Before i go down the dirty details of today’s post. I’d first like to point to a great extension for Firefox that will help you greatly enhance your Gmail experience: Greasemonkey. Greasemonkey is a Mozilla Firefox extension that allows users to install scripts that make on-the-fly changes to specific web pages.
To get you started, install the Greasemonkey extension from the mozilla addons page (getting it from the official mozilla addons makes sure that you’re getting the updated version and that it’s safe). After the installation is done, you will have to restart your browser for the change to take effect.
Installing greasemonkey wouldn’t give you wonders yet. What you need to do next is to install Gmail-specific scripts to improve the behavior of Gmail. For this post, I will discuss two of my favorite GM scripts for gmail: Macros, which adds more keyboard shortcuts to Gmail as well as a visual feedback when navigating around Gmail with keyboard shortcuts, and Conversation Preview, which shows a bubble showing the contents of a conversation without leaving your list of mesasages. Both of these greasemonkey scripts were created by Mihai Parparita, a Google developer working on the Reader.
Install the Macros script first by clicking this script and clicking Install when the Firefox dialog pops up. Do the same with Conversation preview script. After installing them, go back to your Gmail then refresh the browser to see the changes.
Using the Gmail Macro Script
This is my favorite. While the default set of Gmail shortcuts gives allows you to quickly navigate Gmail, (e.g. G-i: go to inbox,etc), Gmail Macros takes that a step further by providing keyboard shortcuts to directly access your Labels. In fact it makes G a universal goto shortcut that by just typing the first few letters, you can use it to go to chats, all mail, drafts and all the other folders and labels in your Gmail. And the slick graphical feedback is a beaut. If you need help with the different keyboard shortcuts, just press H while on your Gmail.
The conversation view is pretty simple but can be extremely useful. With this script enabled, right clicking on any conversation from the message list will display a ballon preview of what’s inside the conversation.
Hope you enjoyed this Gmail/Greasemonkey tip.