Email

Related pages

The University's email service for all staff and students is provided by Google Apps.

Log in to Google Apps with your York email address and password.

Sign in to Google Mail »

Overview

Eligibility

All members of the University are automatically given a personal email account.

You'll automatically get an email account when you register your IT Services account:

  • Students are given an email address with the format username@york.ac.uk.
  • Staff are given an email address based on their name, normally in the format firstname.surname@york.ac.uk. See Staff email address format for details of staff email addresses.
  • Associate staff can choose a name based email address when they register, if they wish.

Access your email using the Google Mail web page, or by installing the app for your phone or tablet:

Your email account has unlimited storage space.

Changed your name?

Find out how to get a new email address:

Key features of Google Mail

  • Conversation view - keeps the replies to a thread together in one message
  • Labels - sort your email. Works like folders, only better
  • Out of office reply
  • Inbox views - set up your email to suit the way you work
  • Message filters
  • Delegating access - allow your PA to access your mail and send messages on your behalf
  • Labs

Find out more about using these Google Mail features, and more, on our Google Apps site.

Non-personal accounts

A non-personal account can be requested to provide you with a separate email account.

For example:

  • to keep messages separate from the owner's personal account
  • to make it easier to hand over the role from one person to the next
  • to enable several people to monitor and manage the email account

You can also request up to 25 custom email addresses. This allows you to have email addresses that are descriptive and easy to remember.

Your non-personal account can be set up to send messages so they appear to come from the custom email address.

How to request

The owner of a non-personal account can request it be set up with email providing only they know the account's password. Other people can then be given delegated access. Contact the Library & IT Help Desk to request a new account, or an update to an existing account.

If you need a custom email address for your account, contact your Departmental Computing Officer, who will pass your request to the Library & IT Help Desk on your behalf.

Please allow three working days for these requests for new accounts or custom email addresses to be processed.

Using Google Mail

Account settings

To change your preferences, click the gears icon at the top of any Google Mail page and select Settings.

General tab

Accounts tab

  • Custom 'From:' options

Labels and Filters tabs

  • Manage labels and filters

Themes tab

  • Customize the look and feel of Google Mail.

Archiving

Archiving lets you tidy up your inbox.

When you select to archive a message, it is moved from your inbox to the All Mail label.

Any message you've archived can be found by:

  • clicking All Mail in the list of labels on the left side of your Google Mail page
  • clicking on any other labels you've applied to it
  • searching for it

When someone responds to a message you've archived, the conversation will reappear in your inbox.

Spam

IT Services guide to spam

Google Mail automatically moves spam out of your inbox, applies the spam label and deletes it after 30 days.

You can see all spam messages by selecting the Spam label on the left pane. Check your spam folder regularly to make sure incorrectly labelled messages aren't lost.

If a spam message arrives in your inbox, select the message, then click the Spam button.

If a legitimate message is incorrectly labelled as spam, select the message and click the Not spam button.

If you find that some senders' messages are consistently being mislabelled as spam, you can prevent this by adding their email addresses to your Contacts list.

Why messages are marked as spam

If you click your Spam label and open one of the messages, you'll see a message at the top with a brief explanation about why that particular message was placed in Spam. Use this information to protect yourself from potentially dangerous or fraudulent messages and to better understand why a message was or wasn't marked as spam.

Here are some of the explanations that you might see:

Email etiquette and effective usage

We receive on average 7.9 million emails per month on the University of York domain, that’s seven times as many emails as we send. We’ve distilled all of our advice into our top 10 tips for effective email usage:

Other ways to access email

We strongly recommend using the web interface to access Google Mail, as it allows you to make full use of all the features including full integration with Google Apps.

When you're on the move, use one of the apps available for phones and tablets:

If you're more familiar with Outlook, Google provide advice on moving to Google Mail, including a features comparison:

We also have instructions for anyone wishing to use Outlook, or other applications, but you should be aware that this will reduce functionality:

Switching between multiple Gmail accounts

You may wish to move between multiple Gmail accounts. This could be because you're using a non-personal University account, or because you have a non-University Gmail account. Google's multiple account feature allows you to remain logged-in to multiple accounts, and switch between them quickly.

  • Click on your picture, displayed at the top right of the screen
  • Select Add account
  • Enter the email address and password for another account you wish to access and click Sign in.
  • Once you've done this, you'll be able to move between the accounts by clicking on your picture, and selecting the account you wish to access from the drop-down menu.

You are advised to use this feature with caution - for example, ensure that you check which account you are using before you send email. Many people set different themes so they can see at a glance which account they are using.

