When you first open your Gmail inbox, it appears simple: just a list of emails, folders, and a search bar. But as one of Google’s flagship products, probably the most important after search, it has dozens of settings and features that can be customize.
Here are some of the best tricks for managing your Gmail inbox, including how to change Gmail’s look, how to classify your email, which messages to save or delete, and more.
Change your Gmail ‘inbox type’
In Gmail, your “Inbox Type” decides the order in which your emails appear. By default, your emails are only listed in the order you received them. However, you can change it to list your unread emails first, your important emails first, or use its filters and labels.
You can change your inbox type on the Gmail website or in the Gmail app. On the website, click the gear icon in the top-right corner, and then locate the Inbox Type section. In the app, tap the three stacked lines in the top-left corner, then select Settings to find these options.
It’s a great way to prioritize the emails you need to see most, usually the new ones you haven’t read yet. After choosing a new inbox type, you may need to restart the app before it takes effect.
Adjust your inbox density
The denser your inbox, the more content fits on the screen. However, if your inbox is too full, it can be difficult to read your messages.
Gmail offers three levels of density: Default, which offers ample space for each message and displays attachments; Comfortable, which offers the same space without displaying attachments, and Compact, which takes up as little space as possible. You can freely switch between them.
You can freely switch between them by clicking the gear icon at the top right of the website or the settings menu in the mobile app.
Customize your Gmail background
By default, the Gmail website only has a black or white background. However, you can change the background to whatever you like. Google offers a few dozen images to choose from, or you can upload your own photo.
To find background options, click the gear icon in the upper right corner again. Under the Theme heading in the sidebar, you’ll find eight pre-set wallpapers to choose from. Click on any of them to set it as your wallpaper, or click Show All to see more options.
Unfortunately, you can’t alternate the background of the mobile app, apart from turning darkish mode on or off.
Use labels to sort your emails
Gmail lets you organize your messages with “labels,” which are like folders. You can find your labels in the left sidebar and you can apply as many labels as you want to any email.
You can create new labels on Gmail website and iPhone app. Unfortunately, the Android app doesn’t allow you to create them.
But all three versions of Gmail allow you to add labels to any email by opening it and clicking or tapping Labels.
You can find all your emails with a specific label by selecting that label in the left sidebar.
Change the page size to see more emails at once
Resizing the Gmail page changes the number of messages that appear in your inbox at one time. For example, if you receive dozens of emails a day, you can see them all by zooming in on the page. You can make it smaller, if you use a slow computer.
Mass-delete emails you don’t want
Even when you’ve read all your emails, they still take up space in your inbox. So if you’re running out of storage space or hate clutter, you need to know how to bulk delete your emails.
You do this in essentially the same way you marked your email as read. Go to the Gmail website and find the emails you want to delete. You can type label:inbox is:unread to find your unread emails and label:inbox is:read to find the emails you have opened and then select and delete all.
If you accidentally delete an email that you wanted to keep, don’t panic. Just click Trash on the left sidebar, find the deleted email and drag it to the Inbox tab.
Empty Gmail’s Trash folder
Once you delete an email, it will go to your Trash folder for 30 days. After these 30 days, the message will be deleted forever.
However, the messages in the Trash still take up storage space. So if you have deleted a bunch of emails, but still need more storage space, you must first go to the trash and delete them.