Since April 1, 2004, the launch date of Gmail, Google’s email service has evolved drastically. As such, apart from the obviously improved interface, it’s also now equipped with more features. However, despite such advancements, Gmail is yet to be perfect, and users still yearn for additional functionalities, like seamlessly connecting with their other essential tools/services. Accordingly, these reasons, as well as the need for more customization and control options, lead to the popularity of extensions and add-ons. Regardless, if one is interested in these solutions, this article can help. Below, we’ll discuss what Gmail add-ons and extensions are and list the best ones available today.
What are Gmail Add-ons and Extensions?
Aside from Gmail, countless apps or services commonly use the terms “extension” and “add-on.” However, as similar-sounding these words are, the technologies they’re representing have key differences, particularly for Google applications.
In detail, add-ons are scripts that extend Gmail’s functionalities by communicating directly with the email service’s servers. Currently, such tools are available on the Google Workspace Marketplace, manageable via Gmail’s settings tab, and accessible from the side panel or the mail compose window. On the other hand, extensions are mini-programs that are installed and work directly from Chrome or any Chromium-based browser. Unlike the former, extensions are available on the Chrome Web Store and typically offer more interface customization options. Additionally, these pieces of software are accessible via the browser menu, browser window pop-ups, and Gmail message compose window.
15 Best Gmail Add-ons and Extensions
Boxysuite is a Gmail client that can be considered as a locally-installed add-on. Unlike accessing the service on Chrome tabs, Boxysuite provides a clean and focused environment for managing emails on Mac. Also, since it’s the only native macOS Gmail app, users can benefit from system-level features like desktop notifications, dock icon alerts counter, automatic dark mode, and Menu Bar and keyboard shortcuts. On top of that, it supports other Google services, namely Calendar, Contacts, and Keep, for even enhanced workflow and productivity.
2. Zoom for Gmail
Undeniably, Zoom is the most popular video conferencing app in the world. Thus, it’s beneficial to have the ability to connect it with Gmail, where countless individuals and companies send out meeting invites, plan online conferences, and communicate with contacts. Nevertheless, Zoom for Gmail is an add-on that integrates the tool with Google’s email service. As such, it’s accessible in the side panel and allows quick meeting scheduling, viewing upcoming meetings, and starting a conference without leaving the inbox. Additionally, it’s possible to share or attach meeting links/details to emails so other participants can join faster.
3. DocHub for Gmail
DocHub for Gmail makes it easier to edit, sign, and manage PDFs or any document for emails. In the process, one can open a PDF in the DocHub side panel window, sign or edit, and instantly reply to the thread with the saved version. Moreover, the add-on has a wide array of features, including a full-fledged editor, page management tools, personal templates, and encryption. It also supports most file formats and allows users to attach saved documents to emails from the side panel with just a few clicks.
If unfamiliar, TickTick is an all-in-one task management tool from Appest Inc. Unlike Google Tasks, the TickTick add-on offers advanced features and truly enhances Gmail productivity. Furthermore, the tool allows users to access to-do lists, kanban boards, calendars, and even a Pomodoro timer right from the side panel. Also, one can attach emails to tasks or events and set reminders for messages. After editing, changes will sync across devices through a TickTick account.
5. Zapier for Gmail
Zapier, an acclaimed automation service, is also available as a Gmail add-on. With it, users can integrate emails with their workflows and other essential tools. In detail, after signing in to a Zapier account, it will be easier to forward emails to apps like Todoists, Slack, and Trello using shortcuts or automation rules. In short, the add-on saves Gmail users time by eliminating the need to copy and paste or switch to apps/tabs only to share a message.
6. Mergo Mail Merge
Mergo mail merge is a powerful add-on designed for marketers or individuals who perform email campaigns. It supports simple batch sending through the Gmail web app and personalized messages using Google Sheets. Apart from that, it’s possible to create well-formatted email templates using the Google Docs text editor. Mergo mail merge’s other features include mail tracking, message preview, repeating emails (weekly or monthly), personalized attachments to each recipient, and more.
7. Bee Templates for Gmail
Unlike Google’s office tools, Gmail doesn’t offer pre-made templates natively. Thankfully, many add-ons, particularly BEE Templates, exist to address this shortcoming. In action, BEE Templates has a library of stunning and editable email templates that’s accessible right from the side panel. Such designs are suitable for invitations, digital greeting cards, or even impressing investors. Not only that, but it also supports CV creation for easier job applications through Gmail and composing promotional messages for marketing.
