Managing Gmail Prompts
February 15, 2017 2:35 PM   Subscribe

When you type the first letter or three of a name and Gmail gives you a selection of names to choose from that all start with those letters, it is important to me that I not miss-click and send stuff to the wrong name. So, I need some suggestions and best practices for emailing specific people while minimizing the risk that I will accidentally click on some other name that shouldn't be getting the info.

I have terrible eyesight. This contributes to typos and miss-clicks and what not.

I did accidentally email the wrong person not terribly long ago (which, fortunately, was not a big deal). That incident prompted me to delete some defunct addresses from my contact list. However, that doesn't fully solve the issue and I am stumped at the moment.

For example: I send proprietary info routinely to (PERSON). There are other people in my contact list whom I can get prompted with when I start to type (PERSON's name).

For REASONS, these are names I cannot simply delete from my contacts list. For additional REASONS, it would be beyond awkward for me to be all "Oopsie! That totally wasn't supposed to go to you!" if I sent certain things to certaub individuals.

I did find that I can "label" contacts (to group them, apparently) and I am playing with that option. So far, I am not impressed with its performance.

Please give me your tips, tricks, best practices etc. for making sure you don't send important info to people who shouldn't have it, especially when they have weirdly similar names to people who should have it.

posted by Michele in California to Computers & Internet (13 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Not that this is a direct fix, but it can help. Do you have "undo send" turned on?

It will delay sending for up to 30 seconds while you review that address bar one last time.
posted by JoeZydeco at 2:44 PM on February 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Is it possible that you can change the contact address to add a nickname so that your proprietary sender started with a letter that no one else started with?

So like: xxmomxx instead of mom which gets confused with mothra which gets confused with moomntrolls. And then you type X which starts no other contact names and then you can send an email to mom.
posted by jessamyn at 2:54 PM on February 15, 2017 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Is this something enlarging your fonts would assist with?
posted by DarlingBri at 3:32 PM on February 15, 2017

Response by poster: I think about 90% of my problem would be solved if I could group two names in specific and label them in a way that doesn't bring up a lot of other stuff.

The other thing is that I have a lot of deadwood in my contacts list that I am reluctant to delete entirely. If I could export all contacts elsewhere and then delete old ones I no longer use, that would resolve one portion of this.

But the largest stumbling block is sort of like I have a boyfriend named Yoshi and I work for Yoshtech Industries. So, dozens of times a day, I am in danger of either emailing the bf work emails or emailing my boss kissy face emails intended for the bf.

For the sake of example, let's pretend the bf is into threesomes or voyeurism or something else such that it makes sense for some third party to be copied when I email Yoshi. So I routinely email him and someone else info at the same time of a sort that I don't want the boss to ever see. It would be beyond awkward.

If I could have a one click way to email Yoshi and this third party that absolutely would not call up any other prompts, that would be ideal.

Weirdly, I also have an old acquaintance named Yolanda who hates me and a colleague who is crushing on me but married named Yoab. I cannot delete Yoab for REASONS and it would be a total shit show if he got a kissy face email from me. No amount of swearing it was missent by accident would make it not a shit show.

For professional reasons, I would kind of like to keep Yolanda's contact info, but we haven't spoken in years. It would be fine to move her info elsewhere and not have it in my gmail contacts list.
posted by Michele in California at 4:19 PM on February 15, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Oh, and this is further complicated by the fact that my (completely imaginary) preacher routinely copies Yoshi and the third party when he emails me. So every single time I email Yoshi and Co, Gmail suggests I copy my preacher and his wife. If I could figure out how to get gmail to stop suggesting I copy those people as well, that would be awesome.
posted by Michele in California at 4:36 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: Let's say I.know three Yoshi's but one is from work, one is the director of my kids preschool, and the third is in my book club.

So I go into my contact list and I edit their names with identifying prefixes thusly; everyone that I work with gets the prefix YY and then their name, so YY Yoshi. Everyone I know from preschool gets the prefix PS, so it becomes PS Yoshi. And book club then becomes BC Yoshi.

I do it to make group emailing easier (I don't utilize the group feature).
posted by vignettist at 7:17 PM on February 15, 2017

Best answer: The lawyer at my work at the same issue when switching from Outlook. She turned off the suggest feature.

I use TextExlander for people I email often. You type your own customized short code and it puts in any string of characters you say. So you could have a /share list or whatever.
posted by Monday at 7:31 PM on February 15, 2017

It is not a direct answer to how to fix gmail to prevent this, but have you considered getting a separate email address for personal and business? (Unless of course that was just an example. Then never mind.)

Also, you can export all your contacts out and then delete the ones you want to delete.
posted by AugustWest at 6:03 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Re. the nickname suggestion: I think the nicknames are used for voice requests like "Call Mom" but don't come up when composing an email in Gmail. There are two alternatives:

- Change the Name in contacts. Big warning: others will see the name you are using when you email them! This may be appropriate for "Mom" but not for "Cute Jane."

- Create a contact group with the name of your choice and put only that one person in it (so your group will only have one person). From what I've seen these work when emailing on the web but not the Gmail app.

As others have suggested, delete your personal contacts from work email and vice versa, and use two separate email addresses for work / personal email.

One more suggestion: if your boyfriend is using gmail, have him put in a profile photo. It'll be more obvious when you're emailing him because you will see his photo (on the web or using the gmail app).
posted by beyond_pink at 6:42 AM on February 16, 2017 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I don't actually have a boyfriend or a job per se. (I am a freelancer.) Those were fictional examples. And I do have a separate email for work, but's complicated.

I find it aggravating because with a person named Yoshi in your life, you would think this would not be an issue. You would think names like John would cause this type problem. But, noooo!

I am making forward progress on this. It will take more time and effort to resolve it.

Any tips on exporting my contacts list? Ideally, it should be exported to something web based, like Evernote (only preferably not Evernote, though I have an Evernote account).

Thanks all!
posted by Michele in California at 10:27 AM on February 16, 2017

If you've ever considered switching to a (non-web) mail client, IME Mozilla do much better auto-complete than The Search Company does. Thunderbird will match "sh jenk" to "sheena jenkins" (or even "jenk sh" or "s j shee"). Just keep typing until you narrow it down to one match! (It works great in Firefox, for searching thousands of bookmarked sites and months of browser history).

Thunderbird works well with GMail, although current development is not very active. Your OS might have another mail client you could try. "Native" mail clients might or might not also be better for other accessibility features, e.g. keyboard accessibility more generally.
posted by sourcejedi at 7:27 AM on February 17, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: The export to CSV format is just an unformatted spreadsheet. Save it in G Docs/Drive, and you could read (even edit) it fairly easily.
posted by sourcejedi at 7:36 AM on February 17, 2017

Best answer: Ah, just remember, importing it to a spreadsheet web app, means you would then have to export it back to CSV again when you want to re-import it... to be clearer:

You can export to a CSV which you will download to your computer. Upload it to Drive; it will stay a CSV file. If you ever open it e.g. to look for an address to copy+paste, you'll end up with a second copy of it as a Sheet.

Then if you really want to, you can also work with it as a Sheet. E.g. make a copy and delete some of the rows... before exporting it to CSV and importing it back into a mail app / address book.
posted by sourcejedi at 7:47 AM on February 17, 2017

« Older Tough choice: take 9 month job abroad or stay with...   |   The Stove That Would Not Boil Water Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.