Gmail basics – reading & responding to messages

This week, we’re taking a look at the basics of Gmail.

Monday, we took a quick tour of the inbox. Click here to read that tip.

On Tuesday, we learned the basics of composing a message. Click here to read that tip.

Today, let’s explore reading and responding to messages.  To open a message, just click on it in the inbox.


For basic tasks like printing and forwarding look at the right corner of the open message. To print, click the printer icon. To open the message in a new window, click the arrow inside the square. Clicking the star icon will mark your message as important.


To forward the message, click the arrow icon next to the star.


For more options, click the three-dot icon next to the arrow. You’ll see options to forward, print, create a filter, add the sender to your contacts list, block the sender, report it as spam, or even download a copy of the message. It’s pretty much a one-stop-shop for the most common actions you’ll take regarding an email.


At the top of the message, you’ll see a row of icons.


To learn what an icon does, try hovering your mouse over it to view the label.


Let’s learn about your options for the message.  At the far left is Archive. This is for messages you don’t want to keep hanging around your inbox, but might need o access someday.  Next to that is the icon for marking something as Spam.  It looks like a stop sign with an exclamation point inside. And next to that, is a trash can, which is pretty much the universal symbol for Delete.


Your next two options are to mark as unread (the double envelope icon) or to snooze the message.


If you choose to snooze a message, you can pick a time where you’ll be reminded to attend to it again.




Your next options are the folder with the arrow inside. That will allow you to move your message to a different label (folder.)  Click the label icon next to it to assign a label (file folder) to your message or to create a new label.


Click on the three-dot more icon for additional options like marking as important or unread, adding a star, or creating an event or task. We’ll get more into how to handle that in a future tip.




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