Posts Tagged ‘attachments’

Insert Invitation and Drag & Drop Attachments

This entry is part 15 of 23 in the series White Belt

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Adding extra content to a Gmail message just took another giant leap forward this past week with the introduction of two features. The first is Insert Invitation. This feature allows you to stay within Gmail to create a quick appointment and see what is on the other person’s Google calendar if they have it shared with you. This is much easier than the old “Add Appointment” link.

Begin by composing a message and enter the recipients of your message. In my case, I’ll enter my wife’s email address which happens to be a hosted Gmail account and not a gmail.com address. She agreed to share her calendar with me a while ago, but if she wasn’t already setup for that, I would Click the calendar link at the top of Gmail, go to the Other Calendars section on the left, click the link “Add” in the lower right corner of that box and choose “Add friend’s calendar”, and enter her email address to send a request to share the calendar. She has the option of how much information and the amount of control I have, if any, on her calendar. Once she has shared her calendar, it will show up on the left in that Other Calendars section and her appointments will appear in the corresponding color. If you get too many other calendars you can simply click on the name of the calendar and it will turn them off .

With the calendar displayed, let’s got back to Gmail’s Insert Invitation feature. With one or more recipients entered in the address field, I click the Insert Invitation link just below the Subject field and a window pops up with the subject filled in as the “What”. I pick the dates and times for the “When”, and just below that, Gmail displays the availability of all the email recipients who have shared their calendars with me. This makes it much easier to see conflicts and reschedule. While I don’t have too many calendars shared with my friends (yet), I suspect this will be a bigger benefit to companies and other organizations trying to schedule meetings.

The other neat new feature doesn’t need much explanation. It’s a simple feature we’ve all come to expect from graphical computing over the last 25 years to drag items from one window to another. In some rare cases, even web applications allow you to drag files from your local file system to a web application. Gmail offers the ability to attach files simply by dragging them from your desktop, or any other folder to the link that reads Attach a file. This feature currently only supported in FireFox 3.6 and Chrome, but Google promises to support drag and drop attachments in other browsers soon.

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Improved Search

This entry is part 18 of 27 in the series Black Belt

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Let’s face it, few of us take full advantage of the full power of the Gmail search feature. We look for a keyword or email address and perhaps we add “has:attachment” if we know the message included a picture or something. If done properly, the search would look like “chuck.tomasi@gmail.com filename:(jpg OR png)”. I’m sorry, that’s a little too geeky.

Fortunately, Gmail Labs includes a feature that can speed up and simplify the search process. It’s called “Search Autocomplete”. Turn it on by going to Labs under Gmail settings. Now as you type in the search box, Gmail will provide suggestions as you type. The nice thing about this is Gmail also provides the “geeky” way of doing the search.

Let’s take the example above. I start typing “Chuck Tomasi” and Gmail provides my address. Now I just type “photos” or “pictures”, select “has photos” from the drop down list and the search query automatically inserts (filename:(jpg OR png)). Similarly, you can type in the word “attachment” and Search Autocomplete will list the most common attachment types for you.

Gmail includes the geeky query for you so you can tweak it as necessary. Say you want to include GIF image types to your photo search. Just manually change it to “filename:(jpg OR png OR gif)”.

Personally, I think Search Autocomplete should be on by default because it really cleans up the search process. You’ll save so much time you can send me a note writing a quick review for this podcast on the iTunes Music Store.

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