Sunday, April 19, 2009

Gmail is getting full - what to do?

I just filled up my 3rd (that's right 3rd!) Gmail account.

Gmail has plenty of storage - for most people. And they keep adding it every day. As of April 19, 2009 they offer 7.86 GB of storage. Picasa (which I have almost filled up as well) has 1 GB.

I don't know why, but that is not enough Gmail storage for me. I send and receive loads of photos and pdf files so maybe that is why I tend to fill up accounts.

One solution is to pay for more storage. Check here for more information.

If you don't want to do that, here are a couple of free solutions:

In the past I have just created a new Gmail account and had mail forwarded. But that option had some challenges - the biggest being exporting my contact list. I can get all the addresses in the new account, but so far (as of April 19,2009) Gmail doesn't have a way to export contact groups. I use groups all the time and it is a royal hassle to recreate them.

Or - you can clean up your current account

So today I decided to do some Gmail 'spring cleaning' by getting rid of some messages. Since I have over 7,ooo inbox messages and who knows how many sent messages, I wasn't about to go through them one by one. What I really wanted was to delete messages with large attachments. I didn't want to do that for messages sent to me, because there are some precious photos in that group that are wonderfully searchable and difficult to recreat if lost. Keeping them in gmail is a great way to have a backup. But the messages I sent to others are not as important to save since I have them (somewhere) on my hard drive or in back ups.

Here is what to do to just find sent messages with attachments:

type this into the 'search mail' window at the top of your gmail screen:

has:attachment from:me label:sent

if you want to find all messages (sent and received) with attachments type:


Scan through these messages (if you want) to make sure you don't mind deleting them.

Just above your list of emails there is an option to 'select' 'all'.

Do that

Now a little message will appear that asks if you want to select all messages from that search. Click that and now everything is selected.

Now, get brave, and click 'delete'. You will get a chance to change your mind when Gmail asks if you are sure.

When I did that, my account went from 94% full to 61% full!

Emailing higher resolution pictures in Picasa

Don't you wish you could see the faces of these darling children from Guyana?

Do you want to avoid emailing photos that turn out like this?

I know - I exaggerated the problem by making this photo very very low resolution - but you can limit the impact and usability of photos by sending them in small sizes.

Photo size is most often measured by pixels - that is dots per inch. This is also known as resolution. Optimal resolution depends on the end use of the photo. Here is what I like:

For presentations, I like the largest dimension to be at least 1000 pixels.

For printing, full resolution is best.

If you are using Picasa to host and email your photos, here is how to adjust resolution (from the Picasa help website):

Sending multiple photos at once:

1. In Picasa, click Tools > Options (Windows) or Picasa > Preferences (Mac).
2. Select the Email tab.
3. Use the slider to set your desired pixel size when emailing multiple photos. Use the radio buttons to set the desired pixel size for emailing single photos.
4. Click OK.

Sending one photo at a time - the only way to get full resolution:

You can email a photo in its full resolution using Picasa, however you can only send one full resolution photo at a time. Please follow these steps to set your email options to send photos in their original size:

1. Click Tools > Options (Windows) or Picasa > Preferences (Mac).
2. Select the Email tab.
3. Under 'When sending single pictures, resize to:' (Windows) or 'Size for single pictures' (Mac), select the 'Original Size' option.
4. Click OK.

Once this option is selected, any single photo you send using Picasa will be in full resolution. It's not possible to send multiple photos at once in their original sizes.