Managing Multiple Gmail Accounts From One Inbox

Q: I use several different Gmail accounts to keep my work and private lives separated. Is there a way to manage all of these without signing out and back in each time I want to switch?

GmailLogoSmall-Post.pngA: Google Laps has been rolling out lots of new features lately designed to make your lives a little bit easier. (See yesterday's Toolkit on how to restore your Gmail contacts up to thirty days after changes are made.) The latest is helpful for individuals who have more than one Gmail account. Why have more than one? Maybe you fear running out of storage -- it used to seem unlimited, but my capacity is quickly filling up -- or you have separate accounts for work and play. Whatever the reason, now you can access all of those accounts from one page.

To set up email delegation, login to your secondary email accounts and click on the Settings button at the top of the screen. From there, navigate to Accounts and Import where, near the bottom of the page, there is an option to "Grant access to your account." Add the email address of your primary account where a confirmation email will be sent. After you do this with each of your secondary accounts, login to the primary Gmail and accent all of the requests. It can take up to thirty minutes from this point for the change to be made to your account. Once it has, though, you'll be able to toggle between accounts by clicking on your email address at the top of the page.

If you're signed into your primary account, but viewing and responding to messages in a secondary account, your primary address will appear in the email details. It will be shown as Your Name (sent by Delegate). The digital rolodex of every linked email address will be accessible from the Contacts tab.

Note: I've been told that, if you're comfortable with it, you can also use two separate browsers to keep two different Gmail accounts open at the same time. Logging into one on, say, Internet Explorer, won't force you out of another account on Firefox.

Tools mentioned in this entry:

More questions? View the complete Toolkit archive.