How to make best use of the new tabbed interface in Gmail

How to make best use of the new tabbed interface in Gmail

Google made a big declaration regarding Gmail’s overall look and feel. Gmail with a new tabbed approach to help users organize e-mail — something I’m sure we all struggle with. Over the next few weeks a new tab workflow will be slowly advanced to the Web, iOS, and Android versions of Gmail.

So if you want to put your hands on the new tabs, and to activate this feature, you have to perform some easy steps. It’s a rapid process, but you need to keep this in mind that this feature is only accessible in Gmail for web.

You can login to your Gmail account using the browser on your PC and then click on the gear icon from the top-right corner of the screen. Click on “Configure Inbox” to get started with Gmail tabs.

“We get a lot of different types of email: messages from friends, social notifications, deals and offers, confirmations and receipts, and more,” Google Product Manager Itamar Gilad wrote in a blog post as the new Gmail inbox was exposed.

“All of these emails can compete for our attention and make it harder to focus on the things we need to get done,” he added. “Sometimes it feels like our inboxes are controlling us, rather than the other way around.”

To remedy inbox fatigue, Gmail divided our inboxes into logical “tabs” that separate our incoming mail into categories. Click each tab heading for a quick look at what’s new.

The New Tabs provided by Gmail:

Primary:  Messages received from near and dear ones, as well as any of those messages that don’t appear in other tabs can be seen in this primary tab.

The “Include starred in Primary” option means that all starred emails will be displayed in Primary tab, regardless of the tab they belong to

Promotions: Various promotional deals, offers and other emails can be seen in this promotion tab.

Social Messages: Various messages received from social networks, media-sharing sites, online dating services, gaming platforms and other social websites can be seen under this tab.

Updates:  Various notifications such as confirmations, receipts, bills and statements can be accessed under this tab.

Forums: Messages from various online groups, discussion boards and mailing lists.

When the new inbox turns out to you, it shows three default tabs “Primary,” “Social” and “Promotions.”

You can amend the tabs to show categories you’d like. You just have to click on the “+” sign to the right of your new tabs to bring up a pop-up menu.

From here, check or uncheck boxes next to the tabs you want in your inbox. Click “Save” to set up any changes you’ve made.

When you hover over each tab you’ll notice a preview of the emails in your account which will be displayed in that particular tab. Your Primary tab will display all emails, with the only exception of those that you’ve archived. If you don’t want to display a particular tab, simply uncheck that option. Later on, you can shift the emails to another tab if you think that Gmail is screening emails listed in the wrong tab.

To move an email to another tab, right-click on it and then on Move to Tab. Alternatively, you can drag and drop the email to any tab that you prefer.

Lastly, if you feel that this tabbed layout is not for you then you can always toggle back to the default layout. To do this, click on the + sign next to the last tab and uncheck all options next to each tabs.

Overall this is certainly a very useful modification by Gmail as it helps you to categorize emails in a significant way. However, please note that at the time of writing this article, this feature is not yet available to Google Apps users, but it’s just a matter of time for such users.

To halt the tab layout and getting back to the Gmail inbox you’re familiar to is as simple as clicking on the “+” sign to the right of your last tab ,unchecking the box next to all tabs but Primary. Then, if you change your mind down the road and want to try tabs again, you just repeat the same process of clicking on the Settings icon > Configure Inbox.