Which inbox is right for me?

Whether you want to prioritize messages automatically (Priority Inbox), categorize email (tabbed inbox), or show several inboxes in one view (multiple inboxes), you can customize Gmail to fit the way you work.

What you need:

G Suite account

10 minutes

1

Default inbox

With the default inbox in Gmail, you can choose which email you want to see first, such as messages you haven't read or ones marked important.

In this section, you learn how to:

1.1

See important, unread, or starred email first

  1. Choose which type of email you want to see at the top of your inbox:
    1. Open your Gmail inbox.
    2. Hover over Inbox.
    3. Click the Down arrow and choose an option:
      • Important first—Puts all email marked important at the top of your inbox.
      • Unread first—Puts all unread email at the top of your inbox.
      • Starred first—Puts all starred email at the top of your inbox.
  2. The Important, Unread, and Starred sections appear at the top of your inbox. The rest of your email appear under Everything else.
  3. Hide email in a section:

    Click the Down arrow next to the section heading. Click the arrow again to see the email.

1.2

Organize your email

To organize email in your default inbox, you can:

  • Switch to labels from folders.
  • Create and apply labels.
  • Move email out of your inbox.
  • Star important email.
  • Delete or archive unwanted email.

To find out more, see Get started with Gmail.

2

Priority Inbox

Priority Inbox is useful if you want Gmail to sort and prioritize your email for you. You can add additional categories to customize your inbox.

In this section, you learn how to:

2.1

Turn on Priority Inbox

  1. Turn on Priority Inbox:
    1. Hover over Inbox.
    2. Click the Down arrow and select Priority Inbox.
  2. By default, Priority Inbox separates important email into 3 sections: Important and unread, Starred, and Everything else.
  3. Hide email in any section:

    Click the Down arrow next to the section heading. Click the arrow again to see the email.

2.2

Reorder existing sections

Change the existing sections:

  1. Click Settings > Settings.
  2. At the top, click Inbox.
  3. Next to the inbox section you want to change, click Options.
  4. Click the new section you want to use.

    Note: The Everything else section always appears last.

  5. At the bottom of the page, click Save Changes.

2.3

Create new categories

  1. Create labels:
    1. Click Settings > Settings.
    2. At the top, click Labels.
    3. Scroll down to Labels and click Create new label.
    4. Name your label.
    5. Click Create.
  2. Add labels as categories:
    1. Click Settings > Settings.
    2. At the top, click Inbox.
    3. Next to the inbox section you want to label, click Options or Add section.
    4. Click More options.
    5. Click the label you want to use. You can search to find a label name.
    6. Click Save Changes.
2.4

Train Priority Inbox

Gmail uses a variety of signals to prioritize your incoming messages, such as who you get a lot of email from or chat with the most. Gmail also tracks keywords that appear frequently in messages.

If Priority Inbox mistakes an email as important or doesn’t flag one that’s important to you, you can teach it to make better selections.

  • Mark a message as important: Click the Importance marker next to the sender’s name. A yellow marker means that a message is important.

  • Correct a message mistakenly marked important: Click the Importance marker to clear it.

Changing the importance marker moves the email to the correct section of your inbox. Over time, Priority Inbox learns what’s important to you and incorporates the feedback you give.

3

Tabbed inbox

Tabbed inboxes are great for people who want to move less-relevant email (such as social updates and promotions) out of their primary inboxes. Clean primary inboxes help you focus on what matters. Tabs appear at the top of your inbox, where you can quickly move between them.

In this section, you learn how to:

3.1

Turn on tabs

Turn on tabs for email that you want to move out of your primary inbox. For example, if you turn on the Promotions tab, Gmail moves any existing promotional email from your inbox to the Promotions tab. And, any new promotional messages go directly to the Promotions tab.

Turn on tabs:

  1. Click Settings > Configure inbox.
  2. Check the boxes of the tabs you want to see:

    • Primary—Email from people you know and any other messages that don’t appear in other tabs.
    • Social—Messages from social networks, media-sharing sites, and other social websites.
    • Promotions—Deals, offers, and other promotional email.
    • Updates—Notifications, such as confirmations, receipts, bills, and statements.
    • Forums—Messages from online groups, discussion boards, and mailing lists.
  3. Click Save.

After you turn on tabs, you can quickly show or hide them by clicking Add + next to your tabs. If you hide a tab, email in that category appear in your Primary tab instead.

3.2

Train your tabbed inbox

If an email ends up in the wrong tab, you can move it. Then, specify that messages from that sender always end up in the right place.

Move an email to a different tab:

  1. Drag it to the tab you want.
  2. (Optional) To always put email from that sender in the new tab, click Yes on the message that appears at the top of the inbox.

To remember to follow up on an email in another tab, mark it with a Star so that it appears in your Primary tab, too.

4

Multiple inboxes

Multiple inboxes are helpful for people who have multiple email accounts and want to consolidate them. They’re also good for people who want to prioritize certain daily tasks or individuals. For example, you can:

  • Create inboxes for tasks that need to be done today, tomorrow, and next week.
  • Create inboxes for email from certain people, such as your manager or an important customer.
  • Manage email from different accounts.

You can create up to 5 different inboxes.

In this section, you learn how to:

4.1

Turn on multiple inboxes

Turn on multiple inboxes:

  1. Click Settings > Settings.
  2. At the top, click Labs.
  3. Scroll to Multiple Inboxes and click Enable.
4.2

Create and customize inboxes

Create custom inboxes and specify where additional inboxes appear:

  1. Click Settings > Settings.
  2. At the top, click Multiple inboxes.
  3. Under Search query, define your inbox with a filter. For example:

    • To create an inbox from an existing label, enter label:name of label.
    • To create an inbox based on a sender, enter from:person’s email address. Add multiple senders by typing from:person’s address OR another address.
    • To create an inbox for email sent to 1 of your other accounts, enter to:you@youremail.com.

    Note: Before you can create inboxes to show mail for different accounts, you need to set up Gmail to send mail from a different address or alias.

    To learn more about using search operators to create filters, see Advanced search.

  4. Under Panel title, enter a name for each inbox.

  5. Next to Extra panels positioning, select where you want the additional inboxes to appear (on the right side, above, or below the primary inbox).
  6. Click Save Changes.
4.3

Add labels before sending email

If you create inboxes based on labels, add the correct label when you compose an email. That way, your email and the reply automatically go to the correct inbox.

For example, if you need to reply to something today:

  1. Click COMPOSE.
  2. At the bottom, click the Down arrow > Label.
  3. In the Label as box, type Today.
  4. Click Send.

Your mail and any replies automatically go in your Today inbox.

Next steps

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