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Before you take advantage of Gmail’s new features, you need to update to the new version. Luckily, making the switch only takes a few clicks.

From the main Gmail screen, click the gear icon in the upper right corner. In the dropdown menu, click ‘Try the new Gmail’, and you'll be taken to the redesigned homepage. Click Next on the welcome splash screen. From here, you can choose your display density. If you manage a lot of emails, you may want to try the compact view. Once you’ve made your choice your Gmail will update, but your choice isn't set in stone and you can simply change it in the Settings tab in the top right corner if you change your mind. 

So now you’re up and running with the latest version of Gmail, let's take a look at some its new features.

Snooze emails

Sometimes you receive an important email that needs your attention, but you don't have time to deal with it immediately. Gmail's new Snooze tool will hide it away until you're ready to respond.

There are various options to choose from, including later today, tomorrow, at the weekend, next week, and 'some day' – whenever that might be. It's also possible to set a specific date and time, which is probably a better idea than sending the message off into the ether until Google chooses to resurrect it.

You can snooze multiple emails at once by selecting their checkboxes and choosing the clock icon that appears in the top menu bar.

Side Panel and Tasks

Perhaps the most visible feature in the new Gmail is the collapsible side panel on the right-hand side, which gives instant access to other apps alongside your inbox without the need to open them in separate tabs.

Google Calendar, Keep and Tasks are included in the sidebar as standard. You can check and add events in the usual way and manage your notes in Keep, but the most interesting feature is the ability to drag emails from your inbox straight into Tasks. You can then set dates for them to be completed, add sub-tasks, and mark them as completed once they're dealt with.

Clicking the '+' icon reveals various add-ons from the G-Suite Marketplace including popular task managers Trello and Asana. We expect many more to arrive as the new Gmail design is rolled out more widely.

Attachment chips

Gone are the days of looking for the little paperclip icon beside an email to see if it has an attachment, then opening it and scrolling through an enormous email chain to find the file you need.

Attachment Chips are one of Gmail's best new features – particularly if you use your account at work and have to find a document in a hurry.

The attachment chip will show you the name and type of each file attached to a message. Click to see a preview of the file, then choose whether to download it, save it to Google Drive, print it, or simply close it again.

It's worth noting that you'll only see attachment chips if you select the default view when you're setting up the new Gmail (or you change the view later).

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