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How to get rid of or change tabs in Gmail

It is a matter of taste but there must be people there, like me, that do not like tabs introduced in in Gmail inbox some time ago. After this change, instead of having a one single inbox view with all the new messages inside, the messages were split into a few categories: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates and Forum. To view each category the user had to click into appropriate tabs located on top of the screen. This is how my inbox looks like with some of these tabs:

Gmail tabs

I am not sure if this is still the default view when new Gmail account is created, but, as I said, there are people that want to tweak and change things, and are not sure how to do it. So I decided to create a really quick tutorial how to do it. In a moment you will be able to regain control of these tabs, decide which one you like or, perhaps, get rid of them all and have the classic default view as before. Here we go.

How to change or get rid of tabs in Gmail

First log into your Gmail account. In the right top corner you should see a gear icon with the Settings. Click on it and a drop down menu should appear with display density options, Settings, Themes and, yes, Configure inbox options 🙂 We are interested in those, click on the link (alternatively you can use different route and access these settings via Settings / Inbox.).

Choose configure inbox settings

You will be presented with a window containing further options. By checking and un-checking boxes you will be able to decide how your inbox will looks like and which tabs you would like to see. If you move your cursor you will see a short description of types of messages in each tab and also you will see sample of messages that will go to each tab. There are many different combinations available but majority of people will probably either get rid of all the tabs and stay with Primary view (in other words will stay with the classic view without tabs) or choose Social for messages from social media and Promotions for sales notifications/spam.

Select Gmail tabs you want

If you decide to have some tabs, at the bottom of this window (Stared messages option) you can also decide if you want to view starred messages in Primary view. Basically, if a message is let’s say in Social tab and you mark it with star, it will also be visible in Primary view. I think this option might be useful if you do not visit additional tabs frequently and you do not want to forget an important message.

If you go for view with the tabs there are two things to keep in mind. First of all, Google will start to show some ads just below the tabs – these are not inbox messages. Secondly, it is inevitable that some messages will go into incorrect box. Luckly there is an easy way to sort it out and show Google which box the message should go to. You can do it by dragging the message into the appropriate tab. Just grab it with your cursor and drop on the tab. Once you do so, you will see a message “This conversation has been moved to …” (you can undo it if you made mistake) but also, more importantly, if you want this “rule” applied to all future messages from this sender. Click “Yes” to confirm and all the future messages will go into the correct folder. Simple!

Move conversation and confirm

How to get rid of or change tabs in Gmail – video tutorial

If you prefer to have all this information in video format, please have a look at my Youtube video:

OK guys, I know this was easy but I am pretty sure that not everybody knows how to do it. When I started this tutorial I didn’t like these tabs but now I am not so sure and probably will give them one more chance 🙂

Please let me know in the comments below if you have any questions and do you use these tabs at all. Thanks in advance!

1 thought on “How to get rid of or change tabs in Gmail

  1. Is it possible to change the default names of the tabs in gmail I do not want a Promotions tab but would prefer it to be something like private or personell .
    Is it possible to rename it and if so how??

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