8. Simplify Gmail
Even though Gmail has one of the best-designed interfaces among email providers, it’s still not totally intuitive and clean. Accordingly, this is where the extension Simplify Gmail comes in. As the name suggests, it declutters the inbox by removing unnecessary elements like lines, colored markers, and ads, making messages more legible, and collapsing the menu bar. On top of that, it adds more keyboard shortcuts, improves dark mode contrast, and blocks email spy trackers.
9. Clearbit Connect
Clearbit Connect is an unbelievably free extension for Gmail that is exceptional at learning about an email sender and growing the contact list. As such, after receiving an email, Clearbit will show a pop-up displaying the sender’s information, including name, social accounts, location, phone number, and career background. Aside from that, the extension makes it easier to discover important email addresses of different companies for email outreach and marketing campaigns.
10. Gmail Sender Icons
For casual users, browsing through a few emails in the inbox should be an easy task. However, for anyone who deals with a plethora of messages daily, anything that can reduce the time of identifying emails would be great. Regardless, Gmail Sender Icons is a simple extension that displays the favicon and domain name of the sender right before the message body preview. Ideally, deciding what email to open first and performing batch deletion or grouping should be way easier.
Even with the billions of users worldwide, Gmail is yet to unlock “read receipts” for non-Google Workspace subscribers. However, while it’s available to any work or school account, the recipient will still have to approve the “read receipt” request for it to function. Fortunately, using an extension called MailTracker can solve this issue. In the process, one will merely have to activate the tracking feature in the compose window before sending. After that, it should be effortless to view the read/open status and statistics of an email later on in the inbox display or conversation history.
12. Gmail Mod
When inspecting media attachments in emails, Gmail’s player should be enough. However, for anyone wanting a better media viewer and is not in favor of Google Drive scanning files, then Gmail Mod is an extension worth checking out. After installing, there will be a third play button in the attachment preview, which opens a video or music file in the extension’s player. Additionally, users will enjoy advanced features like playback speed control, full-screen viewing, and picture-in-picture mode for multitasking.
13. Gmail Show Time
Again, for power users, any tool or extension that makes it easier to identify emails in the inbox view would be helpful. In this case, Gmail Show Time improves the email list by implementing detailed timestamps. As such, after installation, the message preview will add the day, complete date, and time of a particular email’s arrival. Thankfully, the timestamp format is customizable, and the extension supports calendars of other languages.
14. GIPHY for Gmail
While email is typically for professional use, it doesn’t mean that people can’t have a little fun using it. Accordingly, to put a little color into conversations, one can attach GIFs to emails using the GIPHY extension. By pressing the GIPHY button in Gmail’s compose window, users can select one or more items from thousands of popular and trending GIFs and send them quickly.
Today, Gmail’s attachment support is still not that great. When sending a file larger than 25MB like a video through Gmail, Gmail will automatically upload it to Google Drive and then attach the link to the email. However, if the file surpasses 100MB, Google will not scan it for malware. Apart from that, there are limits to the allowed total file size to send daily and at once. Nevertheless, to avoid such hassles, one can install and use the Sendy extension. In action, it enables sending files up to 50GB at once, better than Drive’s 10GB restriction, and supports attaching folders. Also, it can password-protect documents and set shared link expiration of up to 48 hours.
Why to Use Gmail Add-ons and Extensions?
Utilizing Gmail add-ons and extensions is an excellent way to supercharge and customize Google’s email service. In detail, these technologies allow users to add essential functions like mail “read receipts” and a built-in media player. Additionally, extensions enable anyone to attach files that are larger than Gmail’s file size limit quickly and without needing to use Google Drive. Moreover, add-ons permit the seamless connection between the inbox and countless services outside Google’s productivity suite. In other words, such tools provide the ability to change Gmail’s looks/behavior and add features that should have been there in the first place.
Indeed, Gmail is a fantastic service that’s highly reliable and easy to use. Yet, even today, it’s still quite far from being perfect, and the user features wishlist remains long. Thankfully, most of the time, there is an equivalent solution in the form of an add-on or extension to a Gmail issue or shortcoming. However, sometimes, browsing the Chrome Web Store or Google Workspace Marketplace to find something can take time, so it’s best to exercise patience. Finally, for anyone looking to learn or try these technologies, checking the 15 recommendations above should be a great start.