The first time you run Gmail Dock, it will ask you for your Gmail or Google Apps address and password. Once you have entered this information, you are good to go. Gmail Dock will check for email every 60 seconds, notifying you with a sound and a Growl notification when you receive new email. It will also check for mail immediately upon reconnecting to the Internet, say, after opening your laptop lid. If that’s not enough for you, you can refresh manually by using the dock menu or the customizable global hotkey (see below).
The Preferences Window
In general preferences, you can select your sound options, whether Gmail Dock should start at login, the maximum number of Growl notifications, and whether Gmail Dock is your default mail client.
When Gmail Dock is your default mail client, clicking on a mailto: link in any browser or application systemwide will open a compose screen in Gmail in your default browser. Gmail Dock can handle complex mailto: links with CCs, subject, and body text, pre-populating the compose screen with that information.
If you wish, you may assign global hotkeys to open Gmail, compose an email, or other actions. To assign a hotkey, click in the hotkey field and enter the keyboard combination you wish to use. Be careful not to use a combination that will have an effect in other applications.
The point of global hotkeys is that they work even if Gmail Dock is in the background. If you’re using another application and you receive a notification for a new unread email, you can use the keyboard shortcut for “Open Newest Unread” to see it immediately. If you see that you have four unread emails, but you forget what they are, you can use the keyboard shortcut for “Summarize” to get a list of unread emails.
The Dock Icon
When the preferences window is open, clicking on the dock icon does nothing special; it brings the preferences window to the front. When the preferences window is closed, clicking on the dock icon opens Gmail in your browser.
If you wish to get back to the preferences window after it is closed, it is easiest to use the dock menu. Simple right-click or control-click on the dock icon to bring up the menu, and select “Preferences…”
A Few Extras
By default, clicking on a Growl notification opens the email it is announcing. You can turn off this behavior in System Preferences under the Growl pane by clicking “Applications”, “Gmail Dock”, and “Configure…”. Here you can also select how long Growl notifications should stay on screen.
If you shift-click on the Gmail Dock’s dock icon, you won’t launch Gmail: you’ll get a summary of your unread emails in a Growl notification, the same as if you click summarize in the dock menu. This is useful if you forget or don’t assign a global hotkey for “Summarize”.
Get In Touch
If you have questions, bug reports, or feature requests, feel free to contact me. You can also follow @gmaildock on Twitter for the latest information or @elidourado for non-Gmail Dock-related goodness.