Jay McGavren's Journal


Setting Up New Google Accounts for Developers

I don’t like many of the default settings in GMail and other Google accounts. And sadly, there is no settings import, so new accounts have to be set up manually. I just switched employers, so I find myself having to set up a new account from scratch. I’m recording my settings changes here in the hopes it will help others out.

  • If you’re switching employers, you may have an old account that you want to remove from the Google account list. Follow the directions here to do so. (Yes, you have to sign out from your current account in order to display the option to remove other accounts.)
  • Agree to your company’s policies, and Google’s as well. Be aware that unlike a regular Google account, the account administrator may be able to inspect any and all data (emails, etc.) stored in your account.
  • Choose your preferred Gmail display layout. I recommend “Compact” but that’s personal preference.
  • Fix your settings. Click the gear icon and choose “Settings”.
    • Under the “General” tab:
      • Set “Maximum Page Size” to 100.
      • Set “Undo Send” cancellation period to at least 10 seconds.
      • Set “Default reply behavior” to “Reply all”. (Yes, you should minimize unnecessary CCs on email when possible. But I find that the best default is “Reply all”.)
      • Smart compose: Like tab completion for email. I actually don’t mind this feature but some may want to consider turning it off.
      • Desktop notifications: I personally like to keep notifications on - if I want to concentrate then I just close my Gmail tab.
      • Keyboard shortcuts: Emphasizing this because it’s the most important setting here. Turn them on and learn to use them!
      • My picture: Strongly consider uploading one. If you don’t have a good photo available right now, email yourself a reminder to get one. No, self-consciousness is not an excuse for skipping this, not on a work account.
      • Create contacts for auto-complete: Set to “I’ll add contacts myself” so your contact list doesn’t grow unmanageable.
      • Vacation responder: No need to set this now, but make note that it’s here; you’ll need it at some point!
      • Click “Save changes” at the bottom when done.
    • Choose “Settings” again and choose the “Themes” tab:
      • Set a theme that’s visually distinct from any other GMail accounts you have.
  • Be sure to add your new account on your phone as well!

Hope this helps you out! Have a story of a “gotcha” with GMail settings? Reply in the comments; I might even update this post to help others avoid the same pitfalls!

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