and last name as you'd like it displayed. "Save changes." We are working on a more streamlined solution to work across all Google Apps, not just Mail.

 "Good to Know"

  • MHC Mail Lists -- will continue to work as they have been. Mail sent to a list will go to each of the members of that list. However, mail that you send to a list that you are a part of will not come in to your Inbox. It will go to your All Mail label instead (& Sent Mail, of course). Try a filter for the list to keep your messages together.
  • Password Expiration Lives On -- College auditors require passwords that change every six months -- this does not change because we have changed email hosts.
  • Password Changes Don't Change -- Your password syncs from the MHC directory server to Google -- it is possible to change your password from the Google account settings, but it will be overwritten within a few minutes during the next sync. Use the MHC Password Profile page to change your password.
  • Solve Google Log-in Problems -- If you can't log in to Google after you have been informed of your transition, use the MHC Password Profile page to change your password. Wait 5 minutes for passwords to sync, then try again to log in at Google.
  • Quota messages -- If your MHC Inbox happened to be full at the time of your transition to Google Mail, you may still receive an over-quota message.  These can be safely ignored as the quota is increased from 1GB to 25GB with the move to Google Mail.
  • Internet Explorer has some issues drawing the Google pages correctly -- it will cut off parts of windows and otherwise make itself a nuisance. Users have also reported they were not able to import their contacts via Internet Explorer, when the same contacted imported fine using another web browser. For this reason, we suggest browsers like Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

 Streamline Your Workflow

  • Hide Labels to Reduce Visual Clutter.  Hide little-used labels from the left column and/or from the drop down label selector, and even hide labels unless they have unread messages. Options are found under the Labels tab.
  • Tame Your Inbox by Filtering Directly To Labels. Select a representative message and click "More." Choose "Filter messages like these." Examine the filter criteria and "Create a filter with this search." (You can also check to filter older messages.) In the next window, choose your actions. Skipping the Inbox moves the mail directly to the label, and the label's name will go bold to show the addition.
  • Drag & Drop Labels. For a fast way to categorize any email, just click on the label drag it to the message. This works for messages in a list (e.g., in your Inbox view) or for individual messages you have open.
  • Add Color. You can choose different colors for your labels to make them easier to scan. Mouse over the label in the left side list, or click edit in the label settings.

Find Useful Features in Labs

  • In Settings you'll find a tab for Labs. These are contributed extensions to the Google services which can add useful functions like a preview pane, canned responses, and more layout control. Caution: Labs are not "official" extensions to Google, and can disappear at any time. Use carefully!