Setup Gmail as an Email Command Center

January 25th, 2012 § 0 comments

I have a boatload of google accounts and even more email addresses. To avoid having to log in to a myriad of accounts and sites I’ve setup my primary Gmail account to check and send emails from all of these accounts. Now you could setup your non-primary accounts to simply forward all of your emails to your primary account but I recommend that you instead setup your primary email account to fetch emails from your non-primary account. It seems like a subtle distinction but this has three advantages

  1. If you respond to an email sent to a non-primary email address the recipient is completely unaware that you are checking your email from a different account as gmail is smart enough to respond using the email address that the recipient originally wrote to. This can be quite useful if you have one or more professional accounts to setup.
  2. Along those same lines you can also setup distinct signatures for each account. Again it looks more professional.
  3. All emails from non-primary accounts can now be labeled so they stand out and are automatically categorized.

Now there are a couple disadvantages to this system that you should be aware of.

  1. Since your primary account has to fetch emails from your non-primary accounts it can sometimes take a while (up to an hour) for the emails to show up in your inbox. Fortunately there is a refresh button at the top that will force Gmail to fetch new emails right now god damn it!
  2. You won’t be able to mimic this behavior anywhere but in Gmail. If you use your phone or Outlook to check email all the emails will show up but unless it supports Gmail and it’s wacky (but awesome) label system you won’t be able to be able to tell which account an email was sent to and any replies will come from your primary email address :(

Ok, so are you still on board? If so then I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that the steps needed to set this up look very long and intimidating. The good news is that it looks a lot worse than it is. Some steps are literally “click next” so don’t be scared. I just wanted to make sure I covered all the steps, even the obvious ones.

Add an account to your Gmail command center

  1. Log in to the Gmail account that you want to be your Command Center
  2. Look in the top right corner and click the gear icon
  3. Click Settings
  4. Click the Accounts tab at the top
  5. Click Add a POP3 mail account you own found under the “Check mail using POP3” secion
  6. A popup window should appear prompting you to enter your email address. Do so and click next.
  7. If you are doing this for a service other than Gmail then the settings on the next page will vary depending upon your email provider. I suggest you google “[provider name] pop settings” where [provider name] is the part after the @ symbol (eg: “hotmail pop settings“)
  8. If you are setting up for a gmail or a domain hosted by google account then you want the following settings
    • Username: your full email address (eg: or
    • Password: the password for the email address above
    • POP Server:
    • Port: 995
    • Leave a copy….: unchecked
    • Always use a secure connection ….: checked
    • Label incoming messages: checked though I like to shorten the label a bit.
    • Archive incoming messages: unchecked unless you don’t want to see emails from this account in your inbox
  9. The next part asks if you want to send mail from this account, I always choose yes.
  10. Enter your name and click Next Step
  11. If your secondary account is a gmail account then I recommend you select the 2nd option1 on this page and use the following SMTP settings:
    • SMTP Server:
    • Port: 587
    • Username: your full email address (eg: or
    • Password: the password for the email address above
    • Secured connection using TLS
  12. Click Add Account
  13. You can now close the popup window and go back to your primary gmail account but you have one more step
  14. and click on the gmail refresh button
  15. This will pull all the emails from your newly linked account and at the top of the list should be an email from google (or your domain) with a subject similar to “Confirmation – Send Mail as”
  16. Open the email and click on the link

Phew! You are all done. Now you might want to customize your new label so that it stands out better by changing the color2 but that’s just icing on the cake.

  1. actually I always recommend the 2nd option because it reduces the likely hood of your email showing up as spam and hides the email address for your primary account. If you are not setting a gmail account then simply google [provider name] smtp settings to find the relevant settings []
  2. hover over the new label and click on the arrow to the right []

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