The complete guide to Gmail

Gmail screen

Once the upstart newcomer challenging Microsoft's dominance of the email space, Gmail is now fully entrenched as a legitimate option for both companies and consumers.

Whereas Microsoft Outlook has heaps of fine-grained functionality and options for customisation, Gmail has opted for a much more simple, streamlined experience. That doesn't mean Google's offering is lacking in utility, though - it's just hidden beneath the surface.

But for those just getting started with email or making the jump from Outlook, Google's web-based mail client can be frustrating to navigate. That's why we've put together the complete guide to Gmail, to help you get started with the service, fix some common problems and even offer advanced tips and tricks.

Setup and configuration

This section covers the initial process of setting up and configuring your Gmail account. We'll walk you through getting your first Google account, as well as changing your email address and adding new ones.

How to set up a Gmail account

If you want to use Gmail, the first thing you'll need is a Google account. If you don't have one, here's how to set one up for the very first time.

How to change your Gmail address

If you need to use a different email address (for example, if you're switching between business and personal emails), you can add different 'aliases' to prevent having to switch between accounts.


We'll take you through how to get your Gmail account looking and operating exactly as you want it. Find out how to reorder your emails, import your Outlook contacts to Gmail, change your inbox's theme, and even how to read and reply to your Gmail messages in the Outlook client.

How to reorder your Gmail inbox

Whether you prefer a chronological inbox or like to prioritise your unread emails, Cloud Pro shows you how to get your inbox set up just how you like it.

How to change your Gmail theme

Tired of Gmail's uncluttered, minimalist design? We'll show you how to set a custom picture as your Gmail background, including your own photos, or images from the web.

How to access your Gmail account through Outlook

If you just can't let go of Outlook but still want to use Gmail's infrastructure, here's how to use the Outlook client to send and receive all of your Gmail messages.


These guides will show you how to perform some essential functions in Gmail, including marking as read and deleting all messages, blocking specific people and email addresses, and importing your contacts from Outlook into Gmail.

How to delete all messages in Gmail

Here's how to delete all your unread messages in Gmail - not just the first 100 in your inbox. You can also find out how to delete all messages from a specific contact.

How to import your Outlook contacts to Gmail

Got a list of key business contacts or personal friends wrapped up in your Outlook account? Here's how to bring them all with you when you move to Gmail.

It's also possible to recover deleted emails in Gmail using its built in tools, although Gmail's 30-day data retention rule makes it harder to recover older content.

Adam Shepherd

Adam Shepherd has been a technology journalist since 2015, covering everything from cloud storage and security, to smartphones and servers. Over the course of his career, he’s seen the spread of 5G, the growing ubiquity of wireless devices, and the start of the connected revolution. He’s also been to more trade shows and technology conferences than he cares to count.

Adam is an avid follower of the latest hardware innovations, and he is never happier than when tinkering with complex network configurations, or exploring a new Linux distro. He was also previously a co-host on the ITPro Podcast, where he was often found ranting about his love of strange gadgets, his disdain for Windows Mobile, and everything in between.

You can find Adam tweeting about enterprise technology (or more often bad jokes) @AdamShepherUK.