07.1–How to configure Gmail?-2012/01/19

This blog will walk you through configuring Gmail for ease of use, to suit your specific requirements and to consolidate all your different email accounts into Gmail.

To install Gmail, you must have a Google account. To create a Google account (if you don’t have one already) you go to: https://accounts.google.com/SignUp?service=mail&continue=http%3A%2F%2Fmail.google.com%2Fmail%2F&ltmpl=default

Follow the instructions to create your Google account. Once you have a Google account, you can add various Google offerings. You need to add Gmail amongst others.

Once you have Gmail available, you configure it as follow:

  1. Click on the tractor wheel, in the upper right corner, and click on “Settings”
  2. Then, go through each of the upper tabs, starting with “General”, to configure Gmail to your personal needs.

NOTE: Below I will point out only the key elements to configure under each tab. The other ones can be left “as is” with the standard settings. You can always go back later and modify them.


Language: pick the language you want Gmail to be.

My picture: you can add a picture that will appear with your emails so that others will recognize you.

Click SAVE at the bottom of the page.

Labels (Key item to configure)

Gmail comes with a minimum number of labels, in the left column, to classify your emails into”Move to” : Inbox, Important, Sent Mail, Drafts, Trash,…

Under the “Labels Tab”, you can create your own labels to classify your emails to suit your own needs. Here are some examples of mines: Austin, Bahamas, Florida, Montreal,… to classify emails related to each of my locations. Other labels: Brokers, Children, Friends,… Under each one of those, I create sub-labels for each Broker I use, each Child I have, each category of friends I have, and so on and so forth. The idea is to have labels to classify all your old emails under a label that makes sense to you, so that you can locate it quickly when you are looking for it. This my preferred way of classifying old emails. You pick your own preferences!

To create a new Label, you Click “Create new label” upper left. You type the name under the new label name. If you want it as a sub category, you Tick “Nest label under” and pick which label category it should go under.

Account and Import (Another key item to configure)

Import mail and contacts: this is where you will import the mail that currently goes into your other accounts to have it all consolidated in Gmail. Click on “Import mail and contacts” and follow the procedure. Click “Learn More” for further information. As a complement or an alternative, check the following NOTE. Each situation is different, so you will have to compose with your own situation.

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NOTE: Most of us have an email account with our service provider in each location (ex.: Montreal, Florida,…). Some also have email accounts with other cloud providers: Hotmail, Live,… One easy way to get all your mail from each of these providers into Gmail is to configure the “Forward” function in each of these provider accounts. In” Appendix A” at the end of this articles, I show the detail instructions to do this for Videotron, but the same approach can be used for each of these accounts. Look for the “Forwarding” menu item.

Send mail as: if you have a business email address or other email account addresses that you would like to show in the emails you send as “Sent from ……”, you can configure this item to do so. Click “Learn More” for further information.

Check mail using POP3: Click “Learn More” for further information. If you have forwarded your mail from your service provider as described under NOTE above, you don’t need to do this.

Forwarding and POP/IMAPClick “Learn More” for further information. Under “IMAP Access” click Enable IMAP, if it is not enabled.

Click SAVE at the bottom of the page.

Labs: This section offers various lab features that you may want. Just review them and enable the ones you want.  You can always come back and disable them at any time.

Click SAVE at the bottom of the page.

Offline: you can install Gmail offline, available only with the Google Chrome internet browser. If you use Microsoft Explorer as your internet browser, as I do, you cannot install this feature. I plan to explore this later. Click on “Install Gmail offline” if you want to learn more.

Once you are done, you click on “Mail”, in the top left end corner, and get back in to your Inbox.


Once you have imported your contacts as described above, if you Click “Contacts” in the top left end corner under the colored Gmail, you are going to see your list of contacts. Depending on how they were imported, they may be under a certain classification that you had before. Anyway, you may have to reclassify them. The following lines will show you how.

If you have not imported your contacts yet, by clicking “More” on top you will be presented with options to complete your contacts list such as: Import, Export, Print, Find & Merge Duplicates, Restore contacts. You will need to work with these to complete and clean you contact list.

Once you have a valid contact list in Gmail, you may want to organize your contacts into logical groups.  To start, you need to Click on any contact. At the top, you will see more menu options. One is: large shoulders with three heads. This is the “Group” menu item. Click on it and you will get certain standard group proposed by Gmail. Using this Drop-down menu you can delete and add groups to suit your particular needs. For example in my case, I have the following groups: Friend-Anguilla, Friend-Bahamas, Friend-Canada,… Suppliers-Austin, Suppliers-Bahamas,… whatever classification that will help you easily and quickly access a contact. This is particularly useful on your smartphone to quickly get at a phone number to dial.


If you Click “Tasks” in the top left end corner under the colored Gmail, you are going to get a tasks menu at the bottom right corner of your screen. You can use this as your TO DO list.

This completes your configuration of Gmail, Contacts and Tasks, all part of Gmail. You can get additional help by searching topics under “Help” under the tractor wheel, in the upper right corner, or searching the internet with Google Search.

Enjoy Gmail!

Appendix A – How to transfer your emails from your Videotron email account.

  1. Go to the following website: https://courrielweb.videotron.ca/cw/fr/legacyLogin.jsp
  2. Enter your Videotron username and password.
  3. Click on “Options” and then click on “Mail.”
  4. At the bottom of the page “Mail Forwarding”, check “Enable forwarding” and check “Do not leave copy on server”.
  5. Enter your Gmail email address in “Email Address” and click “Add”.
  6. When your Gmail address appears on the Mail Forwarding list Click on” Save ” for this section at the bottom right.
  7. Leave the site. From now on, all emails sent to your Videotron.ca email address will be automatically transferred to your Gmail address and you’ll never need to check your email on the Videotron account again.

You can essentially use the same procedure with all your email service providers. Your employer may also transfer, at your request, your business emails at the same Gmail address. It depends on its internal policies.

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