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.


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


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


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


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


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


Click on the Underlined A icon for your formatting options.


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.



Click the A icon to choose text or background colors.


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.


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


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.


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.

confidential mode-money.jpg

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


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.


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.


We’ll continue our look at Gmail basics tomorrow.