Spring cleaning Gmail

In the spirit of spring cleaning, I was browsing through old email messages in my Gmail account and noticed something: those old messages I thought I deleted stayed in the All Mail folder.

It turns out that if you use an iOS device such as the iPad, the default action for clicking the Trash bin in the Mail app for a Gmail account is to archive the message, instead of actually deleting it.


I was a bit surprised to find that my inbox actually contained over 27,000 messages! To delete Gmail messages instead of archiving them in your iOS devices, follow these steps:


So how do you do if you want to get rid of Gmail-archived messages but not the ones you want to keep? If you have been archiving (thinking you were actually deleting), the chances are that the archived messages have no “inbox” label associated with them. You can use Gmail’s search operators to only display archived messages:


The key steps from the web site above:

* * *

In the Gmail search box, type

-label:inbox -label:sent -label:drafts -label:notes


and press enter. That should give you all your archived messages. Once there, select All and then click Select all conversations that match this search to ensure that all messages are selected. Click Delete.

They’d still go the the Trash though so you’d have to empty the Trash as a final step.

* * *

Once I did all these steps, my inbox is down to about 3000 messages without old newsletters, promotions, updates, etc. I feel better already.


Tools of Trade


I use:

  1. Windows 8.1 64 bit with Start8
  2. Microsoft Office 2013
    1. Excel enhanced with ASAP Utilities and PUP
    2. Word enhanced with Office Tab and Grammarly
  3. Wolfram Mathematica
  4. Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive (only because it comes with Windows…)
  5. Notepad++
  6. Evernote
  7. SnagIt
  8. YouTube

More to come…

Getting started


One thing I see underutilized in education is the use of digital tools. I think there are two reasons: the faculty are not aware of available tools and they feel that going digital will take up too much of their time in their already busy schedules. They worry that they are not up to using unfamiliar methods, technology glitches will disrupt the flow of the class, and that students may not really understand how to use the technology. I believe technology cannot replace the existing methods, but it can complement them and enhance the students’ experience. Although there is a bit of a time commitment for the initial setup, I’ve found that once you have become familiar with the tools and make them part of the class preparation, they drastically cut down your time investment for future classes.  I naturally drift to using those tools and I wanted to share what I learned.