Note for Android users: When you set up a personal (not work-owned) Android phone or tablet that you intend to use with multiple accounts, it's important that you connect it to your personal Google account before you connect it to your University Google account. If you connect to the University account first, your Google Play account and other facilities will be linked to the University account, so you'll lose access to apps and other content if you leave the University.

When you leave

Find out what happens to your email account when you leave:

Help & troubleshooting

Help from Google

Google's getting started tutorial provides a basic introduction to Mail's features.

Help from IT Services

The IT Services Google Apps site includes hints, tips, video tutorials and details about our popular Google Knowledge Sharing events:

If you're having problems using Google Mail, get in touch with the Library & IT Help Desk.

Troubleshooting

ProblemSolution
Missing features or strange behaviour when using the website

Google Mail can be accessed from most web browsers, and is also available via Android and iOS apps.

The Google Mail web interface is supported by the current and prior major releases of the Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox desktop web browsers.

Mobile web browsers must meet certain minimum requirements of functionality.

Using Google's Chrome web browser gives the most complete and feature rich experience, including the ability to set up Google Mail Offline for when Internet connectivity isn't available.

Further information can be found in Google's help pages on Supported Browsers.

When I click someone's email address on a web page, Outlook opens.

You need to set your web browser to open email links in Gmail.

Chrome:

  1. Open Gmail in Chrome and click the Protocol Handler icon (it looks like overlapping-diamonds) in the address bar.
    Protocol handler icon

  2. In the "Allow mail.google.com to open all email links?" window, select Allow and click Done.
    Select to allow

Firefox:

Internet Explorer:

  1. Download and install the Google Toolbar
  2. Click the spanner settings icon
  3. Under the General section, tick Use Gmail for "Mail To" links
Legitimate mail is marked as spam.

If you find a message wrongly classified as spam, select it, and click the Not Spam button. This will automatically move it to your inbox.

If you find that some senders' messages are consistently being mislabeled as spam, you can prevent this by:

  • Adding them to your Contacts list. Google will deliver messages from members of your Contacts list to your inbox, unless they know with high confidence that they are spam.
  • Creating a filter so the messages are never sent to Spam.
I sent a message to myself/to a mailing list, but I didn't receive a copy of it.

If you send a message to a mailing list or CC it to yourself, you won't receive a copy in your inbox, but you will still be able to find it in your Sent Mail folder.

I can't send an attachment as the file is too big.

The maximum attachment size is 25MB. If your file is larger than this you can:

I can't connect from China

See: Data & security

Our commitments

Service status Live and supported service.
Hours of service 24/7
Service support

For help and support with this service, contact the Library & IT Help Desk.

As part of the Google Apps for Education suite this service is entirely owned and managed by Google, who will monitor for, identify and fix all faults.

Hours of support Help from the Library & IT Help Desk is available 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.
Target availability

General IT Services targets:

Google Apps Service Level Agreement
Service Level Agreement
Our performance

Our service standards have been produced in consultation with our customers, and monitor the quality, timeliness and access to facilities and services:

Google Apps Service Level Agreement

Complaints procedure

If you wish to give us general feedback on this service, please see our Feedback page for ways to get in touch.

If you wish to make a complaint, please see our complaints procedure.

Your responsibilities

We expect you to:

  • use the email account and address provided to you for your University work
  • ensure that only the email account's owner knows the password, and ensure non-personal account passwords are not shared
  • let us know when an alias-based email address is no longer required
  • be careful when typing in email addresses and using the autocomplete feature, to ensure you don't email the wrong person
  • not send unsolicited mail in bulk to members of the University - this is regarded as abuse of the directory facility

Email etiquette and effective email usage

We received on average 7.9 million emails per month on the University of York domain, that’s seven times as many emails as we send. It is estimated that people now spend one third of their time at the office - and half of the time they work at home - reading and answering emails. This presents a challenge for both academic and professional support staff; balancing workloads and responsiveness.

This guidance below will help you make effective use of email and manage your inbox, and increase awareness of following:

  • how you can use the medium of email effectively
  • how you can make email work better for you and the University of York
  • how to reduce time spent and gain more control over your email traffic.

Our top 10 tips

We’ve distilled all of our advice into our top 10 tips for effective email usage and we hope that these can be adopted across the organisation. This guidance and advice is focused on Gmail as it's our supported email service. We recommend that you use Gmail and if you choose to use an alternate email client you may not be able to use some of the features we’ve referenced.

1. Ask yourself if you really need to send this email

What are you trying to achieve by sending an email? If you’re looking for a quick response, a chat service, a phone call, or a physical conversation may work better. A group chat tool can be useful if you need to discuss something without creating a long and confusing email chain. If your email is a regular update to a group of people, then a blog or social media website may work better and enable recipients to engage more with your content.

