Have you ever noticed that when you use a computer, a software application or just about any tech related device, you only scratch of the surface on how to use these technologies?
What I have found, from experience working as a former IT professional and helping others, is that people want to only know the basics and really not a whole lot more. A lot of this, especially in the generation I come from, is the fear that you will break it, or mess it up…
Being the geeky person that I am, I love to flex the muscles of the software, the devices, the computers, etc… to see what hidden features I can find. I especially love doing this with software, which is my true passion when it comes to computers and technology. I am not an expert of any one thing, but what I have found is that if you can think it, the software or device most likely can do it. In other words someone has already thought it out for you. You just have to flex its’ muscles to find it (which can be a fun learning experience).
Today, was no exception for me… I was exploring the features and flexing the muscles of my Google Gmail account. What motivated me on this was that I needed to search for a specific email, containing specific text, out of literally thousands of emails that have been collected over a period of years. What I discovered was very powerful search options in Gmail that is hidden from plain view.
When you open up Gmail and go to your inbox you will see a search box at the top of the window. At first glance, this search box appears to be a very basic search box that provides the ability to search your email; however, if you notice to the right side of the search box, you will find an arrow that is pointing down (see screenshot below). This small arrow is actually very difficult to see.
If you left mouse click on the arrow, a drop down box with an array of search options are revealed that will allow you to perform more refined searches. In my case I was looking for an email that contained the text “security officer”. I was amazed at how efficient and how fast the search operation performed. Every email that I had archived that contained the text “security officer” quickly populated my screen. You can also search specific areas of Gmail (such as the inbox, drafts, sent mail, spam, etc…) by clicking on the “All Mail” button (see below).
Now, this get’s even better… Using the above screenshot, you will notice at the very bottom right corner another option, labelled “Create filter with this search” that will allow you to flex Gmail’s muscles even further.
If you click on “Create filter with this search”, another window will appear that will reveal some very powerful filtering options that could save you a tremendous amount of time and applies to any future email messages you receive.
As we continue to evolve in the world of technology, we continue to accumulate more and more information AND continue to reveal more and more about ourselves. It is important that you “have no fear” to explore and flex the muscles of these technologies to make yourself more efficient, more productive, more secure and most importantly to protect your privacy.
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