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How to Mark Messages Using Stars in Gmail

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Sure, you can set up a label called "starred" in Gmail; and one called "to do" with a corresponding "done" label for your collaborators.

Spare the labels for projects and recipes, though. Gmail has stars built in, and they are easily assigned with click or key. You can even customize stars to your liking — to add a red exclamation mark and a green done tick, for example.

Mark Messages Using Stars in Gmail

To mark an email for later in Gmail:

  • Click the star outline next to the message (either when it is open or in the message list).
    • Click again to remove the star or cycle through multiple stars (see below).
    • You can also press s to add and remove stars.

You can also star messages as you send them in Gmail.

Configure Custom Stars in Gmail

To add set up custom stars (through which you can cycle by clicking the star repeatedly) in Gmail:

  • Click the gear in your Gmail's toolbar.
  • Select Settings from the menu.
  • Go to the General category.
  • Under Stars:, drag and drop the stars (also from Not in use:) to line up the desired stars in your favorite order after In use:.
    • Of course, you can also use Stars: to replace the standard yellow star with the red exclamation mark sign, for example. Arrange the stars so that just the latter shows up under In use:.
  • Click Save Changes.

You can search for messages bearing any of the extra markers.

(Updated March 2012)

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