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10 best features of Gmail for business users

gmail shown loading on a laptop screen
(Image credit: Unsplash)

Many people use Gmail as their personal email service, and it features in our guide to the best email providers. A premium version of Gmail for business is also available, and offers a useful system for small companies.

This comes as part of a subscription to Google Workspace, Google’s collection of productivity tools that also includes Calendar, Meet, Docs, and more. In this article, we’ll focus on Gmail and 10 of its most useful features.

1. Custom @yourcompany addresses

If you want to look professional, you shouldn’t be emailing customers with an address ending in @gmail.com. With the paid version of Gmail for business, everyone in your team can be given a custom address using your company’s domain, such as sarah@yourcompany.com. 

You’ll need to already own the domain name, but it’s easy to link it with Gmail. You can also create custom mailing lists: for example, you could set up sales@yourcompany.com and have this redirect to everyone in your sales team.

a mockup of an email within a Gmail inbox

A custom email address makes you look professional (Image credit: Gmail)

2. Easy migration

Gmail’s migration service enables you to transfer all previous emails from a range of services, including Outlook, Exchange, and Lotus. You can do this for up to 100 users, and an online guide takes you through the process step by step.

Attachments, folders, read state and priority flags are retained, so you won’t have to spend time rebuilding your organizational structure. It’s also possible to migrate emails from within a specified date range.

Google's guide to data migration for Gmail

Google’s data migration service guides you through the process (Image credit: Gmail)

3. Email organization

Gmail’s organizational tools are both powerful and unobtrusive. As with most email clients, you can sort mail into folders or use labels. An email can have more than one label too, so you can categorize emails while keeping them in your inbox if necessary.

You can also enable Gmail to do most of the categorization for you via filters. These catch incoming emails based on sender, receiver or subject matter, and put them in specified folders or mark them as read.

Gmail's step-by-step visual guide to creating labels in Gmail

You can create labels to categorize emails (Image credit: Gmail)

4. Integration with desktop clients

The main Gmail interface is only accessible via web browser or mobile app: there is no desktop app available. However, if you prefer organizing your email in a dedicated desktop client, it is easy to integrate Gmail with apps such as Apple Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, and Microsoft Outlook.

The set-up process is straightforward, and once you get going, the synchronization is seamless. Any changes you make to your organizational structure in the desktop client will immediately take effect in Gmail as accessed through a web browser, and vice versa.

a guide to importing a Gmail account into Outlook

You can import your Gmail account into Outlook (Image credit: Gmail)

5. Customizable spam filtering

Gmail has a powerful spam filtering system based on machine learning, which Google claims blocks more than 99.9% of spam, phishing, and malware. In practice though, we’ve occasionally seen legitimate emails accidentally end up in spam.

There are also useful administrator tools to customize spam filtering. You can set up an approved senders list or bypass spam classification for all mail from senders within your domain. You can also filter bulk email more aggressively or put all spam in quarantine for an administrator to review.

a mockup of Gmail flagging an email as spam

Gmail can tell when a message is likely to be spam (Image credit: Gmail)

6. Calls and chat within Gmail

Two major features of Google Workspace are Chat, which enables text chat between individuals and teams; and Meet, which is for making calls using voice or video. Both are integrated into the Gmail web browser interface.

On the side bar, underneath your email folders, there are options to set up or join a meeting and to open up a text chat. So, if you’re emailing a client and want to check a related fact with a colleague, you can do so via text chat without having to leave Gmail. 

a mockup with annotations showing how to start a meeting from within Gmail

You can start a meeting from within Gmail’s interface (Image credit: Gmail)

7. Smart suggestions

Writing emails can take up a great deal of your time, but Gmail’s smart suggestions can speed up the process by predicting what you want to write. For example, if you start writing “My address is,” Gmail will load up your address. Simply press Tab to accept the suggestion.

There are also smart replies: if someone asks if you can attend a meeting on Monday, a possible reply offered will be “Monday works for me.” Its predictions aren’t always accurate, but you can edit the suggestions to add further information or personalize them.

a mockup showing Gmail's predictive text function in operation

Gmail can predict how you want a sentence to go (Image credit: Gmail)

8. 99.9% guaranteed uptime

Google has a substantial server infrastructure, which allows it to deliver a robust service. Gmail never has planned downtime and comes with a guarantee of 99.9% uptime—in other words, no more than 45 minutes of downtime a month.

If the monthly uptime goes below 99.9%, Google will add three days of service to the end of your contract - that goes up to seven days if uptime goes below 99%, and 15 days if uptime goes below 95%.

Gmail's table showing service added to terms in the event of downtime

Google adds extra days to your contract if the downtime exceeds 0.1% (Image credit: Gmail)

9. Undo send

We’ve all written and sent off an email in a hurry, only to immediately notice that we’ve misspelled the recipient’s name or got our figures wrong. In 2015, Google added the useful Undo Send feature to Gmail.

After pressing send, an option to undo appears on screen for a short while, during which time Gmail holds off on actually sending the email. You can set this length of time to five, 10, 20, or 30 seconds. After undoing, you can go back into your draft and make changes before resending.

an image showing the Gmail function for recalling an email when sent

After sending a message, the undo option will appear in the bottom left of the screen (Image credit: Gmail)

10. Third-party app integration

It’s possible to integrate a range of third-party apps into Gmail. For example, with the DocuSign extension, users can sign documents sent to them and immediately create a reply with the signed document attached. 

Another useful extension is Dropbox for Gmail, which allows you to share Dropbox files directly through Gmail and save received attachments to your Dropbox account. Other popular Gmail add-ons include Asana, Trello, Zoom, and Todoist.

a screenshot of the DocuSign extension in operation within Gmail

Use the DocuSign extension to sign documents within Gmail (Image credit: Gmail)

Summary

If you’re looking for an email solution to suit your business’s needs, then Gmail is well worth considering, as it comes with an impressive range of features. Plus, it’s easy to migrate your emails from another system or synchronize your Gmail account with desktop apps.