Posted in Intern advice, Written by Amber

Making the most of your uni Gmail account

More than just an email address! Here are a selection of handy tips to make the most out of your Gmail account!

Email

299f4eea4fb0e7bbecba83ee4b704ae8_sooo-pretty-aww-meme-quickmeme-pretty-meme_432-3621) Brighten up the boring default background with a bright colour or pretty pictures! Okay so this one may sound purely aesthetic but there is evidence that pictures could increase your productivity! There’s everything from scenic landscapes and animals to cartoons and graffiti, or you can upload your own photos for a more personalised approach!
Click the cog in the top right corner and select ‘Themes’ to choose.

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2) Filter out some of the spam that comes with being at uni by setting your inbox up with a ‘promotion’ tab. When you set your inbox to have a separate tab for your primary emails and ‘promotions’ many of the generic emails from services such as the gym and the library are filtered out of your main inbox. While it doesn’t stop you receiving 3 billion emails from the psychology department, this little trick can keep your inbox a little tidier! Just make sure to regularly check this tab for important emails, particularly if you are living in halls as emails from the accommodation team also end up here!

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Click the cog in the top right corner and select ‘Configure Inbox’. From this menu you can tick and untick the tabs you would like to appear in your inbox.

3) This final email tip is aimed at those people on committees or who have access to another university managed email address. In order to look at your society email inbox and your personal university email inbox, you can open the accounts in separate browsers to avoid having to log in and out of MUSE each time! Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Internet Explorer can all be opened at the same time, each with a different university managed inbox open, so you don’t have to keep logging out.

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Calendar

It wasnt until I started working here at 301 that I discovered Google Calendar, and now I plan my whole life on it!

1) Calendar allows you to make events which you can name and colour code to help organise your time. I have my own personal colour code which helps me keep track of my day, for example meetings are always in yellow, lectures in blue and deadlines in red.

amber calendar
Sadly my calendar is no longer this empty!

2) Another cool part of Google Calendar is that you can invite others to your events – super useful for group meetings! In addition to this, because your email is managed by the university, you can view other people’s calendars. This is useful to timetable group meetings as you can stack other people’s calendars over your own to find out when you are all free. Obviously this works both ways and it is worth remembering that anyone in the university can look up your calendar (including lecturers!) so probably best not to put anything too personal such as reminders that you’ve run out of clean washing!

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3) The final tip about Google Calendar is that you can download the free app to your phone and link it to your uni email address. This means that you can view and add to your calendar on the go, as well as receiving a reminder 10 minutes before your events!

Google Drive, Docs, Slides and Sheets

1) Your university Google account comes with your own 15GB storage ‘Google Drive’. You can upload pretty much any file including photos, videos, music files and all your regular documents. You can separate your files into folders, just as you would on your computer. This is a great extra place to save your work as a back up!

2) Google Docs, Slides and Sheets are Google’s own version of Microsoft Word, Powerpoint and Excel. While they don’t have all the functionality of the Microsoft programmes, they are great for doing important work on as all your progress is saved as you go and you can download it in Microsoft format when you’ve finished. The other brilliant thing about Docs, Slides and Sheets is the ability to collaborate. You can share your work with your peers and all work on the same document.When you edit the documents, changes are visible for everyone as they are made, which makes the programmes great for group work. Click ‘Share’ in the top right corner….docs1and then enter an email address or share the link.

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3) The final tip relates to collaborative work on Google docs and is great for getting others to peer review and proofread essays but has plenty of other uses too! You can set the permissions of your collaborators to ‘Suggest’/’Comment’ rather than directly edit. This means that when someone adds to or removes part of your work, it shows as a different colour and comes up as a suggestion at the side of the document, which you can either ‘Accept’ and the suggested changes will be made, or ‘Decline’ and the suggested changes will be removed. Just make sure you only share your work with people you absolutely trust, as collaborators can copy and share your work and you don’t want to be a victim of plagiarism!

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These tips are by no means exhaustive as Google has a lot of functionality but hopefully you have learnt something! If you have any useful tips please share them in the comments!

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Author:

We are 301 Student Skills and Development Centre and we give academic skills advice to our students at the University of Sheffield. We offer workshops and 1:1 appointments.

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