Gmail Helpers

I love Gmail because it’s easy to access from anywhere there’s an Internet connection.

But sometimes browsers and even Windows itself don’t know how to attach a PDF file to Gmail. And if you need frequent access to more than one Gmail account, signing out and in again is an annoyance. I found solutions!

Outsmart Adobe Reader and send your PDFs via Gmail and Outlook.com

Adobe Reader is the oldest and best-known PDF reader. Although there are others, Reader dominates, and it has its quirks.

One of the most annoying “features” of modern versions of Reader tries to force us to use a desktop email client like Windows Live Mail or Thunderbird.

If you scan something, open it in Adobe Reader and want to email that thing, you might just want to send it via Hotmail, or Outlook.com or Gmail. But Reader insists it has no idea what you’re talking about, feigning ignorance of web-based email.

I found a way around it.

  • Open your document in Adobe Reader
  • Click on the envelope icon
  • Click on Send a File
  • Choose which web-based email you want to use, and follow the prompts on the next screens to enter your email address and password. (If you always want to use this email address, check the Remember my choice box. Leave it blank for more flexibility.)
  • Follow the prompts to see your chosen email open and attach your file.
  • Address the email, type in your message, change the subject line if you like! Then send your email

You can follow the progression here. I used Gmail for that demonstration. The instructions for Hotmail/Outlook.com are the same; the screens would look a little different.

Outsmart everything and use Gmail as your email client

Gmail is meant to be used in a browser. Of course, Google would prefer you use it in Google’s browser, called Chrome. But it works well in Firefox, and it will limp along in Microsoft Edge.

The advantage of a web-based email is that you do not need an email client like Windows Live Mail or Outlook to access your email. All you need is a device with an internet connection. Y

ou’ll be able to send and receive your email and have access to all your saved email from any internet-connected computer. Which is most of them.

If there’s a disadvantage, it comes when you’re using more than one Gmail account. When you’re signed into one and you want to access another you have to sign out of the open account and sign in to the other one. Having to do that all day is an annoyance.

I’ve been testing an app called Kiwi, which looks like Gmail in a browser but functions like a desktop email client. This works well, and gives you access to all the features of the browser version.

The real draw here is that it gives you access to more than one Gmail account without having to sign in and out each time.

There are plenty of other features, particularly if you use G Suite (the new name for Google Apps). Kiwi links Gmail, Google Docs, and Sheets in a way that makes it feel a lot like Microsoft Office 365.

(More about G Suite here.)

There are free and paid versions. When you download Kiwi, you’ll get a trial version with all the features. After 30 days you can either subscribe for $9.99 (USD) per year, or lose some of the features and use the free version.

In comparing features, you can see the paid version gives you access to six Gmail accounts. The free version limits you to just one.

What if you have two Gmail accounts? Well, there’s nothing to stop you from using Kiwi for one of them and a browser for the other.

Have you tried Kiwi or another desktop email client for Gmail? Does it work for you?

Send email to [email protected] and tell us what you like and what you don’t.


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About the Author

The Technology Shaman, Cate Eales, has been helping people make online computing safe, accessible, and fun for over 30 years.

Cate lives in Kelowna with her husband, Eric. She owns and operates Computer Care Kelowna, a mobile computer business providing on-site service for home and small business customers.

Cate is here to help you and your home or business computer get along.

E-mail Cate at [email protected] with comments, suggestions, or questions.

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