This week, we’re taking a look at the basics of Gmail. Yesterday, we took a quick tour of the inbox. Click here to read that tip.

Today, we’ll learn all about the basics of composing, forwarding, and replying to messages.

To write a new message, start by clicking the big Compose button at the left side of the inbox.

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A blank message will open. At the top you’ll find fields for the Recipient and Subject.

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As you type, you’ll see suggestions from recently sent or received email and your contacts list.

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Once you start typing in the To: field, you’ll also see options for a cc or bcc.

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To view your message full-screen click the double-ended arrow at the top right of the message.

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Once you start typing your message, you’ll have several options at the bottom of the message windows.

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Click on the Underlined A icon for your formatting options.

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Click the drop-down arrows to choose from several fonts or to adjust type size.

You’ll see standard formatting options for bold, italic, and underline.

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Click the A icon to choose text or background colors.

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You’ll also see options for left, right, or center alignment and adding numbered lists or bullet points. Click the drop-down arrow at the far right and get additional options to remove formatting, strikethrough, adding quotations, and indentations.

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If you aren’t sure what an icon represents, just hover over it.

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To attach a file to your message, click the paperclip icon and choose a file from your device. To insert a clickable hyperlink, click the link button next tot he paperclip. Click the smiley face icon next to that to insert an emoji.   The triangle icon allows you to attach a link to a file on Google Drive. If you have a Gmail account, you have access to free cloud storage. The square icon next to that allows you to insert an image within the email from your device, Google photos, or a web address.

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Your next options are for Confidential Mode and using Google Pay to send or request money.  I’ll explain more about confidential mode in another tip.

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To the far right, you’ll see the garbage can icon for deleting messages and a three-dot icon to see more.

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Click the three-dot icon and you’ll see options for spell check, adding this message to a particular label (folder) and printing.  Choose Smart Compose feedback and you’ll get suggestions as you type.

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When your message is finished, you can hit the Send button. Or click the arrow next to it to schedule your message to send later.

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We’ll continue our look at Gmail basics tomorrow.