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How to Use Gmail for Android 2.3 & devices with a Menu button

This chapter is for the Gmail app that you get with Android devices that have a Menu button, that is all Android 2.3 phones and certain Android 4 phones (e.g. Samsung Galaxy S3). If your Android device doesn't have a Menu button, please go to the Gmail for Android 4 chapter.

In Android you normally have 2 email apps:

  1. Gmail, with the icon:
  2. Email, with the icon:
In this chapter we will examine Gmail for 2.3 devices, the next chapter will go through "other" emails. The Gmail app gives you very rich functionality. You start Gmail by tapping its icon, many users have it in the App Dock, or on a home-screen (perhaps in a folder), or in the App Drawer:

What is Gmail ?

Gmail is a free, search-based, advertising-supported email (web-mail) service, provided by Google, which is accessible from a Web browser anywhere or mobile devices.

One thing that makes Gmail a bit different from other email services is the use of Labels instead of Folders. They're called labels instead of folders because labels allow for a many to 1 relationship, that is, if you use folders you can only put an email in one folder, whereas with labels you can assign multiple labels to one email.

For example, if you can apply the "Finance" label to all emails that relate to financial matters. Then another one named "School" for everything relating to your children's school. So then if you receive an email from the school about the term fees you can have both labels assigned to it. The labels will appear on the left-side navigation pane. If you click on the "Finance" label then the email would appear there, among all other emails with that label (e.g. rent, insurance etc). If you then click on "School" the same email would appear there, among other emails relating to the school.

You can of course assign labels manually. You can even setup filters that will automatically assign labels.

Select Gmail Account, Manage the Inbox

Android allows you to have multiple Gmail accounts. If you only have one, then of course the Gmail app will only show that, otherwise you can change the Gmail account by tapping the account name at the top of the screen.

Then you select one or more emails as in the middle screen below, just tap each one's empty square to the left, then perform one of the actions. After the selection the action menu at the bottom will give you the following choices:
Archive, Delete, Change Labels

If you press the Menu button you'll get the additional actions as shown in the rightmost screen.

Select Account Act on mails Menu -> Additional actions

Compose Gmail

When you're at the inbox then tap the Menu button, then select Compose. After you've chosen the compose action, you will see the right screen below. Just fill in the To, Subject and Compose fields then tap the Send envelope+arrow at the top to send it.

Tap Menu button Compose & Send

Read & Manage one Gmail

In the left screen below we just tap one of the emails for an example. In the middle screen (step 2) you can see the immediate actions. At the bottom you have:
Archive, Delete, Next email above, Next email below

At the top-right you have the following:
Star mark, Reply, Expand

If you tap the rightmost arrow you'll get to the expanded top-menu as seen in step 3 below:
Star mark, Reply, Reply All, Forward, Hide Expand

1 Select an email 2 Tap top expand 3 Expanded Top Menu

The above actions will most likely be enough for most everyday uses. To get to more advanced options you start by tapping the Menu button while you read an email, then you'll see the menu actions in the pop-up in in the middle screen in step 5. For even more actions then More and get the expanded menu in step 6.

4 Tap Menu button 5 Tap More 6 Expanded Menu