Add notes to Gmail messages in Chrome

Check out this Chrome extension for helping you keep track of extra information associated with e-mail messages. We have beta invites!

Nicole Cozma
Nicole Cozma has an affinity for Android apps and devices, but loves technology in general. Based out of the Tampa Bay Area, she enjoys being a spectator to both sunsets and lightning storms.
Nicole Cozma
3 min read

Notes for Gmail. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

When your e-mail inbox starts filling up it, it becomes more difficult to keep track of what you need to do for each message you've received. Maybe you need to get verification on a work contract, add a reminder to call Grandma Betty about one of her famous recipes, or follow up with someone once you have more information. Unfortunately, Gmail doesn't offer a solid feature to add notes like these.

You might be thinking: what about drafts? The issue with creating a draft is the possibility of sending said draft. This could cause issues with personal or business e-mail, so it's just not worth the risk.

Notes for Gmail is an extension for Google Chrome (and eventually Firefox) that allows you to add those special notes or instructions to each of your e-mail messages. Not only is this extension designed to implement a feature Gmail is missing, it also leaves you without fear of accidentally sending off your added notations. However, there's one catch: it's in private beta at the time of this post.

Luckily, CNET readers can snag one of 2,000 invitations to the Notes for Gmail exclusive beta while they last. This means your beta application will be accepted immediately upon request. Additionally, you'll get free service for life and some other possible goodies after launch for being an early adopter. These will go quick, so act now!

Once you make it onto the Notes for Gmail sign-up page, fill out the necessary information. You'll need to verify your e-mail address at some point to be able to create notes so make sure you provide a real one.

After you're done, just click the Submit button and you'll see a welcome page for the beta. Don't leave this page (yet)! All you need to look for is the link in "Please click here to continue" so you can get to the download area for the extension. If you're in the first 2,000 beta sign-ups, ignore the rest of the text on the page.

Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

On the download page you'll see instructions for installing the extension. For users on Chrome 21, you'll need to manually install the extension by dragging it from the download location to the extensions page. If you're on a Chrome version 20 and below, it will let you install right from the download. Instructions for both methods are included on the Web page.

Properly configured and authorized Notes for Gmail extension. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

Next you'll need to log in to your Gmail account. If the extension is installed properly, you should see a pop-up asking you to sign in with and grant access to your Google account so you can add notes to messages.

The Add Note button opens a text area. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

With the extension authorized, reload Gmail and click on an e-mail message. You'll see an Add Note button along the top, which will open a text area for you to type. And that's it! Now you're ready to keep notes on all of your conversations so you always know what's going on.

How notes will look on Gmail messages. Screenshot by Nicole Cozma/CNET

It's unfortunate that Gmail doesn't have a notes feature of its own -- one you could take across different computers and mobile. However, with an extension like this one, Google might see a need for the notes capability and add it on. In the meantime, enjoy keeping track of the details with Notes for Gmail.

What kind of notes do you think are important to keep attached to your messages? Let us know in the comments!