A while ago I found out about some pretty useful tricks that gmail allows you to do with your email address. While talking to some coworkers I was reminded that not everyone is aware of these, so I’d better share.
#1 – Dots Are Optional
Gmail will ignore any dots in the username portion of the email address. For example, the address
firstname.lastname@example.org are the same, mail sent to both addresses will be delivered the the same account. When I created my email address with gmail I used several dots, and over the years it’s gotten to be a bit cumbersome to always type them out (especially on mobile devices) or say it out loud to people. It’s nice to know that I cam just omit them completely and everything will still work the same. You can also go the other way with it of course. If your email has no dots and you think dots are mega-rad, go ahead and start telling people your email address with added dots; it’s really the exact same anyways!
Do keep in mind though that whatever address you signed up with, you will still need to use that to log in to google services with. It must match exactly, dots and all.
#2 – Add Whatever You Want After A Plus
Another optional character is the
+ sign in the username portion. If your email is, again,
email@example.com, the address
joeshmo+ICanAddWhateverIWantHere@gmail.com is completely valid as well. It will be delivered to you like normal, just like the trick above with optional dots. But how is this useful?
I use this as a way of keeping track of who has my email address. When I sign up for some new service I usually add the domain or company name after the plus sign. If I’m signing up for a somewhat-sketchy looking site (let’s say it’s called SketchCo) I’ll tell them my email address is
firstname.lastname@example.org. Now whenever I receive an email to this address that is not a SketchCo email, I know exactly who sold my email to a list!
This can also be used with the powerful rules and labels features in gmail. You could add a label on any email that comes in sent to a specific variation on your own email address. I personally don’t use it in this way, but it would be incredibly easy to do so. Unfortunately, some sign up forms on websites do not treat the
+ symbol as a valid character in an email address, even though it totally is valid. When this is the case, you just won’t be able to use this trick on these sites.
So, what have we learned? Now we know that when using gmail, the email addresses
b.i.l.l.c.o.s.b.y+JelloPudding.KodakFilm@gmail.com are actually the same email address. It’s a little crazy, but it can be pretty useful if you know the tricks!