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Gmail's new Smart Compose is easy to use: Here's how to do it

The new Smart Compose feature in Gmail is available currently as an experiment for desktop users. Here's how to use Smart Compose.
February 12, 2019
gmail smart compose in action
  • Gmail users on the desktop can try out the Smart Compose feature that was first revealed at Google I/O 2018
  • You have to use the new Gmail design with this feature.
  • Once you enable it, emails typed in Gmail should suggest words and phrases you can use to make writing faster and better.

During the Google I/O 2018 keynote address, the company surprised the audience at the event, along with people watching the live stream, with a demo of a previously unrevealed feature in Gmail. It’s called Smart Compose, and it uses technology based on Google’s auto-complete feature in search to suggest the best word or phrases that Gmail writers can use while composing an email.

If you are interested, here’s how to use Smart Compose in Gmail.

Enabling Smart Compose in Gmail on the web

enable smart compose
If you want to check out Smart Compose in Gmail on your PC web browser, here’s how to do it.

  1. Go to your Gmail website.
  2. Click on the spoked wheel icon on the top right side.
  3. Click on the Settings selection in the menu.
  4. Scroll down to the Smart Compose selection in the General section.
  5. Tap on the Writing Suggestions On selection.

You should now be able to type emails in Gmail with the Smart Compose feature. If you want to accept one of its suggestions for a better word or phrase, just press the tab key. That’s all there is to it. If you decide that you don’t want to use Smart Compose anymore, just go back through the steps as shown above, but at the end, tap on the Writing Suggestions Off selection.

Smart Compose for Gmail on Android phones

If you own any Android smartphone, you can also use Smart Compose on your Gmail app. Here’s how to do that.

  1. Open the Gmail app.
  2. Tap on the menu icon on the top left.
  3. Scroll and tap on the Settings icon near the bottom.
  4. Tap on your Google account email.
  5. Finally, check on the Smart Compose box to enable the feature.

In order to use a suggestion from Smart Compose, just swipe across the gray text in your Gmail message. If you decide that you don’t want to use Smart Compose anymore, just go back through the steps as shown above, but at the end, uncheck the Smart Compose box.

Smart Compose tips

smart compose use

There are a few things to keep in mind. One is that Smart Compose is only available, at least for now, in English. Another thing is that, even though it may look and operate in some ways to Google’s auto-complete, it is not designed to give you answers to questions in your Gmail message.

You may find that Smart Compose may not work quite as well as the demo showed during the Google I/O 2018 keynote, where it was offering excellent suggestions for words and phrases. It even knew when to type in a mailing address. However, it’s also likely that the more people use Smart Compose, the more Google’s machine learning servers will adapt and improve on its suggestions.

Have you started using Smart Compose in Gmail and, if so, what are your impressions? Let us know in the comments!

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