How to Customize Gmail Tabs

by Barbara J. Feldman on July 20, 2013

By now you probably have decided you either love or hate the new Gmail tabs, as they have been rolling out over the last couple of weeks. Either way, here are a few helpful tips, including how to turn them off completely.

1) Tabs are different from labels in that a tab view ONLY shows messages in your inbox. Once a message is archived, it will NOT show up in a tab. Remember, a tab is just a different view of your inbox. A label, however, shows all messages whether archived or still in your inbox.

2) You can choose which tabs to view on your primary inbox screen, or you can return to a tab-less view. To do this, go to your inbox, and to the very right of the tabs, double click the “+” icon. Another way to get to the same configuration screen, is to click on the gears settings icon, and choose “Configure inbox.” Select the tabs you want to enable. To return to your old inbox, don’t choose any tabs at all.

How to customize your Gmail tabs.

How to customize your Gmail tabs.

3) For more detailed how-tos, I recommend Melanie Pinola’s Lifehacker article. Or for a breezy introduction to tabs, here’s is Google’s video.

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Cite This Page

Feldman, Barbara. "How to Customize Gmail Tabs." Surfnetkids. Feldman Publishing. 20 Jul. 2013. Web. 16 Jul. 2014. < >.

  • Shiva Kumar

    There is no way to rename a tab or create a new one. What you can do is filter what goes into what tab. Gmail doesn’t support any more customization other than filtering.

  • Olga

    Pretty misleading, indeed. This tiny bit of information (“there is not a way to customize the tab names at this time”) summarizes it all and it should be up there, in the article itself.

  • Claire J Taylor

    Bit misleading but maybe it was the google ranking you were after. This isn’t about customising gmail tabs AT ALL.

  • Sid Burgess

    An article that doesn’t actually show you how to customize Gmail Tabs…

  • Cindy Leduc

    Is there a way to actually customize the names on the tabs? The timing of this post is perfect, as my school is switching to Google mail as the year begins.

    • Barbara Feldman


      There is not a way to customize the tab names at this time, but you can train it put certain kinds of email in certain tabs.

      • Cindy Leduc

        Thanks. That is what I thought, but wanted to make sure that I was not missing a trick. My “training” of those emails is already a work in progress. I just have to remember what I have in each tab since they really don’t match what I would call them.