2. Use smarter subject lines

Start with a subject line that clearly labels the topic, and maybe includes a status category eg [Info], [Action], [Time Sens] [Low Priority]. This makes it clear what you want people to do. Use [Urgent] and [Important] with caution - urgency and importance are subjective!

Gmail groups together email with the same subject in conversation threads. If the topic changes later, just change the subject accordingly. That way, you won’t have any unrelated messages linked together in your inbox.

3. Look at how your email is written

How long is your email? Where have you put the key messages or actions you want the other person to take in? Remember, people have a lot of emails to read and will skim them for the most important points. Get quickly to the point and use concise sentences and short paragraphs, putting anything particularly important separate from the rest of the text. Keep your email short, using links to external pages where necessary.

You can find further ideas for how to do this in this video on how to annoy people with email.

4. Share don’t send

When you attach a file to an email, you lose control over access to that file and how many versions there are - this is bad for security.

In your email you can include a link to a document in Google Drive rather than attaching it as a file. Using Drive rather than attachments to share documents allows for control over permissions even if the email is forwarded to other people. It also means there is only ever one document (with version history).

You can also add a document (eg an agenda) to an event in Google Calendar and use the ‘Share’ button to let people know you’d like to collaborate.

Find out more about document sharing and collaborative editing:

5. Think before you send

Always proofread your email. There are a couple of things you can do to avoid those unfortunate incidents where you’ve sent an email to the wrong person. Write your email first and add the recipients once you’re finished. You can configure Gmail’s Undo Send feature, which gives you up to 30 seconds to retrieve an email that you’ve just sent.

6. Understand when to use CC, BCC and Reply All

For every recipient you add, you are dramatically multiplying total response time. Be respectful of people’s time and think about whether they really need the information you are sending. When there are multiple recipients, please don't default to 'Reply All'. Maybe you only need to cc a couple of people on the original thread. Or none.

We recommend using BCC if you are emailing a group of staff who don’t know each other. And you should always use it if emailing a group of students or customers, so that you don’t share email addresses without a lawful basis for doing so. To be safe, ask a colleague to check that you have used BCC before you send an email to a large group of people.

7. Signed, sealed, delivered

Many people in our organisation work outside of core hours. Often people try to manage this by using a third-party email scheduler, but this may mask a problem with people working outside of office hours or transfer the issue of email traffic back to office hours. The University doesn’t have a contract in place with an email scheduler and free versions should not be used as they will have full access to your emails so would not be GDPR compliant.  

We need to acknowledge that work life balance and wellbeing are based on individual personal preference and working out of core hours may suit different people's preferences and commitments. Acknowledging this and having realistic expectations on response times can address this issue.

You can use your email signature to explain that you don’t require a response straight away. We’d suggest something like:

‚ÄčI work flexibly - so whilst it suits me to email now, I do not expect a response or action outside of your own working hours.

8. Use the features of email to your advantage

You can manage your incoming mail using Gmail’s filters. This enables you to set up rules to attach a label, archive, delete, star, or automatically forward your emails.

Labels work like folders, except you can add multiple labels to a message.

You can delegate access to your account or to a non-personal account. This way you don’t share passwords and all staff have access to the email accounts they need.

Sort your emails into different inbox tabs or use the ‘priority inbox’ setting, where your emails are automatically split into three sections: important and unread, starred, and everything else. The G Suite Learning Centre provides useful advice to choose the right inbox setting for you.

Under your Advanced Settings in Gmail you can find a number of features you can turn on to help manage email to your advantage. These include a preview pane, canned responses (templates) and custom keyboard shortcuts.

Working within the Gmail client itself also means you can use the following Google products in the sidebar, in the same browser window so you don’t need to switch between tabs:

‌Calendar: Check your schedule and add or edit events.

‌Keep: Create a note or list.

 Tasks: Add to-do items and deadlines.

9. Limit how often you check your email

If we all agreed to spend less time sending email, we'd all receive less email! Consider scheduling half-days at work where you can't go online. Or a commitment to email-free weekends.

10. Don’t handle an email more than once

‘Do, Delegate, Delete’ is a good practice to get into when working through your email. This ensures that you only ever handle each email once.

Rather than using your inbox as a running task list, move actions from emails to another system such as Google Tasks or Google Keep.

If you want to clean up your inbox without deleting your emails, you can archive or mute them. Your emails are moved to a label called "All Mail."

When you archive a message: The message will come back to your inbox when someone replies to it.

When you mute a message: Any replies stay out of your inbox. You can search for the conversation if you want to find it again.

When you delete a message it stays in your Trash for 30 days. After that time, it will be permanently deleted.

Useful email effectiveness resources