If you live in Gmail all day, you’re almost certainly going to want to activate a new feature that just want live in labs: Gmail Sneak Peek. The feature, as the name suggests, allows you to get a preview of the message you’ve currently got selected, without actually opening it (it reminds me a bit of the preview pane you get in Mac OS X when you hit the spacebar).
After activating Sneak Peak in Labs, either right click on a message or use the handy keyboard shortcut ‘h’, and the preview pane will pop up. You probably won’t be able to see the entire message you’re looking at, but it’s definitely enough to figure out if the message is important or if it should promptly be sent to your archive. You can use the ‘j’ and ‘k’ shortcuts to scroll through your list of messages, looking at a preview of each. My only gripe (and it’s a fairly significant one) is what Sneak Peek does when you actually act on a message.
Gmail junkies will know that ‘y’ is the shortcut for ‘archive message’, and it’s key for anyone who is sifting through a lot of Email. Unfortunately, hitting ‘y’ while you’re using Sneak Peek will archive the message as it should, but it also closes your Sneak Peek pane, so you have to hit ‘h’ again. This may not sound like a big deal, but when you’re adding an extra keystroke to an action you have to make a few dozen (or more) times a day, it gets tedious fast.
Alongside Sneak Peek, Labs is also launching a feature called Nested Labels. This allows you to put your labels in a hierarchy, which excites me less, but apparently is oft-requested. Here are the instructions Google offers for using the feature:
If you think this might be useful to you, go to the Gmail Labs tab under Settings, look for “Nested Labels,” enable it and click “Save.” You’ll then need to name your label with slashes (/) to make it the child of another. For example, let’s say you wanted to create a simple hierarchy with a “Home” label, and inside it a “Family” and a “Vacation” label. Just create three labels with the following names:
You can then create “Home/Family/Kids,” “Home/Pets,” etc., to get something like the screenshot on the left. If you had the parent label “Home” before you don’t have to create it from scratch.